The hosts levelled in the 90th minute, keeping up their recent record of scoring late goals against Canvey in home matches.
Manager Danny Heale’s team selection was difficult to predict and unlike anything seen in pre-season.
George Sykes was selected as a loan striker which meant that last season’s top goalscorer Martin Tuohy was relegated to the substitutes bench. Ryan O’Rawe partnered Jack Lampe in central defence with Luis Morrison covering at right back following an injury to Jake Pitty.
The first chance of the match came in 11th minute and was created by the hosts. Right back Micky Parcell got down the wing and sent over a low cross which found Tayshan Hayden-Smith. The ponytail-sporting attacker shot first time and made a good connection, but his effort was straight at Conor Gough who made the save.
Canvey’s first attack of note came five minutes later when Harrison Chatting showed good alertness to steal possession on the half way line. Chatting raced down the left wing and crossed into the area but was unable to pick out a teammate.
George Sykes was nearly presented with a goal on 18 minutes when he chased a ball heading back to Enfield Town’s former-England C international goalkeeper Nathan McDonald. Under pressure the keeper kicked the ball onto defender Stan Muguo, but unfortunately for the Gulls Sykes was unable to get to the loose ball to steer it into an empty net.
Sykes did manage to get a shot on target on 24 minutes after he’d latched onto an excellent ball over the top from captain Lee O’Leary. Sykes lobbed the ball goalwards from 20 yards, high over Nathan McDonald but not with enough power to stop the keeper from making a one-handed save on the line.
George Sykes was involved again three minutes later when he robbed defender Curtis Ujah of possession 35-yards from goal. Sykes got his head down and ran into the area, but to his credit Ujah recovered well to make a crucial tackle to make up for his earlier lack of awareness.
Canvey were awarded their first corner of the afternoon on 37 minutes which Mitchell Gilbey stood over. A well worked set piece saw the ball played back to Harrison Chatting who whipped in a cross from the right wing which Nathan McDonald was able to punch off of the head of Ryan O’Rawe. The punch wasn’t great and went backwards to Marlon Agyakwa, but his header from a tight angle hit the side netting.
On 41 minutes Harrison Chatting dribbled in from the right wing, taking the ball past a couple of defenders as he made his way across the 18-yard box. Having worked his way into a central position he opted to shoot, but his effort was under hit and allowed McDonald to make a straight forward stop.
Enfield Town striker Harry Ottoway had been quiet for most of the opening half but came close to opening the scoring on 41 minutes. A cross from the right found Ottoway at the back post, but Conor Gough did very well to spread himself and pull off the save.
There was still time for Canvey to create two further goalscoring opportunities as the match ticked into the 45th minute. Firstly Marlon Agyakwa saw a free kick eventually headed out by Micky Parcell but only as far as Harrison Chatting who volleyed a yard or so wide from 25 yards. Video
Soon afterwards Jack Simmons attempted a cross from the right wing which caught a deflection and looped up towards goal. However, the deflection didn’t quite put the ball out of the reach of Nathan McDonald who plucked it out of the air on its way to goal.
With the two teams deadlocked at the break, the hosts had a shout for a penalty eight minutes into second half with a cross came in from the right wing. The ball seemed to strike the arm of Ashley Dumas inside the area, although the contact was certainly not deliberate and play was rightly allowed to continue.
On 65 minutes Billy Crook twisted and turned his way into the penalty area but was met with a well-timed tackle from Jack Lampe. The corner was headed out but only as far as Kelvin Bossman who thumped a shot goalwards which struck the back of teammate Curtis Ujah and flew over the bar for a goal kick. Video
Two minutes later Bossman sent over a low cross from the right wing for strike partner Harry Ottoway who flicked the ball goalwards but straight at Conor Gough to make a routine save.
Canvey were awarded a penalty on 73 minutes after a defensive error allowed George Sykes a run at goal. Sykes was fouled by Town captain Curtis Ujah on what looked to be the edge of the area, but the referee deemed the contact to be inside the box and awarded a penalty. He later went to consult with his assistant but stuck with his original decision.
George Sykes stepped up but saw his penalty turned behind for a corner by Nathan McDonald who had taken several steps off of his line before diving to his right. Video
Canvey would have wanted to put the disappointment of this penalty miss behind him as quickly as possible, but probably didn’t expect to do so less than sixty seconds later as he gave Canvey lead. The corner was not dealt with by the Town defence and Ryan O’Rawe hooked the ball home from close range to score on his debut for the club.
The home side equalised as the match entered the 90th minute through midfielder Tyler Campbell after substitute Steve Sheehan had conceded a free kick. Billy Crook delivered the ball to the back post which was headed on target but kept out thanks to a good save from Conor Gough.
Gough however couldn’t hold onto the ball and Campbell was on hand so slam the ball into the top corner from close range. Video
Having equalised late on the home side pushed hard for a winner, but Canvey held on for a deserved point which on another day could have been all three.
Danny Heale Post-Match Interview