CANVEY Island’s winless start to pre-season continued after a 2-0 defeat at Chelmsford City.

The Gulls got off to the worst possible start, conceding after only three minutes, with Luke Callendar finding the net. This was the second time in as many matches that Canvey had let in a goal in the opening stages.

John Sands, Jay Curran and Anthony Thomas looked lively for the visitors but it was the Conference South side who doubled their advantage with five minutes to go, Mark Hughes heading home.

Next up for Canvey is Heybridge Swifts at home tomorrow.

Canvey’s two local Ryman Premier rivals, Billericay Town and East Thurrock United, both had morale-boosting victories.

Billericay won a thrilling game 4-3 at home to Conference South side Hemel Hempstead Town.

Jeffrey Imudia gave Billericay a half-time lead (before going off with a serious-looking rib injury) with their opponents having missed a penalty.

The home side conceded an equaliser before Javlon Campbell climbed highest to put Billericay back in front. However the lead didn’t last long and Hemel Hemspstead had taken a 3-2 before long.

The returning Ricky Sappleton made a big difference for Town, equalizing within moments of coming on and scoring a penalty to send the home fans home happy.

And the fans were further boosted when it was revealed that Imudia’s injury, which happened when he collided with a post, was not as bad as first feared.

He was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with badly bruised ribs but nothing more serious. It is not known, however, how long he will be out for.

Billericay take on Conference South champions Eastleigh next up on Tuesday.

One bit of bad news for Town fans is the news that former skipper Chris Wild, who only returned to the club at the start of pre-season, has departed once again because of work commitments.

They have, however, brought in Cyrus Mahler and confirmed the signing of midfielder Jack Edwards.

East Thurrock continued their pre-season with a victory over Ryman North side Redbridge.

The Rocks ran out 3-1 winners against their opponents thanks to goals from Emmanuel Osei, David Bryant and Ryan Boswell. Next up for John Coventry’s men are League Two side Luton Town on Wednesday at Rookery Hill.

Great Wakering Rovers continued their preparations for life back in Ryman Division One North with a 3-1 win against a Sawbridgeworth Town side they left behind in the Essex Senior League last season.