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Match Report
Ryman Premier League - 2016/2017
Merstham 0
Canvey Island 3
F. Merrifield (27), G. Sykes (56), F. Merrifield (63)

Canvey Island made it five wins in a row with a 3-0 success away to ten man Merstham at Moatside on Saturday afternoon.

The victory sees the Gulls climb to 16th in the table as their remarkable fight back against the threat of relegation continues.

Manager Danny Heale made one change from the side that beat Grays Athletic a week earlier, bringing in Omarr Lawson in place of Manny Oyeleke whose one month loan from Aldershot Town had expired.

The home side created the first chance of the afternoon on seven minutes when Dan Hector cut inside Gabby Adelowo on the left wing. Hector looked up from the edge of the box and struck an excellent shot across goal towards the top corner which sailed inches wide.

Canvey’s had to wait until the 18th minute to register their first shot on target after a throw from the right was flicked on by the head of Simon Thomas for strike partner George Sykes. The forward connected with a sweet volley which was heading in until being headed clear by defender Marc Okoye.

The Gulls came close again on 23 minutes when the ball was played through for Omarr Lawson inside the area to the left of goal. Lawson played a good ball across the face of goal which Simon Thomas came very close to turning home with an outstretched right leg.

Merstham were reduced to ten men on 25 minutes when Mark Okoye was shown his second yellow card followed quickly by a red. Okoye fouled George Sykes as he attempted to break towards goal 35 yards from goal having committed an almost identical foul on the same man four minutes earlier.

Canvey pressed home their man advantage almost immediately when Frankie Merrifield burst into the area from the left on 27 minutes, turning inside a defender before placing a shot across goal and into the bottom corner to score his second goal of the campaign.

It could have been 2-0 on 34 minutes when a through ball released Simon Thomas. The tall striker got to the edge of the area with only goalkeeper Josh Smith to beat, but as he was about to pull the trigger the ball caught a cruel bobble which ensured Thomas’ shot went well wide.

Frankie Merrifield was involved again two minutes later when he played a superb ball through the Merstham defence from the edge of the area for George Sykes to run onto. Sykes struck a low shot from the left which Josh Smith was able to turn behind with his legs.

The Moatsiders had an opportunity to level the scores on the stroke of half with when muscular forward Omar Folkes unleashed a shot from 20 yards towards the bottom corner. However, goalkeeper Conor Gough was equal to Folkes’ effort, diving low to his left to tip the ball behind for a corner.

Leading 1-0 at half time, Canvey flew out of the traps in the second half and created several chances in the opening the ten minutes. George Sykes had a shot from point blank range hit a defender before being saved on 50 minutes before Simon Thomas had a strike across goal from the right beat the keeper but kept out by a defender a minute later.

On 52 minutes Omarr Lawson showed tremendous skill to jink his way past two defenders on the edge of the area, breaking into the box leaving him with only Josh Smith to beat. However, with the goal at his mercy Lawson steered his shot wide of the bottom corner from 12 yards.

The pressure finally told on 56 minutes when substitute Jake Pitty played a good ball down the right wing which Simon Thomas did well to hold up. Thomas played the ball infield and found the run of George Sykes who in turn produced a marvellous first touch to take him past a defender and into the area before slotting across goal and into the bottom corner.

The points were effectively sealed seven minutes later when George Sykes broke through down the right wing just inside the Merstham half. Sykes bore down on goal before unselfishly squaring from Frankie Merrifield who smashed home his second of the afternoon and his third in two matches.

The final half hour was a quiet affair in contrast as Canvey controlled the ball and denied the home side a goal which would have given them a glimmer of hope. The closest they came was on 85 minutes when Alex Addai got the better of defenders George Allen and John Mbamarah, but having driven into the area his shot was well saved by Conor Gough.