CANVEY Island continued their run of taking points off the Ryman Premier’s top dogs – but their 2-1 victory over Dulwich Hamlet came at a price.
Rob Bartley was sent off following two bookings after manager Danny Heale had been sent to the stands following a confrontation with Dulwich striker Ian Daly.
The Gulls went into the match having drawn 1-1 with league leaders Maidstone the previous weekend and beaten third-placed Wealdstone 3-2 last month.
Dulwich went into the match at the Prospects Stadium in second place, with only goal difference separating them from Maidstone.
And the visitors got the perfect start after 20 minutes when Rob Bartley received his first booking for a foul on the edge of the area.
Xavier Vidal’s free kick bounced just in front of Canvey goalkeeper Scott Chalmers-Stevens and into the net.
But Jay Curran continued his fine form in front of goal to get the Gulls back on terms in the 33rd minute when he netted his fifth in four games.
James Hawes chipped the ball into the area following a John Sands backheel and Curran controlled the ball on his shoulder, beat his defender and rifled the ball into the top corner from a tight angle.
And two minutes before half-time, Canvey took the lead thanks to Harrison Chatting.
He collected the ball on the left wing, cut inside Hamlet right back Michael Weir and shot over goalkeeper Chico Ramos.
Heale was sent to the stands along with Dulwich manager Gavin Rose following a flare up in the 75th minute.
The Gulls boss remonstrated with Daly after the Dulwich forward committed a foul in front of the home bench.
Rose rushed across to defend his player and confront Heale.
That sparked a mass confrontation which resulted in Daly receiving a yellow card and both managers being given their marching orders.
Bartley saw red four minutes from normal time when he received a second booking for a foul on Erhun Oztumer.
>That Canvey managed to get their game on at all was a testament to their groundsman Dave Leigh.
Leigh is one of four Ryman League groundsman to be nominated by the league to be in contention for the FA Step 3-4 Groundsman of the Year.
And after he got Saturday’s game on following the torrential rain of Friday and heavy overnight winds, he surely deserves the title.
Unsurprisingly, all other non-league games involving south Essex teams were postponed.