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Match Report
Ryman Premier League - 2016/2017
Staines Town 1
M. Bettamer (8)
Canvey Island 1
OG (64)

A strong second half performance ensured Canvey Island left Wheatsheaf Park with a point, drawing 1-1 against Staines Town in the April sunshine.

The Gulls were fortunate to only trail by one goal at the break but picked up their performance after the break to record what could be a vital point in the fight against relegation.

Manager Danny Heale named an unchanged side from the one that beat Harrow Borough a week earlier, while Swans boss Johnson Hippolyte selected former-Gulls player Tyrell Miller-Rodney at right back.

The home side created the first chance of the match after only three minute when Conor Gough was forced to concede a throw following a long ball over the Canvey defence. Mohamed Bettamer got the better of Ashley Dumas from the throw, sending over a good cross from the right which Bayley Brown met with a diving header at the near post which went over.

Staines then took the lead in the eighth minute when Max Worsfold delivered a low cross from the left wing which went all the way across goal before being slide high into the net by Mohamed Bettamer.

It should have been 2-0 soon afterwards when Adrian Clifton got to the touchline before chipping a cross over from inside the area on the left. Clifton’s ball looped over Conor Gough and landed on the head of Jonathan Hippolyte, but from point blank range the forward nodded a yard over the crossbar.

On 24 minutes John Mbamarah picked up a yellow card after fouling Jonathan Hippolyte as he attempted to break into the area. Mohamed Bettamer stood over the free kick, playing a clever cross field ball for Bayley Brown to strike. Brown got a good connection with his shot but directed is a few yards wide of the top corner.

Canvey had to wait until the 35th minute for their first shot on target when Adrian Clifton fouled Marlon Agyakwa in a central position 30 yards from goal. Ryan Blackman got the free kick over the wall and back down again, but his effort was straight at goalkeeper Jack Turner who made a comfortable save.

Staines were soon back on the attack, forcing Conor Gough into two good saves in as many minutes which both involved the influential Mohamed Bettamer.

On 39 minutes Bettamer ran at the Canvey defence, playing a good through ball to his left for Adrian Clifton to run onto. Clifton broke into the box but Conor Gough did well to come off his line and smother the shot.

Soon afterwards Bettamer attempted to catch Gough out with a shot towards the bottom corner from 30 yards, but this time the Canvey custodian flung himself to his left to keep the deficit to one goal going into half time.

The Gulls did create a chance to equalise as the match entered first half injury time, but Simon Thomas’ header from a Ryan Blackman corner was straight at Jack Turner who produced a routine save.

The hosts were soon back on the attack after the start of the second half, and unsurprisingly Mohamed Bettamer was the man to cause the danger. A switched ball from deep on the left released the striker into the area, but once again Gough did well to come off his line and smother the shot.

The danger wasn’t over however as the loose ball fell to Jonathan Hippolyte on the edge of the area, but a combination of John Mbamarah and substitute Gabby Adelowo ensured his placed shot was kept out inside the six-yard box with Gough out of his goal.

After this early scare Canvey settled into their task more than at any stage of the game. On 53 minutes George Sykes tried to curl a right-footed shot into the far corner, with goalkeeper Jack Turner doing well to save one-handed diving to his left.

Four minutes later Mohamed Bettamer came within inches of doubling his tally for the afternoon with Staines were awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal and slightly to the left. Bettamer struck the deadball right-footed which hit the side netting after looking destined for top corner.

This near miss didn’t deter Canvey from going back on the attack, and after near misses from George Sykes and Mitchell Gilbey they drew level. Ryan Blackman’s excellent free kick from the left into the area caused panic, with the ball eventually being forced over the line just inside the post by Adrian Clifton for an own goal.

Substitute Tom Collins had a great chance to restore Staines’ lead on 79 minutes when Mohamed Bettamer sent over a low cross from the right. Collins made a good connection but Conor Gough flung up his right hand to turn the ball over the bar with a superb save.

The final ten minutes were a nervy affair with both teams having plenty of possession inside their opponent’s half. Canvey’s best chance came on 81 minutes when George Sykes nodded the ball down for strike partner Simon Thomas inside the area, but his powerful goalbound effort was blocked by ex-Gull Tyrell Miller-Rodney.

However, in the end both teams defended resolutely to ensure a deserved share of the spoils.

Photo: David Ayling

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts