JOHN Coventry was overjoyed after East Thurrock United marked the start of 2020 with a 2-1 derby win over Bowers & Pitsea.

Although Quentin Monville netted with a deflected strike late on, goals from Darren Foxley and Frankie Merrifield ensured Rocks would come out on top in the Isthmian Premier League clash.

And Coventry feels East Thurrock were fully deserving of the triumph at the Len Salmon Stadium.

The Rocks boss, whose side are four points adrift of the play-off places, said: “It’s always nice to start the new year with three points.

“It's always about getting points and not necessarily the performance.

“I’ll take the way we played all day long.

“They were obviously determined to try and beat us.

“Bowers made it hard for us by pressing and working extremely hard.

“I was pleased to go into half-time with a 1-0 lead and we knew we needed more possession if we were going to win the game.

“Within six minutes of the second half, we put an extra man in the middle of the park and Ayo Olukoga dictated play.

“We dominated the ball after that and the second goal gave us that breathing space.

“It was disappointing to concede but, at the end of the day, it’s another three points on the board.

“No-one could argue against us deserving to win.”

Foxley gave East Thurrock the lead after 27 minutes as his precise finish looped over Bowers goalkeeper Callum Chafer.

Merrifield doubled the visitors’ advantage by nodding a corner home from close range.

Although Monville’s deflected strike halved Bowers’ deficit, it proved to be the last kick of the contest.

And Bowers boss Rob Small admits his side were lacking a cutting edge as they looked to extend their three-match winning run in the Isthmian Premier League.

“I thought both teams were quite flat and the first goal proved crucial because it made it much more difficult for us to shake off the affects of this time of year,” said Small, whose side are 17th in the standings.

“The goal gave East Thurrock the impetus to work very well without the ball and do a job on us.

“We were a little bit toothless in attack and I didn’t think we looked like a threat to them.

“After they went ahead, they sat in and were hard to break down.

“We didn’t quite have the cutting edge to break them down, which was disappointing.

“If you analyse individual performances, I don’t think there was anyone in a Bowers shirt that really stood out.

“It’s one of those performances where we will have to pick the bones out of it over the next couple of days because it wasn’t good enough.”