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Match Report
Ryman Premier League - 2016/2017
Canvey Island 1
OG (76)
Folkestone Invicta 3
I. Draycott (26), M. Cornwell (33), M. Cornwell (90)

Canvey Island’s feint chance of survival took a potentially lethal blow on Saturday, losing 3-1 to Folkestone Invicta at The Frost Financial Stadium.

Manager Danny Heale kept the same starting XI that drew 1-1 away to Burgess Hill Town on Tuesday night. The visitors meanwhile started with eight players who were involved in the reverse league fixture earlier in the season which they won 6-0.

Folkestone had the first shot on goal after only three minutes when a run down the right from Callum Davies saw him put a ball into the box which found Joe Taylor. The forward laid possession off for winger Phil Starkey, but his low shot was straight at Conor Gough who pulled off the save.

The match settled down after this early chance, with the next opportunity coming on 21 minutes when the ball was played into Mitchell Gilbey 25 yards from goal. Gilbey ran to the edge of the area and pulled the trigger, but under pressure from a defender he could only steer his shot into the side netting.

They had an even better chance two minutes later when George Sykes played a neat through ball for strike partner Simon Thomas to run onto. The forward struck a powerful left footed shot which goalkeeper Tim Roberts stuck out his left hand to tip over while rooted to the spot.

The visitors took the lead on 26 minutes when they were awarded a free kick in a central position 30 yards from goal. Ian Draycott stepped up and curled an accurate right footed shot around the wall and past a despairing Conor Gough who was scrambling across goal to his left.

It was nearly 2-0 three minutes later when a chip into the area was brought under control Jordan Wright on the corner of the six-yard box. He struck a low right-footed shot which seemed destined for the bottom corner until George Allen made a crucial block to put the ball behind for a corner.

The lead was doubled on 33 minutes when Jordan Wright got to the touchline on the right wing before squaring to the near post where Miles Cornwell was on hand to flick home.

Canvey were awarded a free kick in a similar position to Draycott’s opening goal on 42 minutes when George Sykes and Ashley Dumas stood over. It was Sykes who ended up taking the shot, getting the ball up and over the wall and forcing Tim Roberts into a good save diving to his left.

The Gulls squandered a golden opportunity to pull a goal back before the break a minute later when a ball from deep on the left found a well-timed run from Mitchell Gilbey. The midfielder rounded the keeper, but with the whole target to aim for he shot straight at the Invicta captain Liam Friend on the line who made a goal saving block with his left foot.

Folkestone had a similar chance soon afterwards when a long ball forwards released Ian Draycott in behind the Canvey defence. Conor Gough came off his line, and although Draycott tapped it around the big keeper, in doing so he was forced into a wide position. Fellow striker Joe Taylor was in a good position with an open goal to aim for, but Draycott’s cross from the right just eluded him.

The second half by contrast was a quiet affair until the 76th minute when Canvey were handed a lifeline in fortuitous circumstances. An attempted through ball caught goalkeeper Tim Roberts in a moment of uncertainty, initially coming out of his area before decided to retreat back in.

However, in doing so he failed to hold onto the ball, instead managing to palm it towards his own goal. Jay Curran set off in pursuit of the loose ball, and he put enough pressure on Liam Friend to force the Invicta skipper to slot into his own net.

The goal sparked Canvey into life, but despite forcing several corners they failed to test Tim Roberts again. The closest they came was on 86 minutes when an excellent flick on header from Simon Thomas found the run of Jay Curran, but his shot from the edge of the area across goal went a yard wide.

Folkestone secured the points in the first of five additional minutes at the end of the second half. Canvey had thrown bodies forward in search of an equaliser, but in doing so left themselves short in defence. Miles Cornwell collected possession in acres of space on the left, driving into the area but having he ball taken away from him at his feet by Conor Gough.

However, the keeper wasn’t able to hold onto possession and Cornwell was able to tap into an empty net for his second of the afternoon.

Photo: Holly Allison

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts