JOHN Coventry has heaped praise on his East Thurrock United players after he was named manager of the month for August.

Rocks have enjoyed a stellar start to the season and sit second in the National League South, unbeaten after eight matches.

The run saw Coventry handed the accolade - his first since Rocks won promotion in 2016.

And he is hopeful the run continues after East Thurrock scored a late equaliser against Wealdstone to draw 1-1 on Saturday.

“The players said well done to me but it is about them and the effort they have put in this month,” said Coventry.

“The club deserves it. We are doing very well in a very competitive league. We are little East Thurrock but we are doing OK.

“Teams don’t want to play us and that is a big compliment.”

Sam Higgins equalised two minutes from time against the Stones to ensure Rocks kept up their solid start.

And Coventry said a desire to stay in the game and not get beaten was key.

“Our performance wasn’t great with the ball but I can excuse that as we are still unbeaten with a small squad,” said Coventry.

“We had to dig deep as Wealdstone are a very good side who shift the ball well, and they have a big squad.

“But we stayed in the game very well and I always knew we would get a chance. It was about not conceding the second before that chance came along.

“Every formation change wasn’t to get us back into the game, but to keep us in the game. It would have been easy to chase it, but we would probably have got beaten 3-0. We were patient.”

Wealdstone had taken a 13th minute lead through Matt Whichelow in a game of few clear-cut chances.

The Londoners started the season as many peoples favourites for promotion.

And Coventry was pleased his team were able to stop Wealdstone.

“I don’t think they did enough to get three points,” said Coventry. “They were better for the first 20 minutes but we are learning how to do the horrible stuff.

“We are not the best side in this league by a long way but we are showing character and a desire not to get beat.”

Rocks will play Biggleswade Town in the FA Cup second qualifying round - after the latter beat North Leigh in a replay on Tuesday.

And, although being a higher-ranked team, Coventry says East Thurrock will take nothing for granted.

“When the draw is made, the first thing you see is that you are away,” he said.

“They play at the equivalent of the Isthmian Premier League and you have to think back when we were at that level and knocking teams out.

“We beat Bath City and Eastbourne Borough so we never take a team lightly.”