In a match not lacking in controversy, the Gulls slipped back into their old habit of letting one goal change the complexion of the match and conceded twice late on to slip to defeat.
Ryan Blackman missed out through illness, with Mitchell Gilbey dropping to the bench for the same reason. Ashley Dumas came back into the team on the left wing with the rest of the side unchanged.
Canvey could have opened the scoring after only three minutes when a long ball forwards was brilliantly laid off by Martin Tuohy for his strike partner George Sykes. The forward collected possession on the edge of the area and ran into the box, but as he was about to shoot right back Aaron Goode put in a vital tackle to knock the ball behind for a corner.
Sykes had another good opportunity on 19 minutes from a corner which central defender John Mbamarah headed back across goal. Sykes brought the ball down out of the air with his right boot, managing to turn and hit the target with a low shot which Rob Tolfrey saved with his legs.
He was also involved on 40 minutes when he beat the offside trap down the left wing, running into the area before being tackled at the expense of a corner. The ball was played short to Ashley Dumas who chipped it into the area and onto the head of Sykes. His flick on went straight to Steve Sheehan at the back post but he was unable to make contact despite a lunging effort.
Canvey finally made their pressure count when they took the lead two minutes before the interval. K’s midfielder Aaron Lamont stood on the ball in the middle of the park, falling over and gifting possession to Alfred Mugabo. The midfielder advanced towards the K’s goal, eventually playing out Martin Tuohy on the right who sent over a low, inch perfect cross which George Sykes fired home from close range.
Kingstonian were reduced to ten men inside three minutes of the second half kicking off. Left back Bruce Hogg flew in with a late tackle on Ashley Dumas inside the centre circle. Referee Benjamin Knight seemed to give Hogg a yellow card followed by a red despite Hogg not having been booked earlier in the game. However, the tackle certainly warranted a straight red card so the right conclusion was reached.
Martin Tuohy had a chance to make the extra man count immediately when, after a couple of blocked shot, he found himself in possession on the edge of the area. With plenty of bodies between him and the goal, Tuohy intelligently opted to take the aerial route and curled a shot towards the top corner which didn’t miss by much.
The home side equalised in controversial circumstances through Ryan Moss on 65 minutes. Moss appeared to push over John Mbamarah, leaving him on the floor before running into the area and tucking the ball into the bottom corner. However, the assistant referee had flagged long before the ball had hit the back of the net for the foul by Moss.
The referee consulted with his assistant and decided to award the goal. In fairness, the man in the middle was closer to the incident than his colleague who was on the other side of the pitch, although the assistant’s side-on position may have given him a better view.
Having gotten back on level terms the K’s nearly took the lead on 83 minutes when Joe Turner burst into the area from the left despite a foul from Steve Sheehan. The referee played a good advantage to allow Turner to bear down on goal, forcing Lewis Moore into a good save diving low to his left to tip the ball behind. From the subsequent corner Jake Pitty headed inches over his own crossbar.
Kingstonian did go ahead on 86 minutes when a free kick from inside the centre circle was headed down by former-Canvey captain Lee O’Leary for the unmarked Ryan Moss to thump home his second from close range.
Canvey nearly equalised immediately from the kick off when George Sykes’ cross from the left was met with a glancing header from Martin Tuohy which left goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey rooted to the spot before hitting the post.
The K’s victory was sealed in the third of eleven additional minutes when the ball was switched from left to right on the counter attack and found Youssef Bamba. The winger drove infield and hit a low shot which Lewis Moore saved but couldn’t keep out, and Ryan Moss was on hand to complete his hattrick from point blank range.
Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts