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Match Report
Ryman Premier League - 2016/2017
Canvey Island 1
G. Sykes (76)
Harlow Town 1
F. Simms (22)

Canvey Island and Harlow Town played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at a sunswept Frost Financial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Gulls finished the match with ten men after a late sending off but showed good character to bounce back from a 1-0 deficit at half time to earn a share of the spoils.

Manager Danny Heale made two changes from the side that beat Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday, bringing in central midfielder Joey May and left back Ashley Dumas after the latter had recovered from a dead leg.

May replaced Harrison Chatting who injured his hamstring in the match against Dulwich while Dumas came in for Jake Pitty who played in the unfamiliar position of left back last time out.

Harlow meanwhile included three-former Canvey players in their squad, with Lawrence Yiga in central defence and Leon Antoine alongside Mario Noto on the substitutes’ bench.

It was Canvey who created the first goalscoring chance of note on 13 minutes when a corner was whipped in from the right wing. Lee O’Leary rose high to flick the ball across goal and straight to Ryan O’Rawe at the back post, but he was unable to the over the ball and could only head over the bar from close range.

Conor Gough was called into action for the first time a minute later when Fabion Simms had a shot from just inside the area which Gough kept out diving low to his right. The loose ball fell straight to Alex Read but his follow up effort was also stopped buy the big keeper.

Harlow took the lead on 22 minutes when a good ball from just inside the Canvey half on the left from defender Layne Eadie found striker Fabion Simms in the box. Simms brought the ball under control with his first touch before slotting home past Conor Gough with his left foot.

As always Joey May’s free kicks into the area were proving dangerous and this was the case again on 35 minutes when he found the head of Ryan O’Rawe unmarked, but the ball was ever so slightly ahead of him meaning he could only head wide after stretching to make a connection.

The visitors had a similar chance of their own after 42 minutes when Syrus Gordon delivered an excellent dead ball into the area from the left wing. Craig Pope got his head to the ball at the back post but put his effort the wrong side of the upright.

The second half started in the same fashion as the first with not much between the two sides.

On 54 minutes Joey May played a good through ball for Martin Tuohy to run onto. The ball forced Tuohy wide on the right hand side of the pitch meaning that his eventual shot was from a tighter angle than he would have liked and was turned behind for a corner by goalkeeper David Hughes.

Seven minutes later Martin Tuohy played George Sykes in behind the Harlow defence, but a superb recovering tackle from Craig Pope put the ball behind off of Sykes for a goal kick.

Canvey equalised on 76 minutes through another superb set piece from Joey May. His corner was part cleared but only as far as Lee O’Leary on the right who chipped a delightful ball to the back post for George Sykes to head home from close range.

Luis Morrison was harshly booked for Canvey on 79 minutes with Mario Noto standing over the resulting free kick. Noto miskicked his ball in the box but in doing so found Leon Antoine who shot across goal and off the outside of the post, although the flag had already been raised for offside against the former-Canvey striker.

The Gulls were reduced to ten men with three minutes of normal time remaining when Luis Morrison was shown his second yellow card for pulling back Syrus Gordon as he attempted to burst into the area from the left. Morrison can have no complaints about the second yellow but will feel aggrieved with the first which saw him win the ball cleanly with a robust sliding tackle.

The free kick was delivered by Mario Noto to the back post and headed back across goal for Piers Wixon at the back post, but having come on two minutes earlier he scuffed his shot wide from a tight angle with a large unguarded area of the goal available to him.

Canvey nearly won the game in the third of five additional minutes when Tony Stokes collected the ball 25-yards from goal and unleashed a curling left-footed shot which was goalbound until it ricocheted off of a Harlow player’s head and went behind for a corner.

Photo: Holly Allison

Match Highlights by Andy Wilkins

Joe Keith & Spencer Knight Post-Match Interview