JOHN Coventry admits he was relieved to see his East Thurrock United side exit the Isthmian League Cup at the first knockout stage after labelling the competition a hindrance.

Rocks suffered a 4-3 defeat to Isthmian Premier League rivals Bishop’s Stortford in front of a crowd of just 75 at the Grayers Graphics Stadium.

And East Thurrock boss Coventry concedes he struggled to take any positives from the encounter.

“These kinds of competitions, when you have a small squad like we do, become a hindrance,” said Coventry.

“You want to do well in the league and that will always be our priority.

“In all honesty, we got nothing out of the game whatsoever.

“Because of putting the ticket prices down for the game to try and get more people through the gate, we only took £180.

“We then had to pay the referee £170 and we were left with a pitch which is in a state, so it was definitely a game we could have done without.”

Mark Haines gave Bishop’s Stortford the lead inside six minutes but Ryan Scott, who was playing as a striker in the absence of Frankie Merrifield, levelled matters soon after.

Jordan Wescott restored the visitors’ advantage before Louie Johnson grabbed Bishop’s Stortford’s third goal inside the opening 22 minutes.

Shomari Barnwell, the former Bowers & Pitsea striker, then added his name to the scoresheet four minutes before the break to extend Bishop’s Stortford’s lead.

Although Darren Foxley and Sean Bonnet-Johnson netted late on, it was not enough for Rocks.