CANVEY Island strengthened their play-off hopes by securing a 2-1 win over Hertford Town.

Martin Tuohy’s first half double allowed Danny Heale’s side to return to winning ways, although Ricky Light scored a stoppage time consolation for the away side.

Having lost their last two Isthmian North encounters, the Gulls got off to a flying start.

Mitch Gilbey being brought down in the opening 15 seconds of the match. Gilbey’s resulting 30 yard free-kick went inches wide of the target.

Tuohy headed over the crossbar following an in-swinging George Sykes cross as the visitors continued to be put under pressure.

Former Canvey frontman Charlie Cole was presented with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock for Hertford after being played in by Emmanuel Osei.

But hesitation from the striker allowed George Allen to make a vital block.

Heale’s charges went on the counter attack soon after, with Ryan Melaugh being thwarted by Hertford goalkeeper Jayden Purdue before Tuohy made a poor connection with the rebound.

However, the hosts were to open the scoring just before the half hour mark.

Steve Sheehan was brought down in the penalty area by Hertford skipper Ollie Sharman and referee Conor Farrell pointed to the spot.

Tuohy’s penalty was saved by Purdue, but the striker – who recently returned to the Frost Hire Stadium from Barking – converted the rebound despite the custodian getting a hand to the effort.

And Canvey were handed another penalty when Sykes was hauled down eight minutes later.

Tuohy stepped up once again and, although he went to the goalkeeper’s right-hand side once again, he made no mistake this time.

Both sides struggled to create a clear-cut opportunity early in the second half, but Gilbey’s curling effort was blocked with 70 minutes on the clock.

Michael Toner hit a speculative effort high and wide as Hertford searched for a way back into the Isthmian North fixture, but Gulls goalkeeper Henry Newcombe was proving to be little more than a spectator for a significant amount of time.

Gilbey got too much on a dangerous, low cross from Melaugh as the attacking midfielder turned his close range effort wide.

Sykes, who is now 11 games without a goal, guided his header wide from a Steve Sheehan free-kick.

Light got a goal back for Hertford in stoppage time, but Tuohy’s double was enough for Canvey to claim a vital three points.

Canvey Island: Newcombe, Pitty, Dumas, Craddock (Collins 68), Allen, Sheehan, Merrifield, Gilbey (Warren 88), Sykes, Tuohy (Charles 73), Melaugh