A FIRST half horror show saw Canvey Island taken apart by promotion hopefuls Maidstone United this afternoon.
Danny Heale watched his side capitulate in the first 45 minutes, with keeper Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton having a game to forget – arguably at fault for three of the goals.
Victor Osobu and Rob Bartley ensured a more dramatic finish than anticipated but Stones held out.
Canvey started nervously and were made to pay inside the first five minutes. A Gulls corner was cleared and former Concord Rangers man Ben Greenhalgh was left with a clear sight on goal. His shot should have been comfortable for Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton but the keeper spilled the shot, leaving Frannie Collin an easy task from three yards.
The Gulls responded well with Jay Curran hitting the side-netting, when an easier ball to John Sands may have been a better option.
But individual errors were to cost Heale’s side again. Only 15 minutes had passed when a poor pass out of defence from Rob Bartley was capitalised on by Greenhalgh. The winger played in the onrushing Jack Parkinson and he slotted comfortably past St Louis-Hamilton.
The goalkeeper was having a difficult afternoon in front of a capacity crowd and it didn’t get any easier for him. A free-kick from Collin was low and should have been gathered but the ball squirmed away from him, leaving Parkinson with a simple finish.
With an hour left on the clock, Heale took action. Skipper Curran and John Easterford were replaced by the in-form Marlon Agyakwa and Charlie Barlow.
But it was to little avail. Just before the break, a simple ball over the top saw a defensive mix-up between Jones and St Louis-Hamilton and Alex Flisher flicked acrobatically into an empty net.
Heale made his third and final change at the start of the second half – John Sands replaced by midfielder Joe Carter – with damaged limitation surely on his mind.
Canvey started brightly in the second half but, with the match won, Maidstone took their foot off the gas and were content to pass it around the midfield.
Greenhalgh had a chance to extend the lead but his chip was easily saved by the Gulls’ keeper, who was being given a torrid time by the home fans.
Canvey tightened up second half and grabbed a goal with five minutes left on the clock. Nice play from Anthony Thomas freed Victor Osobu and the nippy front man netted at the second time of asking.
And it was made a nervy finish for Maidstone when Rob Bartley scored after a ricochet in the box fell to him, after good work from Agyakwa.
Frannie Collin made the game safe in added time with his second of the game.
Canvey Island: St Louis-Hamilton, Bryan-Edwards, Dumas, Jones, Bartley, Easterford, Thomas, Chatting, Curran, Sands, Osobu
Conference South Concord Rangers took a battling point against Gosport Borough at the Aspect Arena.
Skipper Steve King was forced off with an early injury, having already been playing despite carrying a knock.
Ryman Premier Mitchell Gilbey’s goal at the end of the first half was enough to give East Thurrock a half-time lead against Harrow Borough.
However, they were pegged back early on in the second by former Canvey man Spencer Bellotti, and later Michael Peacock and Stephen Butterworth.
Billericay went behind to Dulwich Hamlet just after the break, but it was Stevie Sheehan who pulled Craig Edwards’ side back into the match, scoring his first goal since joining from East Thurrock.
And it was former Southend United prospect Seedy Njie who won it for Town with his first goal with ten minutes to go.
The returning Jeffrey Imudia was shown a red card late on but Town held out for the win.
Great Wakering went out of the FA Cup after taking an early lead at Hertford Town.
A frenetic first half saw Rovers take the lead through Jay Nash but they were pegged back twice. However, the visitors netted again through Nash to leave it level at the break.
But with 15 minutes left, Hertford struck the decisive blow to send Dan Trenkel’s side out.
Basildon United were beaten by Ryman North rivals Aveley.
Goals from Billy Coyne and Theo Ola were enough for Justin Gardner’s men to progress.
Bowers & Pitsea scored a dramatic late goal through Luke Wilson to ensure their place in the next round. Wilson struck with minutes to go against Colney Heath to send Rob Small’s men home happy.