JOHN Coventry has tipped Billy Crook to be a success after making his debut in East Thurrock United's 4-1 victory over Cheshunt.

Goals from Alex Clark and Ben Marlow, along with a Frankie Merrifield brace, allowed Rocks to make a flying start to the Isthmian Premier League campaign.

The encounter saw Crook make his East Thurrock debut and Coventry is overjoyed to have signed the experienced midfielder.

"Billy has always played at a higher level and it's fantastic that we have been able to bring him in," said the Rocks boss.

"I have tried to sign him over the last couple of years but haven't been able to.

"He fits in well with all the other players we already have at the club and I am very pleased to have him on board.

"Billy was at Dartford in the National League South last season and is a very good player who has moved closer to the local area.

"He has also played for Metropolitan Police, Braintree Town, Dulwich Hamlet and Enfield Town, so he has plenty of experience as well."

Rocks raced into a fifth minute lead as summer signing Clark cut inside before firing past Cheshunt goalkeeper Harry Girling.

However, Cheshunt responded with former Basildon United striker Brian Moses levelling matters nine minutes later.

Crook played a key role as East Thurrock restored their one-goal advantage four minutes after the break.

The midfielder went on the charge before finding Merrifield, who found the back of the net.

Marlow added his name to the scoresheet by smashing home soon after the hour mark.

Merrifield completed his brace with a fine curling effort.

And Coventry was pleased to see Merrifield, who made the move to Rookery Hill from Canvey Island in the summer, make his mark.

"Frankie is not a natural centre forward but he made himself a centre forward at Canvey last season," added Coventry.

"He makes centre-halves work really hard and keeps them on their toes.

"It's really pleasing that we have made a winning start to the season and it was thoroughly deserved, but I won't get carried away."

Rocks, who are top of the Isthmian Premier League standings thanks to their convincing triumph, visit Carshalton Athletic on Monday.

"We took a couple of little knocks," admitted Coventry.

"The quick turnaround will make things interesting.

"But we will enjoy being top of the league for now."