Canvey Island won through to the next round of the Emirates FA Cup thanks to a last-minute headed goal from Jason Hallett.
The two sides couldn’t be separated over the course of 179 minutes, but in the final one Hallett scored against his former side to see the Gulls progress in dramatic circumstances.
Both managers named the same starting XI’s that met at Capershotts three days earlier.
The match started in an open manner, with Canvey nearly scoring inside three minutes when Jason Hallett was played in down the left. The former-Waltham Abbey forward beat a defender before firing a low shot across goal which went narrowly wide.
Waltham Abbey came even close on six minutes when Billy Holland brought the ball forwards down the left and slipped it through to Nathan Koranteng. The winger attempted a cross which took a deflection and hit the top of the post before going behind for a corner.
Canvey took the lead in the ninth minute in bizarre circumstances. Josh Hutchinson laid the ball off for George Purcell on the left, with the forward swinging over a good cross towards Tobi Joseph. Defender Dominique Yiagnigni rose well to get a header in before Joseph, with the ball looping up high into the floodlit sky.
A crowd of players closed in on the ball which looked to be landing on the roof of the net. However, the trajectory of the ball deceived everyone including goalkeeper Anthony Page, bouncing down on the line before going in.
The goal sparked the visitors into life, which combined with some uncertain Canvey defending could have resulted in a goal on a couple of occasions.
On 12 minutes the Abbotts capitalised on some of this sloppy defending to outnumber the Gulls at the back. The ball was worked through to Nathan Koranteng on the left, but under pressure from Michael Finneran, his low shot across goal went wide of the bottom corner.
Soon afterwards Leonne McKenzie kept himself down the opposite side of the pitch, making his way into the area before pulling the trigger. The shot was on target but was kept out thanks to an excellent save from Lamar Johnson diving low to his right.
Canvey should have doubled their lead on 26 minutes when a through ball from midfield released George Purcell clean in behind the Abbotts defence. The striker bore down on goal but uncharacteristically steered his shot from 18 yards wide of the post with only the keeper to beat.
The Gulls kept the pressure up through the rest of the half which nearly yielded a reward with one minute remaining. Sammy Knott delivered a corner to the near post which found Alex Stephenson, but his well-directed flick on header was blocked by a defender inside the six yard box.
Leading at the break, Canvey had two good chances early in the second half.
On 56 minutes Waltham Abbey gave the ball away cheaply in defence, presenting possession to George Purcell 25 yards from goal. He brought the ball across the area from the right, with his eventual shot catching a deflection and forcing Anthony Page into a good save diving to his right.
The ball went out for a corner which Sammy Knott took, being cleared by a defender but straight back to Knott. He had plenty of space to dribble infield, floating a cross to the back post and finding Jason Hallett who headed wide when well placed.
Waltham Abbey manager Michael Spencer made a change on 59 minutes, introducing Darelle Russell into the match in place of Aron Gordon. The substitution proved to be an inspired one, with Russell involved in the equaliser less than sixty seconds later.
His cross from the left found the head of tall forward Leonne McKenzie and he powered the ball past Lamar Johnson to score.
There was action at both ends two minutes later, with Waltham Abbey hitting the post with a low shot from 20 yards before Jason Hallett was denied thanks to some decisive goalkeeping, with Anthony Page racing off his line to make a crucial interception 30 yards from goal.
The Abbotts got on top of proceedings for a ten-minute spell, with Canvey struggling to get out of their own half. However, having weathered the storm they started to create chances once again.
On 71 minutes Josh Hutchinson shot through the legs of a defender on the left, although his effort was straight at Anthony Page who saved.
Six minutes later Sammy Knott did brilliantly to keep the ball in play down by the corner flag on the left, looking up and picking out Jason Hallett who was unmarked on the edge of the box. Hallett flicked a first time shot goalwards which beat the keeper but hit the crossbar to deny what would have been a sensational goal.
Waltham Abbey were reduced to ten men on 81 minutes when defender Ryan Dear went over the top of the ball with a challenge on substitute Dan Humphreys. Referee James Simpson was well placed and wasted little time in showing Dear a straight red card.
Just when it looked as though the tie would be heading for extra time, there was a final twist in the tale. Josh Hutchinson picked up the ball on the left and sent a pinpoint cross to the back post for Jason Hallett. The forward leapt high and thumped a header past the despairing Anthony Page to send the Canvey fans behind the goal into wild celebrations.
After nearly six minutes of additional time the referee sounded the final whistle to see the Gulls through to the next round where they will travel to St Ives Town.