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Match Report
Ryman Premier League - 2016/2017
Canvey Island 1
S. Sheehan (87)
Dulwich Hamlet 0

An 87th minute header from Steve Sheehan earned Canvey Island a 1-0 victory against Dulwich Hamlet at The Frost Financial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Manager Danny Heale brought Sheehan back into the side at centre half in place of John Mbamarah after missing Monday’s trip to Harlow Town, with Jake Pitty also coming in to replace the suspended Tambeson Eyong.

Midfielder Alfred Mugabo was also included in the starting XI against his parent club having joined the Gulls on loan from the South London outfit.

After a quiet opening to the match Dulwich had the first chance to open the scoring on 23 minutes when Ibra Sekajja connected with an overhead kick from a corner. The former-Crystal Palace first teamer hit the target but his effort was kept out by the face of Jake Pitty.

Winger Nyren Clunis had a fierce drive from the right a minute later, but his well struck effort went narrowly wide with Lewis Moore scrambling across to cover his post.

Canvey’s first opportunity came in the 25th minute when George Sykes collected the ball in the centre circle and set off on a run towards goal. Sykes beat two defenders but his right-footed shot was saved by the legs of goalkeeper Preston Edwards and turned behind for a corner.

There was a change of official on the half hour mark when referee Peter Cruise picked up a calf injury. Marcin Indyk took over in the middle and Canvey’s backroom staff man Les Wren, a qualified official of over 30 years, took over on the line.

Dulwich should have taken the lead on 42 minutes when striker Ashley Carew broke into the area, getting the better of Steve Sheehan and then Ryan Blackman. However, with a clear sight of goal Carew shot across goal and wide to waste a golden opportunity to score his seventh goal of the campaign.

The visitors had further chances in first half injury time. First, former-Southend United forward Gavin Tomlin raced in behind the Gulls defence and past Lewis Moore, but the keeper did enough to force him wide where the danger was snuffed out by Ashley Dumas.

Ibra Sekajja then has a low shot from the edge of the area on the right which Lewis Moore did well to dive to his right and prevent from creeping in at his near post.

The second half was pretty much one way traffic, with Dulwich spending long spells on the Canvey half and the Gulls defending resolutely.

On 57 minutes a counter attack saw Ashley Carew break down the left, sending over a dangerous low cross with two attackers lying in wait. However, Lewis Moore managed the get a hand to the cross before it could be turned home, picking himself up to grasp the ball at the feet of Gavin Tomlin.

The lively Ibra Sekajja had another opportunity on 63 minutes when he ran onto a through ball and raced towards goal, but once again Lewis Moore was equal to the shot and kept Sekajja’s shot out.

Chances were at a premium for the home side, but they had a great one on 77 minutes when George Sykes took advantage of some complacency from Matt Drage to steal possession and run through clear on goal. Sykes bore down on Preston Edwards’ goal, shooting high but seeing the keeper palm the ball over the bar for a corner.

It looked as though the pressure had finally told on 84 minutes when Marc Weatherstone seemed to have turned home at the back post from a free kick. However, Steve Sheehan was on hand to produce a vital goal line clearance to keep Canvey in the game.

Just as Sheehan looked to have salvaged a point for his side, three minutes later he turned out to earn them all three. An 87th minute free kick from Ashley Dumas on the right wing was met by a superb header from Sheehan who rose high and powered the ball past Preston Edwards. Sheehan became a father on Monday and marked his late goal with the classic rocking baby celebration.

Dulwich piled forward in search of an equaliser, but Canvey’s normally leaky defence held firm to claim a smash and grab victory and complete a league double against one of the strongest sides in the division.

Photo: Holly Allison

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts