Canvey Island's dream of finishing runners-up in their first season at Ryman Premier level suffered a hiccup at a Chesham United side who replaced them in second spot with this success.

There is no doubt that long-term Billericay Town boss John Kendall, who took over at Chesham this season, has done a marvellous job in reviving the fortunes of the club.

But the Islanders left convinced that they should have had a share of the spoils after Chesham ended their unbeaten 11-game run.

Gulls, who had appeals for a penalty turned down when home man Fitz Hall appeared to floor Steve Parmenter in the box after 33 minutes, were outraged when ref Andy Webb waved aside what they reckoned was a cast iron case that Martin Fox had fouled Chris Duffy in the penalty area five minutes later.

Canvey - without injured Paul Abrahams and Sammy Cooper, suffering from a sickness bug - were by far the more forceful side in the opening stages.

But it was Chesham who drew first blood in the 15th minute when a Derek Browne cross from the right hit a visiting defender and fell invitingly for Stuart Storer to open the scoring.

The Gulls created a series of half-chances with Chris Duffy going inches wide after 14 minutes and then shooting over from 20 yards when set up by Jeff Brazier.

Parmenter's effort hit the outside of the post, but a basically young home outfit came more into their own after the break.

Duffy cleared the danger when Storer escaped the attentions of the visiting defence just after the break and Canvey keeper Ashley Harrison had to be at his most alert to thwart Browne.

The Islanders replaced Neil Gregory with Andy Jones, fresh from his Essex Senior Cup double on Monday, with 32 minutes to go and the Gulls' all-time record scorer was soon in the thick of the action.

A move started by Duffy saw Steve Tilson and Jones set up Parmenter to level after 66 minutes.

But within seven minutes, Chesham were back in front. Terry Bowes' cross from the right saw Browne help the ball into the box and Chris Boothe headed home.

Chesham pressed to make sure of the points and Harrison pushed out a dipping shot while, at the other end, Tilson had an effort held by Laurence Batty, the former England semi-pro goalkeeper signed on loan in the week from Woking, and then had a late free kick hit the defensive wall.

Canvey are now determined to put the end of their 11-match unbeaten run quickly behind them when in-form Slough visit Park Lane next Saturday.

Before that they bid for a semi-final spot in the Eastern Floodlight Competition when Schweppes Essex Senior League side Bowers United come to the Island tonight.

Converted for the new archive on 19 November 2001. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.