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Match Report
Ryman Premier League - 2016/2017
Harlow Town 2
A. Read (37), K. Da_Costa (44)
Canvey Island 2
G. Sykes (47), R. Blackman (55)

Canvey Island demonstrated their fighting spirit for the second time in three days, coming back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 away to Harlow Town on Monday.

Playing on a 3G pitch for the second game in succession, the Gulls scored twice early in the second half to earn a point that lifts them off of the foot of the table.

Manager Danny Heale made several changes from the side that drew 1-1 away to AFC Sudbury on Saturday, bringing in Alfred Mugabo and Tayshan Hayden-Smith in place of Jake Pitty and Harrison Chatting. John Mbamarah also came in for Steve Sheehan who became a father earlier in the day.

Harlow started well and had a burst of three good chances in as many minutes, starting in the ninth minute when former-Canvey midfielder Mario Noto crossed from the left wing and found the head of Bamba Ngamb. The winger drove a powerful header towards goal which rattled the crossbar before being cleared to safety.

Striker Fabian Simms had the ball in the net for the Hawks less than 60 seconds later, but his effort was ruled out by referee Daniel Cook after a collision with goalkeeper Lewis Moore.

Moore was involved again soon afterwards when Bamba Ngamb was played through on goal, but this time his effort was straight at the Canvey keeper who saved into his chest.

The game then quietened down until the 37th minute when Harlow took the lead in the most straight forward of fashions. A long punt forwards from goalkeeper David Hughes released prolific goalscorer Alex Read who got in behind Jahmal Howlett-Mundle and did what he does best from just inside the box.

Canvey nearly responded immediately when George Sykes got his head to a corner at the back post, nodding back across goal. David Hughes managed to pull off a half save, taking some pace off the header but not being able to prevent it continuing towards goal. However, defender Layne Eadie was on hand to clear off the line to preserve the Hawks advantage.

Harlow were back on top soon after, with Layne Eadie having a shot from a tight angle saved by Lewis Moore and Bamba Ngamb beating Moore to a through ball but seeing his lobbed effort cleared inside the six-yard box by the retreating Ashley Dumas.

The pressure told with a minute of normal time remaining in the first half when the ball was played into Alex Read inside the area. Read played a delightful pass for Khale Da Costa to latch onto and run through the Gulls defence, finding the bottom corner to double the Hawks advantage.

Danny Heale made two changes at half time in an attempt to get back into the match, introducing Harrison Chatting and Martin Tuohy in place of Alfred Mugabo and Callum Ibe.

Get back into the game Canvey did two minutes into the restart when a ball was played into George Sykes from the left wing. Sykes beat a defender before rifling a shot across goal and into the top corner leaving David Hughes with no chance.

Frankie Merrifield then came inches wide of bringing parity to the scores on 50 minutes when he connected with a Harrison Chatting corner, heading across goal and a whisker wide of the far post.

The scores were level five minutes later when Ryan Blackman shot from a similar area as Sykes had earlier in the half, nearly breaking the net with a fierce shot to bag his second goal in as many matches.

The rest of the half was an end to end affair with both sides having chances to claim all three points, with Canvey’s best opportunities late on.

With a minute of normal time remaining when a ball over the top released Martin Tuohy to the left of goal, but the striker scooped his effort wide under pressure from former Premier League defender.

George Sykes then set of on a similar run to the one that saw him score earlier in the half in the 96th minute, but this time his right-footed shot curled over the bar.

The final chance of the match came moments before the referee sounded the full-time whistle. A corner was headed goalwards by Fabian Simms but nodded off the line by Tambeson Eyong.

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts