Wingate & Finchley 0, Canvey 1
STEVE Tilson got off to a winning start as the manager of Canvey as a single goal proved enough to take all three points home from the Harry Abrahams Stadium.
The former Southend United boss started with Ashlee Jones in goal after the former Billericay and Braintree stopped agreed a deal with the club late last week.
He also paired new signing Richard Orlu, a former Farnborough and Staines Town player who signed for the Gulls on Thursday, in the heart of defence alongside Rickie Hayles.
But none of the new recruits were overly extended in a first half played in searing heat, and one in which there were few chances.
Experienced striker Danny Heale was left out of the starting XI, but he came on as a 20th minute substitute for Jay Curran, who had to retire injured on 20 minutes as he chased a ball down the right-hand touchline and pulled up mid-sprint.
It appeared he’d pulled his hamstring and, after some treatment, was replaced by Heale.
The first half was rather subdued given the heat and neither team really threatened. Both sides used the width well, but failed to produce any meaningful attempts on goal. Wingate did have the ball in the net, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
And it ended goalless after 45 minutes of football which did little to inspire a crowd of 130.
It improved after the restart, and Canvey looked a constant threat, with winger Dean Mason making good use of plenty of space on the left. The decisive moment came when Bradley Woods-Garness continued his impressive scoring record for the club by firing home what would prove to be the winner in the 53rd minute.
Kevin Dobinson collected the ball in midfield and sprayed it out wide on the right to Leon Gordon. He floated a deep cross over to the far post where Mason headed the ball back across the six yard line into the path of Heale. His shot was well blocked by the keeper, but the rebound fell to the onrushing Woods-Garness, and he made no mistake as he smashed it high into the net.
From then on Canvey stepped it up and were in full control, and Gordon crossed for new skipper Rob King to head into the side-netting at the back post.
Woods-Garness had a shot blocked from an tight angle and this time the rebound fell to Heale, but his back-heel went out for a goal-kick.
Dobinson had to go off with 25 minutes to go with a foot injury, and he was replaced by James Hawes. Wingate pushed for a leveller in the final 10 minutes and Jones pulled off a great save to seal the win for the Gulls.
Canvey: Jones, Miller, Dumas, Hayles, Orlu, King, Gordon, Dobinson, Curran, Woods-Garness, Mason.
Echo MOM: Rickie Hayles (Canvey).