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Match Report
Ryman Premier League - 2016/2017
Wingate & Finchley 1
B. Pattie (62)
Canvey Island 2
G. Sykes (9), G. Sykes (41)

Canvey Island produced a gritty display to beat high-flying Wingate & Finchley 2-1 at The Maurice Rebak Stadium on Saturday.

The Gulls finished the match with nine men but showed great determination to hold on for their second with in succession.

Manager Danny Heale made two changes from the side that beat Burgess Hill Town a week earlier, recalling George Allen after injury and Frankie Merrifield after he missed the previous match to attend the birth of his child. Jake Pitty held his position at right back meaning that Gabby Adelowo dropped to the bench, while Marlon Agyakwa made way in midfield.

The home side had a good chance to open the scoring after only three minutes following some uncertain defending from the Gulls. Having failed to clear their lines effectively, the ball was eventually hooked to the edge of the area and found Ashley Dumas.

Dumas chested it back into the box, but in doing so gave possession to Ben Pattie six yards from goal. However, the forward’s goalbound shot deflected off George Allen for a corner.

Canvey took the lead on nine minutes thanks to a superb solo effort from George Sykes. The striker set off on a run 10 yards inside the Wingate half, getting past two defenders and bursting into the area. His first shot was blocked a defender who had gone to ground, but the rebound fell perfectly for Sykes to slam home at the second time of asking.

Wingate came close to an equaliser on 23 minutes after Ashley Dumas conceded a free kick out on the right wing level with the edge of box. Ben Pattie curled the dead ball into the box which eluded everyone and was extremely close to sneaking in at the far post.

Pattie did hit the target five minutes later when he stood over a free kick in a central position 25 yards from goal after a foul by Frankie Merrifield which earned him a booking. Pattie curled the ball towards goal with his left foot, but Conor Gough was able to make a comfortable save shuffling to his left.

On 33 minutes a ball into the box from deep on the left wing by full back Tanasheh Abrahams was headed towards his own goal by captain Ryan Blackman. Conor Gough was rooted to the spot, but fortunately the ball went a yard wide of the post for a corner.

Canvey doubled their lead in route one fashion four minutes before the end of the first half. A long ball forward found George Sykes who out muscled Luke Ifil before coolly slotting in his second of the afternoon with only Shane Gore to beat.

Leading 2-0 at half time, the Gulls had the first chance of the second half when a dangerous ball was dinked in towards goal. Simon Thomas rose well and beat goalkeeper Shane Gore in the air, but his header was cleared off the line by a defender.

Canvey were looking comfortable in the opening quarter of an hour of the second half before gifting the home side a route back into the match on 62 minutes. A poor kick from Conor Gough went straight to Ben Pattie who raced through on goal before scoring one-on-one from the edge of the area.

Gough redeemed himself four minutes later when defender Sean Cronin found himself with the ball at his feet inside the area. Cronin side stepped Simon Thomas before unleashing a powerful left footed shot which Gough did brilliantly to keep out.

Up the other end, a clever flick by George Sykes released him in behind a defender and allowed him a run at goal on 72 minutes. With another defender to beat, Sykes attempted to slide in Mitchell Gilbey had raced in from the right wing, but a well-timed sliding tackle by Tanasheh Abrahams put the ball behind for a corner.

Danny Heale made a double change with ten minutes remaining, replacing Mitchell Gilbey and Simon Thomas with Harrison Chatting and Marlon Agyakwa.

Wingate had a golden opportunity to level the scores on 82 minutes when they were awarded a free kick out on the right wing. Ben Pattie delivered another excellent ball into the area which found Sean Cronin at the back post, but his shot from close range went across goal and wide.

A minute later George Sykes steered a shot from a tight angle into the side netting. It looked as though the ball had gone straight out but referee Jason Richardson awarded the corner.

Both sides were reduced to ten men on 86 minutes when substitutes Harrison Chatting and Wilson Figueira became involved in an altercation off the pitch which saw both players deservedly receive straight red cards.

A minimum of six additional minutes were added on at the end of the match, and soon after the board had gone up Jake Pitty went down injured and was forced to leave the pitch on a stretcher. Danny Heale had made all of his substitutions meaning that his side had to finish the match with nine men.

Wingate pushed forwards in search of an equaliser and nearly got it with the last kick of the ball. The ball was worked across goal from the right and eventually found Tommy Tejan-Sie who had drifted in from the left wing. He struck a low shot across goal which missed the target by a matter of inches to ensure Canvey would leave with a vital three points.

Photo: David Ayling

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts