Defender George Allen missed out thanks to a hamstring injury, with midfielder Frankie Merrifield not available with his partner due to give birth on the day of the match. Gabby Adelowo partnered Steve Sheehan in central defence, with Jake Pitty coming into the side at right back.
Midfielder Manny Oyeleke was also handed his first start after recently joining on loan from Aldershot Town.
Gulls’ captain Ryan Blackman won the toss and opted to shoot towards The Danny Green Community Stand in the first half with a strong wind blowing in that direction.
The conditions did have a significant impact on the game, making it difficult for either team to build any attacking moves of note until the 26th minute when Burgess Hill’s Dan Pearse ran the ball in from the right wing. Pearse got to the edge of the area and shooting low towards the bottom corner which Conor Gough was able to keep out diving to his left.
Striker Tyrell Richardson-Brown then went through on goal two minutes later, running through the middle of the pitch and into the area with only Gough to beat. However, a superbly timed last ditch sliding tackle from Ashley Dumas managed to prevent Richardson-Brown from shooting, robbing him of possession in the process.
Canvey’s first chance of the afternoon came on 29 minutes when a ball in from the left from Marlon Agyakwa eluded Simon Thomas but found Mitchell Gilbey on the far side. Gilbey connected well with a first time shot which goalkeeper Josh James did well to save with his legs.
Burgess Hill took the lead on 33 minutes when they were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal. Dan Pearse managed to get the ball over the wall and back down again, forcing Conor Gough to save low down to his left. However, the big keeper was unable to hold onto the ball and allowed Tyrell Richardson-Brown the chance to slot home the rebound from close range after he reacted quicker than any of the Canvey defenders.
The Gulls equalised six minutes later when an excellent cross from deep on the left wing from Mitchell Gilbey was met with a powerful header from Simon Thomas, thundering the ball past Josh James and high into the back of the net.
Both sides came close early in the second half with long range efforts. First, on 49 minutes, loanee midfielder Manny Oyeleke tried to place the ball into the top corner from 25 yards, with his shot missing the target by a couple of yards.
Burgess Hill’s Leon Redwood came even close a minute later when he unleashed a rocket of a shot from 35 yards on the left which went wide of the top corner by a matter of inches.
Canvey took the lead on 56 minutes after a determined run from George Sykes having cut in from the left wing. Sykes drove to the touchline before squaring for Mitchell Gilbey, although as he was tackled inside the six yard box as he was about to score. However, the tackle gave possession straight to Manny Oyeleke who calmly slotted home from 12 yards.
With the wind in their favour, everything was setup for the Hillians to put pressure on the Canvey goal for the rest of the match. However, they failed to force Conor Gough into any further saves, with Canvey’s defence holding firm.
There was a scare in injury time when a cross from the right was heading towards Dan Pearse on the far side, but Gough did well to come off of his line and snuff out the chance before pouncing on the loose ball.
Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts