MARK Bentley felt his Canvey Island side deserved to get their season off to a fine start by recording a 2-1 win over Romford.

Although former Hullbridge Sports skipper Jimmy Cox handed Romford the lead, a brace from summer signing George Purcell ensured the Gulls would collect all three points on the opening day of the Isthmian North campaign.

And Bentley felt his half-time team talk proved crucial.

“It’s never straight forward at this level,” said the Canvey boss.

“We were our own worst enemies in the first half.

“We just didn’t pass the ball and despite all the good work we did in pre-season, where we were trying to play out from the back, we didn’t do it at all.

“For whatever reason, we didn’t settle and going behind wasn’t ideal.

“We had numerous chances to get back into it quite quickly but we didn’t take them.

“There were a few words at half-time to get the boys focused and, to be fair to them, they were calm in possession and that’s what I asked for.

“We picked them off quite comfortably at times and we deservedly won after all the chances we had thanks to George’s two goals.”

Romford broke the deadlock inside 11 minutes as Cox capitalised on Canvey failing to clear their lines.

Alex Stephenson should have levelled matters before the break as Romford goalkeeper Harry Aldridge fumbled the ball.

But the central defender’s effort, with the goal at his mercy, was inadvertently blocked by team-mate Tobi Joseph.

However, the Gulls equalised with 71 minutes on the clock as Purcell’s free-kick deflected into the back of the net.

And Purcell, who joined from Hornchurch in the summer, turned the game on its head by guiding home Kane Gilbert’s cross to complete his brace five minutes later.