MATT FRY says Concord are determined to retain the county cup tonight and give their fans a fitting end to their brilliant season.
The cultured centre-half, 24, who has already won a Ryman play-off trophy and league cup with the Beachboys, admits they were “devastated” to see their Vanarama South promotion bid end with a 1-0 home defeat to Hayes on Saturday.
But ahead of tonight’s Essex Senior Cup final showdown with old Ryman Premier rivals and 2011 county cup champions Billericay, the former Charlton Athletic defender says victory at Victoria Road will still see them achieve another of their big pre-season targets.
Fry (pictured above with the Ryman league cup) said: “We were devastated after Saturday’s game because we have worked so hard this season to get into that position.
“And the fact that we got so close and it was snatched away hurt more. I think our performances over the season meant we deserved to be challenging until the end.
“I don’t think we always get the credit we deserve. We speak to other players in our league and they say their managers describe us as a hard-working team. But we are more than that – we have some very good players.
“But we met our target of reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup this year and now we want to hit another target by retaining this cup.
“And Monday night will be all about how we react – that is what will define us as a group of players.
“We did not dwell on Saturday’s game. Our manager Danny Cowley was already focusing on the cup final after full-time and we are ready for it.
“We will respect Billericay, we know they are a physical team with a big presence up front and they have pace. They will be no pushovers.
“But we are ready for a battle – and we are ready to win that battle.”
Fry started his career as a youth teamer at West Ham and has experience of the pro game with Gillingham and Bradford City.
But he feels this campaign with Concord has been arguably his most important to date after a consistent run of games.
He said: “This season for me was about reigniting my love for the game after having a difficult time with injury in recent years.
“I think Saturday was my 40th game of the season and that’s my best run in senior football.
“I think when you play in the pro game you can have a strange opinion of non league. I know I did until I played it.
“But I know Concord was the right team for me and I’ve really enjoyed it here and I am proud of the season I have had with them.”
Kick-off at Dagenham & Redbridge’s ground tonight is at 7.45pm. Admission is £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and £2 for under 16s accompanied by an adult.