Canvey Island returned to winning ways with a 1-0 win away to Dereham Town in the Bostik North on Saturday.
Manager Mark Bentley made three changes from the side that were beaten away to Aveley last time out. Martin Tuohy came in to partner Adam Vyse in attack, with Marlon Agyakwa and Ryan Melaugh coming into the side on either wing. Jack Simmons and Ashley Miller did not travel and Josh Hutchinson dropped to the bench.
The woodwork was struck on three occasions during the match, the first of which coming in the sixth minute when Canvey were awarded a corner. Marlon Agyakwa put a delivery into the box which Adam Vyse met with his head, sending the ball crashing off the crossbar. The rebound fell to captain James White, but his effort was cleared off the line.
The new strike partnership of Martin Tuohy and Adam Vyse were combining well in their first outing, and this was evident on 18 minutes in a move that should have resulted in a goal. A good pass from Tuohy found Vyse, and after beating a defender he saw his shot saved by goalkeeper Elliot Pride. This time the rebound presented an opportunity for Ryan Melaugh, but with an open goal at his mercy he lost control of the ball at the vital moment.
The hosts were reduced to ten men on 36 minutes when Robbie Linford went in with a heavy tackle on Jose Figura, and having already been booked he saw a second yellow card followed by a red.
The Gulls had a couple of chances to make their numerical advantage count before the interval, but Marlon Agyakwa saw a shot parried following a mazy dribble on 40 minutes, and soon afterwards Jose Figura had a long range effort tipped over the bar for a corner.
Over the years Canvey have rarely performed well when playing against ten men, and signs of this continuing were evident at the start of the second half as Dereham got themselves on top of proceedings.
On 53 minutes a mix up between Sam Collins and Jose Figura presented the ball to the opposition, but thankfully Harry Palmer was equal to the shot and made a good save.
Palmer was called into action again five minutes later when the hosts broke through the Canvey rearguard. However, Palmer did well once more the keep the ball out with a save low down.
Having weathered the storm, Canvey began to create chances of their own once again. On 62 minutes a good low cross from Sam Collins was met by Adam Vyse who was denied by a defender. From the resulting corner, Ryan Melaugh saw his shot saved wonderfully by Elliot Pride.
The only goal of the game two minutes later when Adam Vyse opened his account for the club, getting his head to a Ryan Melaugh cross and thundering it past Elliot Pride to score.
Both teams hit the crossbar in the close stages. On 85 minutes Dereham had a shot hit the underside of the bar which bounced down inside the six-yard box but didn't cross the line.
Three minutes later it was Canvey's turn to hit the woodwork, this time Frankie Merrifield to be denied having beaten the keeper.
Canvey saw out the remaining time to pick up an important three points along with a much-needed clean sheet.
Mark Bentley Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts