JOHN Coventry was critical of his side’s performance as East Thurrock United recorded a 1-1 draw with Peterborough Sports in the first preliminary round of the FA Cup.

Lewis Smith’s opener was cancelled out by Paul Malone’s close range header at Rookery Hill.

The two sides will go head-to-head in a replay on Tuesday and Coventry knows Rocks must improve if they are to reach the second qualifying round of the historic competition.

“We were the better side by far in the first half,” said the East Thurrock boss, whose side failed to get back to winning ways after their defeat at Haringey Borough.

“Having got a goal, we also hit the crossbar and could have gone in at the break 2-0 up.

“Our players were prepared to get on the ball in the first half and we played some good football, but our players didn’t to that in the second half.

“We created some openings, but no-one wanted to get on the ball after the break and that played into their hands.

“They had two 6’5” central defenders who dealt with the long balls forward.

“We got worse as the game went on and if anyone was going to win the game, it was them.”

Rocks took the lead nine minutes before the interval thanks to Smith’s fine header following Ryan Scott’s long pass forward.

As a result, Smith - who rejoined the club from Tilbury in the summer - was able to celebrate bagging his 50th goal in East Thurrock colours.

But Coventry’s side were pegged back as Malone met a corner and levelled matters.