The visitors included ex-Canvey midfielder Ben Marlow in their starting XI, while Canvey’s side included several former-Rocks players in Ashley Dumas, Steve Sheehan, Martin Tuohy and Mitchell Gilbey.
The Rocks took the lead after only five minutes when Joe Gardner drilled a low ball from the right wing into the dangerous area between defence and goalkeeper. Luis Morrison attempted to intercept the pass but in stretching out a leg only served to turn the ball past Conor Gough and into his own net.
It was 2-0 on 13 minutes when the Rocks earned a corner. The ball was whipped in and steered goalwards but was blocked by a defender. However, the loose ball went straight to East Thurrock’s trialist left back who instinctively headed home.
The visitors had another opportunity on 22 minutes when Ryan Sammons collected the ball on the corner of the penalty area on the right. Sammons lobbed a shot goalwards but saw his effort land on the roof of the net.
Canvey had a rare opportunity in 28 minutes when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. Former-East Thurrock midfielder Mitchell Gilbey stepped up but curled his effort a couple of yards over the crossbar.
East Thurrock had the ball in the net again on 39 minutes when a cross from the right wing found the highly-rated Tom Wraight unmarked at the back post. Wraight finished with his head but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Leading 2-0 at the break, the Rocks extended their advantage further four minutes into the second half. An excellent sliding block tackle from Steve Sheehan had initially prevented James Walker from getting a shot on goal, but Walker was able to regain the ball and recycle possession.
The ball was eventually played to former-Canvey midfielder Ben Marlow who waltzed his way through the Gulls defence before slotting his shot into the back of the net.
After playing pretty poorly for an hour Canvey began to perform much better in the final 30 minutes, creating a number of goalscoring opportunities but failing to capitalise.
On the hour mark a well struck long distance shot from Omarr Lawson was blocked by a defender but reclaimed by Jay Curran on the edge of the area. Curran played a the ball back for Lawson to run onto but he dragged his effort across goal and wide of the upright.
Ten minutes later a cross from the left wing by Ashley Dumas forced goalkeeper Lukas Lidakevicius to tip the ball onto the crossbar and over for a corner kick. The set piece found its way to Omarr Lawson but he scuffed his shot when well placed.
The best chance however came on 80 minutes and started and finished with Harrison Chatting. The midfielder did well on the left wing, showing good determination and putting in an excellent cross which none of his teammates could get on the end of.
Canvey kept hold of the ball which was eventually put back in and worked across to Chatting who had held his position on the left, but having gotten the ball from out of his feet his eventual shot was turned behind by Lukas Lidakevicius.
The keeper was called into action again on 83 minutes after George Sykes had displayed some good footwork on the left wing. Having brought the ball into the area, Lidakevicius produced a good save diving low to his right to keep Sykes’ shot out of the bottom corner.
The final chance of the match came as in the 90th minute when Omarr Lawson latches onto a through ball and lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper. A defender kept the ball out and cleared it but only as far as George Sykes on the edge of the area, but his shot with Lidakevicius out of his goal was wide of the target.
Photo: Holly Allison
Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts