Canvey Island 3, Lowestoft Town 2
Lowestoft Town slipped up in a five-goal thriller at Canvey Island – but there was only minimal damage to the Trawlerboys' Ryman League Premier Division title aspirations.
With leaders Billericay only drawing at Hastings and second-placed Hornchurch beaten at Bury, Lowestoft, in third, remain within striking distance of top spot.
The Blues were without Dale Cockrill and Joe Francis on Saturday, both injured in the midweek cup victory over Canvey Island.
The visitors won a free-kick in the first minute and Scott Mitchell's direct shot was scrambled clear. Lowestoft continued to make the running and Lubo Guentchev was denied by a fine diving save by the home keeper. From the resulting corner Greg Crane's header flashed inches too high.
Canvey Island suddenly burst into action with Bradley Woods-Garness breaking quickly down the left and crossing to the far post where Alex Rhodes volleyed past Andy Reynolds to give Canvey the lead.
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Lowestoft levelled the scores in the 34th minute with Stuart Ainsley's searching cross from the left seemingly going wide but Guentchev's volley from an extremely acute angle scorched into the roof of the net.
A two-goal burst in the space of three minutes just before the break put Canvey in the driving seat. In the 41st minute Jason Hallett's cross from the right was met by a spectacular overhead kick by Woods-Garness from just outside the penalty area which flashed in off the bar.
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Three minutes later James Cumley cut in from the left and his driven cross was turned in by Jay Curran.
Lowestoft pulled a goal back in the 66th minute with half-time substitute Adrian Forbes racing down the right and from his cross Chris Henderson powered a header past Russell.
In added time Henderson's flicked header from Robert Eagle's cross clipped the bar as Lowestoft were unable to conjure an equaliser.
• Canvey Island: Russell, Ward, Dumas, King, Alaile, Easterford, Curran, Cumley, Hallett, Woods-Garness, Rhodes (Mason, 69). Subs not used: Sheehan, Dobinson, Game, Heale.
Goals: Rhodes (12), Woods-Garness (41), Curran (44)
• Lowestoft Town: Reynolds, Mitchell, Smith, Fisk, Crane, Gaughran (Forbes, 46), Guentchev (Nolan, 73), Ainsley (Forshaw, 81), Frew, Henderson, Eagle. Subs not used: Godbold, Hodd.
Goals: Guentchev (35), Henderson (66)
• Attendance: 371