Canvey Island produced a good second half performance to knock BetVictor Isthmian League South Central leaders Harlow Town out of the BBC Essex Senior Cup at the third round stage at The McCullochs Arena on Tuesday night.
Manager Mark Bentley made six changes from the side that were beaten narrowly by AFC Sudbury three days earlier. One notable omission was right back Ade Osifuwa who has decided to leave the club following a seven-day request from another club.
The Hawks did include one familiar face in their starting XI in the shape of attacker Ozzy Adeniji who has previously had two spells at Park Lane.
The first half was an extremely uneventful affair. The home side had more of the ball but were guilty of over-hitting their passes in behind the Canvey rearguard. On the slippery 3G surface the ball was simply running through to Lamar Johnson or out of play, not giving their forwards much of chance to make an impact.
Julian Lopez-Cascante did had a shot from distance saved by Lamar Johnson after 14 minutes which was as close as they came to scoring in the first half.
On 27 minutes Jason Hallett did well to control the ball down by the corner flag on the right wing, slipping a pass through which found the unattended run of Kane Gilbert into the box. He attempted to square the ball to Sam Dulieu who was eight yards from goal, but a defender managed to intercept the pass just before Dulieu could get a shot off.
Harlow winger De’juane Taylor-Crossdale sent over a dangerous cross from the right on 35 minutes, but forward Tayo Oyebola’s failed to make contact with his attempted header having risen well.
With a goal looking an unlikely prospect, Canvey nearly gifted the home side one with a minute of the first half remaining. Max Kent’s inadvertently put some backspin on a pass back to Lamar Johnson, causing the ball to hold up and allowing De’juane Taylor-Crossdale to capitalise.
Taylor-Crossdale got to the edge of the box where he was tackled by Johnson, but the ball went straight to Tayo Oyebola on the right wing. He sent a cross into the area towards Johnson’s now unguarded goal, but when it did reach Taylor-Crossdale the flag was raised for offside.
The half finished with Canvey having their first shot on target, a speculative long-range effort from Dan Humphreys which Hawks goalkeeper Josh Bexon saved with ease.
While it would have struggled to have been any quieter, the second half by comparison was a much more entertaining affair.
The hosts had a chance early soon after the restart when Ozzy Adeniji was played in behind the Canvey defence. He dinked the ball over Lamar Johnson who had raced to the edge of the area, but Alex Stephenson was back covering and was able to put the ball behind for a corner.
Adeniji had another opportunity on 50 minutes when he struck a curling left-footed shot towards the top corner from 20 yards. However, Lamar Johnson did well to dive high to his left, making the save and holding the ball.
On 53 minutes Dan Humphreys played a ball forwards from deep on the right, finding Jason Hallett on the edge of the box. Hallett nodded the ball over the defence and found the run of Sam Dulieu, but his poke goalwards was straight at Josh Bexon who saved low down.
The chances were now flowing freely, with Tayo Oyebola heading over for Harlow before Jason Hallett saw a low strike across goal from the left narrowly miss the bottom corner for Canvey.
Harlow had a convincing shout for a penalty on 59 minutes when a free kick from the right appeared to strike the outstretched arm of Jason Hallett. However, neither the referee or his assistant spotted an infringement and play was allowed to continue.
The Gulls took the lead two minutes later when Kane Gilbert played a chipped cross from the left to the front post which found Rob Lacey. The midfielder stuck a leg out and diverted the ball home, opening his account for the club in the process.
The hosts should have had an immediate equaliser when De’juane Taylor-Crossdale’s low sideline ball from the right found Ozzy Adeniji at the front post, but his flicked shot went across goal and wide of the target.
They had an even better opportunity on 70 minutes when a free kick into the area from the right was headed down by centre back Oliver Gnandi for Ozzy Adeniji, but his effort from point blank hit the crossbar and bounced down kindly into the arms of Tobi Joseph.
Canvey sealed their progression into the next round with four minutes remaining when substitute Tobi Joseph was brought down by Elwin Larty on the right. James White delivered an excellent cross into the area which Joseph brought under control before steering home from close range via the inside of the post.