Rocks squander one-goal lead in defeat to Canvey

Canvey Island 2, East Thurrock United 1

By Glen Eckett

East Thurrock United squandered 1-0 half time lead to lose 2-1 to Canvey Island in their derby at The Prospects Stadium.

East Thurrock started the better of the two sides, with Jason Hallett looking as though he would have a free run on goal as early as the fourth minute.

But the ex-Canvey striker was unable to add to his impressive goalscoring record against his former side after the ball trapped underneath his feet.

Canvey were forced into a change on 20 minutes when Ashley Dumas picked up an injury following a heavy challenge and he was replaced by Louis Baucutt. With goalscoring opportunities at a premium, East Thurrock took the lead on 37 minutes.

A cross-field ball released Jack Hopkins on the right wing who ran the ball into the area and shoot across JM Kulnig and into the bottom corner of the net.

Canvey responded well and three minutes later hit the post through on-loan forward Moses Ademola after a corner from Sheldon Sellears was flicked across goal to the Dover Athletic player.

The hosts retained possession and crossed the ball back into the area, but Michael Alaile’s header went wide of the target.

East Thurrock nearly doubled their advantage immediately in the second half when a loose pass in midfield gifted possession to Leon McKenzie who advanced towards goal but slammed his shot wide.

Having survived this early scare Canvey started to push for an equaliser, with both Rio Bryan-Edwards and on-loan Tony Stokes having headers go over the crossbar. The Gulls picked up another defensive injury on 63 minutes when Bryan-Edwards limped off, with Nick Humphrey his replacement.

Two minutes later Hallett had a great chance to put the visitors two goals up when he rounded Kulnig, but the American goalkeeper did enough to force Hallett wide and he was only able to shoot into the side netting.

The miss proved costly a minute later when Canvey drew level. Kulnig delivered a ball down the right wing which Ademola collected and used his pace to get down the right wing.

Ademola delivered an excellent low cross which Jay Curran raced on to, beat the defender to the ball and scored his eighth goal of the season and 89th in total for the club.

The equaliser put Canvey on top of proceedings, and on 75 minutes Mike Jones had a header deflected over the crossbar by former Canvey player and now East Thurrock Steve Sheehan.

Both sides made changes as the match approached its final five minutes, with Spencer Bellotti replacing Sellears for Canvey and Nathan Livings coming on for Hallett for Rocks.

The winning goal came in injury time following a foul by Ryan Sammons on Curran just outside the area on the left wing.

Stokes delivered an excellent ball which Bellotti controlled but was unable to force the ball over the line. However, defender Bartley was on hand to smash the ball into the roof of the net to win the match for the Gulls.

The visitors nearly equalised in the 93rd minute when a free kick found Sheehan but he was only able to direct his unmarked effort wide of the target.

East Thurrock United: Mott, Sammons, Stephen, Peddie, Sheehan, Dawson, Hopkins, Thurgood, Hallett (Livings 84), McKenzie, Ruel (Bryant 69). Subs not used: Parmenter, Glover, Hughes.

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