MARK Bentley hailed his players’ reaction to going down to 10 men as Canvey Island recorded a 2-2 draw with Waltham Abbey.

The two sides will do battle once again in an FA Cup first qualifying round replay on Tuesday as efforts from Leonne McKenzie and Ryan Dear ensured goals from Tobi Joseph and Jason Hallett would not be enough for the Gulls to seal their progress in the competition.

But Hallett’s leveller came after fellow striker George Purcell had been shown a second yellow card and given his marching orders, which frustrated Bentley.

The Canvey boss said: “I think the referee set his standards in the first few minutes when he booked George for nothing.

“It certainly wasn’t a booking and the referee gave me a booking which I’m still confused about. He obviously didn’t like my tone.

“The lad (Charles Edwards) absolutely sold George one. He did it in pre-season against us where he got a touch and squealed.

“The referee didn’t see it and went off their reaction.

“I knew George hadn’t touched him. He went for a shot, the lad jumped over his leg and fell down with a massive squeal.

“That’s not the way I want to do things and I wouldn’t encourage my players to do that.”

Canvey took a 17th minute lead thanks to a fine goal from Joseph, who linked up with Josh Hutchinson before rifling home.

However, the Gulls’ advantage lasted just five minutes as McKenzie tapped Junior Appiah’s dangerous centre into the back of the net from close range.

Canvey came close to restoring their lead when Hallett headed a Sammy Knott corner against the crossbar in first half stoppage time.

Waltham Abbey capitalised on the miss as, two minutes after the break, Dear nodded home.

Bentley’s side appeared to have an uphill battle when Purcell was dismissed after being shown a second yellow card moments later, but Hallett found an equaliser by lobbing goalkeeper Anthony Page.

Albert Levett came close to recording his first Canvey goal as he rattled the frame of the goal, but it was to finish honours even.

And Bentley felt his side performed impressively with a numerical disadvantage.

“Overall, we’ve got to be happy with a replay,” added Bentley.

“We totally dominated the game after going down to 10 men.

“It surprised me a little bit because as a manager you’re thinking ‘what do we do in terms of our shape?’ but we kept it the same.

“We got the equaliser through Jase and, to be fair, we put them under a lot of pressure with 10 men.

“There are lots of positives to come from the second half.”