CANVEY manager Steve Tilson admitted his side should have held on for a win after they threw away a 4-1 lead with 15 minutes to play in a 5-4 defeat away to league leaders Whitehawk, writes Glen Eckett.

Tilson said: "I'm as disappointed for the players as anyone because we were 4-1 up and had put in a very clinical performance in front of goal.

"And the truth is they were dead and buried. I think they had run out of ideas.

"But their second goal got them back in the game.

"I think at 4-1 we seemed to think the game was over. And really and truly it should have been.

"But their second goal has got them right back in it and they went a bit more direct and got the breaks."

Charlie Parker's deflected effort had given the Hawks a 1-0 lead after a quarter of an hour, but James Hawes equalised for Canvey on the half-hour mark.

And just before half time, Jay Curran gave the Gulls the lead, slotting home Louis Dennis' cross from the left wing.

Dennis turned from provider to scorer on 58 minutes, capitalising on a loose ball in the area and smashing it into the net from 12 yards.

The three points seemed secured 10 minutes later when Dennis cut in from the left and shot across Hawks' keeper Chris Winterton, allowing Harrison Chatting to tap the ball over the line from close range.

But the hosts had other ideas, and Danny Mills reduced arrears on 77 minutes, and two minutes later an accurate free kick from Josh Jones on the edge of the box made it 4-3.

Canvey were on the ropes, and substitute Michael Malcolm was on hand to equalise with six minutes to play.

Three minutes of injury time were indicated, and in the first Mills cut inside Ashley Miller following a long ball over the top and drilled it into the bottom corner to complete an incredible comeback.

Canvey's top scorer Bradley Woods-Garness and midfielder Kevin Dobinson both missed the game through injury.

Canvey Island: Jones, Miller, Dumas, King, Hayles, Orlu, Bondon, Hawes, Curran, Dennis, Chatting.

Echo MOM: Louis Dennis (Canvey Island).