STEVE Tilson began his reign as Canvey Island boss with a 3-2 defeat to Ryman One North new boys Witham Town.
Tilson fielded several trialists in The Gulls’ lineup as he begins the task of rebuilding the squad for the new season.
Canvey were 2-0 down at the interval but pulled one back through Jay Curran on 63 minutes who scored with a unstoppable drive.
Witham, winners of last season’s Essex Senior League, restored their two-goal cushion before Leon Gordan pulled one back for Canvey from the penalty spot after Albert Levett had been fouled.
Former Canvey man Jason Hallett opened his account for their island rivals CONCORD RANGERS as they won their friendly at Southern Premier Division side St Neots.
Hallett, who led the line for the Beachboys, was joined on the scoresheet by Anthony Stokes and Harry Elmes in a line-up that promises plenty of goals this season.
Stokes scored with an audacious, Pirlo-esque chip from the penalty spot to open the scoring inside the first 10 minutes.
St Neots’ equalised before Elmes and Hallett brought the score to 3-1 at half-time.
The hosts pulled a goal back in the second half but Concord had enough to see the game out.
One piece of bad news was an injury picked up by their new signing Chris Bourne who had to come off five minutes into the second half.
Concord are back in action again tonight when they travel to the Len Salmon Stadium to play Bowers & Pitsea (kick-off 7.45pm).
Canvey face BILLERICAY TOWN – who have seen their first two pre-season games cancelled because of waterlogged pitches – at Park Lane on Saturday (3pm).