EAST Thurrock United assistant manager Neil Gray praised the ‘commitment and effort’ of the players after they defeated Concord Rangers to book their place in the Essex Senior Cup semi-finals.

A first half Montel Agyemang goal was enough for Rocks, who are looking to go one better than last year and lift the cup this time around.

And Gray, who led the team in the absence of manager John Coventry who was absent due to a family illness, said he was pleased to progress.

“You are just looking for the result in a cup game, and local derbies are always tough matches,” he said.

“Sometimes footballing ability decides a game but it can also be who wants to win it more and we came out on the right side of the coin.

“I said to the boys before the game that although we had lost the previous two games the scores didn’t show the true reflection of the game.

“That was the case against Braintree and the Concord game on New Year’s Day could have gone either way. The commitment and effort has been there and we saw that in this match.”

Agyemang’s fine solo goal on 30 minutes settled the tie, although Concord missed a golden chance when Femi Akinwande shot wide with the goal gaping with 10 minutes to play.

And boss Adam Flanagan said he was disappointed that the cup run came to an end.

“I felt it was an even game but they scored the goal and that rocked us,” he said, after Concord suffered their first reverse since November 25. “I felt we weren’t as good in the second half in terms of trying to play. They had pace up front and it made it difficult for us when we were going forward as we knew they had that threat in behind.

“Femi should have scored late on and then it probably would have gone to penalties and then it’s anyone’s game.

“The half-time team talk was to continue to be brave on the ball but to be fair to them they sat deeper and it was difficult to go forward.

“Our primary focus has always been to secure our league status. It is disappointing to lose and we wanted to reclaim the cup but it hasn’t happened.

“East Thurrock are a good team but it was played in good spirit and unfortunately they took their chance and we didn’t take ours.”