Isthmian North: Romford 1 Canvey Island 2
PUBLISHED: 17:46 17 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:46 17 August 2019
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Former Hornchurch striker George Purcell struck twice in quick succession to send Romford to defeat on the opening day of the new BetVictor Isthmian League North Division season.
Boro opened the scoring at their new Brentwood Arena base, thanks to an early goal from Jimmy Cox.
But hotshot Purcell scored twice in the space of five minutes to turn the match on its head and earn the Gulls all three points.
Canvey went close after three just mintues as Joshua Hutchinson's low shot was flicked wide by Alexander Stephenson.
A long ball from Lamar Johnson then found former Urchin Purcell, who saw his shot well saved by Harry Aldridge.
Boro took the lead on 11 minutes as Cox fired home from close range and the visitors saw ex-Romford defender Michael Finneran and Stephenson waste chances on the half-hour mark.
Stephenson's shot hit Tobi Joseph, when Aldridge fumbled a cross on 38 minutes, and the Boro keeper then made a superb save to keep out Purcell's vicious free-kick on the stroke of half time.
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Joseph headed over from a corner seven minutes after the restart, but the Gulls got back on level terms on 71 minutes as Purcell saw a well-struck free-kick deflected off the wall and past Aldridge.
The Boro keeper saved well from Purcell soon after, before James White fired over for the visitors.
But Canvey got the go-ahead goal on 76 minutes as Finneran brought the ball forward and found Kane Gilbert, whose cross picked out Purcell to smash home from close range.
Purcell went close to a hat-trick on 84 minutes when his shot was pushed onto the crossbar by Aldridge and he then saw a defender clear off the line after he had rounded the Boro keeper moments later.
But Boro went close to a late leveller as the ball fell to Jay Nash in the box, as Canvey panicked, only for hinm to shoot straight at Johnson.
Romford: Aldridge, Samuels, Palmer, Hiobi, Thandi, Brown-Bampoe (Ogun 84), Toussaint, Tranter (Stewart 77), Cox (Charles 56), Nash, Green.
Unused subs: Nesbitt, Riddle.