Mark Cousins and his old card-school buddy

MARK Cousins was beaten by his old card-school buddy during Monday night’s Essex Senior Cup Final.

Canvey Island midfielder Robbie King and U’s keeper Cousins had come up through the same youth team together at Layer Road.

And while Cousins has stayed at the League One club, largely as a deputy to Ben Williams in recent seasons, King has drifted into non-league.

Appropriately, it was King who headed home an 83rd minute winner against his old club, and his old friend, to seal a fourth win in the last 12 years in this competition for the Islanders.

“I hate conceding, but if anyone had to score, I don’t mind Robbie (King) scoring,” admitted Cousins.

Robbie is a good mate of mine, and he was my old cards-school buddy.

“We both live in Chelmsford, and we grew up together playing football against each other.”

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Cousins had no complaints with the result.

He was the busier of the two keepers, making one terrific save to deny Danny Heale at point blank range in the second half.

He admitted that Canvey Island deserved their victory.

“We are extremely disappointed, especially with the performance, because we hadn’t been like that at all this season for the Reserves,” continued Cousins.

“We had some very good players out there but we just didn’t perform today.

“When you play like that, you are always going to get done, which is what happened. We just didn’t get going, or get into any rhythm.

“I made a couple of saves, but we didn’t test them and if you don’t score in a cup final you don’t deserve to win it.

“It would have been unjust if we had won it. We can have no complaints,” concluded Cousins, who has not played a first-team game since last September due to the form of Williams.