Report by Matt Lee
Chelmsford City boss Rod Stringer called his side’s recent performances a “disease” after losing in the BBC Essex Senior Cup Final on Tuesday night.
The Clarets fell behind to two goals in the opening five minutes as Danny Harris and Ben Marlow took full advantage of defensive errors to give the Rocks a healthy advantage.
Michael Spillane pulled a goal back for City, but his side’s hard work came for no prevail as a minute later Alex Osborn restored the two-goal lead to all-but confirm East Thurrock’s victory in the final.
“[Our performance] was kamikaze,” City boss Rod Stringer said. “You do all this preparation and the boys concede two absolute howlers.
“The first goal was a deflection, but the second goal was just terrible from us. We then get back in the game but then concede again.
“Their goalkeeper hasn’t had much to do apart from pick out a fantastic goal from Spillane, our goalkeeper hasn’t been overworked but has conceded three. It’s a disease.
“The disease is of the players’ mentality and them not doing enough. We always get to this stage of the season and have hic-ups and they don’t help.
“Sometimes you can get these hic-ups and it can derail you, and that’s where it seems to be at the moment.”
The City defence were at fault for the two opening goals. Adrian Cascaval and Chris Gregan’s mix-up in communication allowed a low cross into the box to be bundled home by Harris inside 38 seconds and moments later Marlow increased his side’s lead with a deflected effort beating City shot-stopper Nathan McDonald.
Chelmsford worked themselves back into the game and provided pressure from endless corners, but no-one could produce a clinical touch.
Chris Whelpdale produced a spark of energy for the Clarets on 22 minutes when he distributed the ball to Scott Fenwick; however, the Clarets striker could not keep his headed effort on-target.
That was as good as it got for City as their attacking threat was limited as a result of East Thurrock’s defensive capabilities.
Former Clarets striker Sam Higgins came close to increasing East Thurrock’s advantage as he pivoted on the spot before forcing McDonald into a save. The flag was raised for offside anyway.
Higgins was involved again shortly afterwards as, again, he turned well under pressure; however, his end-product was wasted as he dragged a low shot wide.
City came close when a deep cross into the box picked out Isaac at the far-post, although the midfielder could not muster any accuracy and wasted the chance from a mere few yards.
Chelmsford eventually got a foothold in the tie when a looping cross was powerfully met by a Spillane diving header which crossed the line. However, two minutes later Higgins picked out Osborn with a low cross and the midfielder rifled a shot high into the net to restore their two-goal lead and secure the Essex Senior Cup.
“All I’m asking for sometimes is the players to show that desire and passion to wear that shirt with pride and to fight for your lives.” Stringer added. “Like at Torquay, I can accept being beaten by a good side. But when we don’t, I won’t accept it.
“Tuesday night we were beaten because we weren’t good enough in both boxes.”