|Canvey Island 2|
|J. Simmons (58), J. Simmons (85)|
|B. Lawrence (84), T. Bullard (90), B. Lawrence (90)|
In a highly entertaining rollercoaster of a game that was blessed with some sensational goals, the Gulls threw away points having been in a winning position on the stroke of 90 minutes for the second game running.
Manager Danny Heale was forced into two changes from the side that impressed away to Enfield Town on Saturday. Out went forward George Sykes who was suffering from a dead leg and defender Jack Lampe who was the subject of a late recall by parent club Concord Rangers. Martin Tuohy and Steve Sheehan came into the starting XI in their place.
The visitors, fresh from their win against pre-season title-favourites Havant & Waterlooville, came out of the traps like a greyhound. Inside the opening 30 seconds the ball was played to Jack Ainsley inside the box but he steered his shot wide with only Conor Gough to beat.
A minute later Byron Lawrence brought the ball in from the left to the corner of the penalty area, firing a shot towards the top corner that was not far off target.
Conor Gough was required to make his first save of the evening on 17 minutes when the ball was played in from the right by Matt Blake for strike partner Leon Ottley-Gooch. The forward hit a powerful shot on target but was denied by a brilliant save by Gough who turned the ball behind for a corner with his left leg.
Gough was called into action again on 23 minutes when defender Joe Jefford placed a shot from 20 yards towards the bottom corner. This time Gough dived low to his left to keep the ball out, failing to hold onto it but surviving the danger.
Having been under pressure for most of the opening phase of the match Canvey created their first genuine chance on 29 minutes when Jack Simmons dribbled in from the right wing. Simmons shot low across goal which Nick Eyre pushed out, but only as far as a yellow shirt. The ball was clipped over to the back post for Mitchell Gilbey who unleashed an overhead kick from close range which landed on the roof of the net.
Leiston should have taken the lead on 43 minutes when a cross was played in from the right. The ball avoided one player unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box but found left back Seb Dunbar also unmarked at the back post. Dunbar struck a first time shot which looked to have gone in, only for the defender to put his hands on his head to indicate that his effort had in fact been driven into the side netting.
The final chance of the first half came in the only minute of stoppage time that referee Neil West had added on. Marlon Agyakwa played a pass for Mitchell Gilbey to run onto but his shot from 18 yards was saved low down by Nick Eyre.
With the scores level at the break Leiston started the second half much in the same way as they had started the first. Byron Lawrence brought the ball in from the right less than two minutes after the restart but fired his shot across goal high and wide of the top corner when well placed.
A minute later Canvey were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Leiston box after Martin Tuohy received a shove in the back. Marlon Agyakwa stepped up but could only fire his shot into the wall.
Canvey eventually broke the deadlock on 58 minutes in spectacular fashion when former-Leiston winger Jack Simmons collected the ball just inside the Leiston half, dribbled until 20-yards from goal before unleashing a swerving shot straight down the middle of the goal which bamboozled Nick Eyre and flew high into the net.
The visitors had an opportunity to equalise on 73 minutes when the ball was worked to Matt Blake inside the box, but his shot from a tight angle was driven into the side netting.
When the equaliser did come, it was an absolute stunner than made Simmons’ earlier strike seem like a tap in. Byron Lawrence collected the ball just inside the Canvey ran it until 30 yards from goal under pressure from Harrison Chatting before smashing an unstoppable effort into the top corner leaving Conor Gough with no chance.
Canvey responded immediately when the ball was played into Jack Simmons inside the area. This time the winger shot across goal and past Nick Eyre into the far side of the goal to put his side back in front less than sixty seconds having been pegged back.
As the match ticked into four minutes of injury time nobody could have predicted the events that were about to unfold.
Firstly, after a spell of pressure, a corner as sent over and stabbed home from close range by Leiston captain Tom Bullard to draw his side level once again.
On 93 minutes Leiston were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area with the prolific Christy Finch standing over the ball. Finch got his shot over the wall and back down again but Conor Gough was able to keep it out diving low to his left.
It looked as though any further late drama had been avoided, but Leiston had other ideas. Canvey failed to get rid of a ball effectively in the left back position, eventually scuffing it straight to an opposition player who played it in field to Byron Lawrence.
Lawrence was full of confidence having scored a blinder earlier in the game and chanced his arm again from distance. This time the shot was at a saveable height but went straight through Conor Gough and into the back of the net to earn the Suffolk side back to back wins to start the new season.
Match Highlights by Andy Wilkins
Danny Heale Post-Match Interview