Bostik North: Romford 0 Canvey Island 1
PUBLISHED: 17:02 24 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:02 24 February 2019
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Relegation-threatened Romford suffered a last-minute defeat at Rookery Hill as Frankie Merrifield secured all three points for Canvey on Sunday.
Boro had suffered six successive losses since their 0-0 draw with Barking and have not tasted success since their New Year’s Day win over Grays.
But they went close to claiming only a second point from a possible 27, until Merrifield’s 90th-minute intervention.
Khadean Campbell looked to be through on goal for Boro early on, but was adjudged to have handled in the box, and Harry Aldridge spilled a cross at the feet of Martin Tuohy at the other end, but did enough to divert the ball behind.
Zack Littlejohn was unable to force the ball home at the far post from the resulting corner, while Harry Palmer produced two good saves to deny Boro.
After tipping a rising drive from Campbell over the crossbar, Palmer parried Danny Cossington’s bullet header from the corner, before the visitors scrambled the ball clear.
Canvey went close again as Littlejohn’s header almost crept in, but Jonathan Nzengo produced a fine run for the hosts, before being crowded out in the box.
Adeyinka Cole curled a shot just past the angle of crossbar and post for Canvey midway through the first half, but Campbell sent a low drive straight at Palmer before Merrifield fired into the side netting from a tight angle.
Boro had more chances to break the deadlock in quick succession, but Palmer denied Reece Hewitt with a superb save from Campbell’s cross and Michael Mignot could not convert when the ball was played back in, before Cossington headed a free-kick wide.
Hewitt fired another effort over from the edge of the Canvey box as Romford’s frustrations grew, with Campbell spurning another big chance shortly before half time after being put through.
But Aldridge had to produce a stunning one-handed save to palm away Tuohy’s effort after a good break by Canvey, who went closer still on the stroke of half time when Littlejohn met a corner but the home side somehow scrambled the ball away.
Romford boss Paul Martin sent stalwarts Chris Taylor and Nick Reynolds on for Calvin Poku and Cossington during the interval, but Canvey started the second half on the front foot and Littlejohn headed a free-kick over the crossbar, while Merrifield had the ball taken away from him at the vital moment by Toby Barlow.
Boro sent Greg Akpele on for Mignot on the hour to bolster their attack as they looked for a breakthrough and Campbell had a shot blocked on the edge of the box.
But Canvey had claims for a penalty waved away, following appeals for a handball decision at a free-kick, and Littlejohn fired over with 20 minutes remaining.
Kayne Gilbert came on for the visitors and, having gone close from a tight angle, James White’s shot from the edge of the box was blocked on the line by a Boro defender.
And substitute Adam Vyse then headed wide from a corner as Canvey looked the more likely to end the stalemate, before a subsequent effort went over the crossbar as Aldridge struggled to deal with another delivery.
Littlejohn also headed wide from a Vyse cross, but Canvey grabbed a last-minute winner when Vyse played a low ball into the box and found Merrifield to score from six yards.
Defeat leaves Boro three points adrift of Mildenhall at the foot of the table, with a trip to Brentwood up next.
Romford: Aldridge, Nzengo, Barlow, Toussaint, Olukoga, Cossington (Reynolds 46), Brown-Bampoe, Mignot (Akpele 61), Poku (Taylor 46), Campbell, Hewitt. Unused subs: Nesbitt, Fisher.
Canvey: Palmer, Osifuwa, Brown, White, Warren (Collins 46), Littlejohn, Cole (Vyse 70), Tuohy, Merrifield, Melaugh (Gilbert 70). Unused sub: Stone.