EAST Thurrock United boss John Coventry was left to reflect on what might have been after his side’s plucky performance against Hartlepool United.
Pools were made to work hard for the 2-0 win and David Hughes excelled in the Rocks goal making 12 saves in all.
Jonathan Franks, who scored both goals, could have had three more while Hughes also kept out Marlon Harewood on several occasions.
Coventry was pleased with the way his side approached the match and thanked Pools for their hospitality.
“I’d like to thank Hartlepool for everything they have done. They have looked after us well, clapped us off the pitch at the end and I wish them all the best,” said Coventry.
“We had watched Warrington Town beat Exeter City on Friday night and you know there’s going to be a couple of FA Cup shocks – and when one happens early like that you think is that going to be the one?
“It was a different situation with us, they are playing on their home pitch.
“I’d have liked to have been at home and it might have been a different situation.
“But to come away, to experience what we did and take it all in, that’s enjoyable as well.”
Coventry’s team prepared like the pros and travelled north on West Ham’s bus, trained at Bradford City en route before staying in Darlington Friday night.
Their manager added: “We travelled well but we didn’t want to get carried away and think it of as being a nice weekend away.
“We came here to win the game.
“We stayed in the same hotel as Bournemouth, it was nice and over the next week we will get letters away to everyone who has helped us – especially Hartlepool United.”
Keeper Hughes is a West Ham United fan and said afterwards it was great to play against his hero Harewood, who reached the final with the Hammers in 2006 were they were beaten on penalties by Liverpool.
Hughes added: “I was pretty happy making saves from Marlon Harewood – I used to watch West Ham and I’ve watched him a lot there.
“He was a hero of mine, so that was a good experience.
“I was beaten twice, but made some good saves I was pleased with.
“The second goal was a mistake. I watched the cross come in and I was trying to do two things too quickly – thinking about getting the ball back up the pitch and I took my eye off it, the ball went through my hands and it was a tap-in.”
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