Lewes suffered a heavy defeat on the freezing cold banks of the Thames Estuary with on-loan goalkeeper Harry Palmer suffering a debut to forget.
Palmer was the only change to the starting eleven from last week, replacing flu-suffering Chris Winterton, having signed at the 11th hour on dual registration from Braintree Town. New Eastbourne Borough loanee Josh Street and Miguel Baptista were also included in an attacking squad, with Darren Freeman recognising the need to grab at least a point.
The positivity lasted just six minutes before Gilbey’s cross was flicked home by centre-back Richard Halle. The home side weathered the strong wind quickly and put the Rooks goal under pressure before Lewes equalised against the run of play in the 15th minute when a neat passing move saw Laing play in Jonté Smith and he had no mistake when one-on-one with Conor Gough.
Lewes grew in confidence with Smith twice going close, denied by Gough on one occasion and the conditions on the other. Half-time saw the scores were level, with The Rooks feeling confident that they’d matched the hosts despite the strong wind acting as an extra attacker.
Alas the confidence dissolved within six second half minutes as Curran smashed the ball home after Tuohy had created the space for him. Stokes should have scored a third soon after, waltzing through the Lewes defence before his shot hit the post then rolled across the line. The Rooks luck ran out just after the hour mark when keeper Palmer took too long with his clearance and Tuohy charged the ball down, then rolling it into an empty net.
However, against the run of play Lewes came back into the game in the 76th minute when Redwood’s speculative free-kick eluded everyone in the area and bounced through Gough’s legs and into the net.
The next goal was crucial although in fairness it never looked like The Rooks would score it. Despite Freeman throwing on Baptista for his debut and Ben El-Mhanni it was the home side who looked the stronger and they wrapped up the win with three minutes to go when substitute Johnson’s effort came off the post and fell kindly to fellow substitute Akurang who made amends for his earlier open goal miss by smashing the ball home to make it 4-2. A fifth made the scoreline flattering although there was nothing lucky about Tuohy’s second in injury time, smashing home a volley from twenty five yards.
It was a damaging defeat for the Rooks, with none of the other bottom six winning and now making Monday night’s trip to Hendon a must-win game.
Canvey Island: Gough, Pitty, Dumas, Gilbey (Agakwa – 90 mins), Halle, Sheehan, Curran (Akurang – 81 mins), Chatting, Tombides (Johnson – 81 mins), Tuohy, Stokes
Subs not used: Lawson, James-Lewis
Lewes: Palmer, Brinkhurst (Ben El-Mhanni – 82 mins), Redwood, Carey, Freeman, Malins, Conlon, Hammond (Baptista – 72 mins) Smith, Laing, Okojie (Street – 60 mins)
Subs not used: Muggeridge, Badger
Referee: Martyn Holmes