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Match Report
Ryman Premier League - 2010/2011
Canvey Island 1
D. Heale (27)
Carshalton Athletic 1
P. Johnson (11)

Canvey Island kept their positive start to the season going with a 1-1 draw against Carshalton Athletic at the Brockwell Stadium.

Despite going a goal down, the Gulls battled back well and were unlucky not to gain all three points after missing a number of excellent chances in the last 20 minutes.

This game was a tight affair with both defences playing well but Canvey played some fine passing football at times and generally looked solid in defence and midfield.

They didn't make the best of starts though when they conceded after 12 minutes. Chris Moore was booked for a foul on Lloyd Blackman near the right hand edge of the penalty area and from the resulting free kick Paul Johnson found a gap in the Canvey defensive wall to curl a free kick beyond James Russell and into the bottom corner of the net.

Canvey though battled back well and Luke Pigden was shown a yellow card after blocking Danny Heale's free kick with his hand on 20 minutes. Heale's second attempt was blocked well by the Robins' defence.

Canvey got back into the match on 27 minutes after a decent passing move. James Rowe squared the ball to Heale who was near the left hand side of the penalty area and around 20 yards from goal.

Heale fired a well placed low drive beyond keeper Craig Ross and into the bottom corner of the net.

For the remainder of the half neither side were able to stamp their authority on the game with defences very much on top. Steve Ward and Moore combined well to keep out the threat of Blackman and the talented Byron Harrison whilst Matt Game and Robbie King showed tremendous work rate in the midfield.

New signing for Canvey, Alex Rhodes had an encouraging debut and the former Grays' winger showed some nice touches.

The second half continued in the same vein with Canvey enjoying plenty of possession but finding it difficult to break through a resilient Robins' backline.

Russell was tested by a couple of shots that he saved comfortably but the keeper did have to be alert to claw away a dangerous driven cross from the left by Ricardo Joseph on 66 minutes.

The game gradually opened up in the last 20 minutes and the Gulls began to get a great deal of joy through their patient passing football.

The introduction of Jason Hallett for Heale on 74 minutes also had an effect as the former Chelmsford striker put himself about bullishly and at times unnerved the Carshalton defenders.

On 75 minutes, Canvey really should have gone ahead when a great passing move saw Rowe released down the right hand side of the penalty area. Ross saved Rowe's shot well with his knee but the rebound fell to Game who got a foot to the ball but not enough to send it into the net with the effort somehow being blocked on the line and scrambled to safety.

Rowe was guilty of a poor miss on 79 minutes when Rhodes found Hallett down the left and his cross was somehow side-footed on to the crossbar from a couple of yards out by the former Sudbury striker.

Karl Murray had a sniff of a chance on 81 minutes for Carshalton when he got on the end of a right wing cross but volleyed into the side netting from a tight angle.

The hardworking Jay Curran was replaced by Isa Hussein on 88 minutes and Rhodes nearly got himself a debut goal when his low free kick from 25 yards was scrambled around the post by Ross after Hallett had been fouled.

Rowe nearly won the game in injury time when he outmuscled a defender whilst tussling for a high ball into the penalty area but Ross was quickly out of his goal and did just enough to put the striker off with Rowe's shot bobbling inches wide of the empty net.

Carshalton though still had time to rob Canvey of the points with virtually the last kick of the game deep into stoppage time. A Robins' player was allowed to get a header in at the far post from a left wing corner that crashed off of the crossbar and away to safety.

Canvey though deserved at least a draw and will go into Monday's eagerly anticipated derby game with Billericay Town full of encouragement after a good display.