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Match Report
Bostik North - 2017/2018
AFC Sudbury 1
A. Mills (87)
Canvey Island 1
G. Sykes (45)

Canvey Island kicked their 2017/18 Bostik North season off with a 1-1 draw away to AFC Sudbury on Saturday.

Before the match there was an emotional minute’s applause for former-AFC Sudbury youth player Zac Smith who sadly died in a car crash recently.

The first real action of the match came after five minutes when Steve Sheehan played a routine back pass to Conor Gough. The keeper opted to take a touch, but in doing so allowed the on rushing L’Heureux Menga to close down his clearance.

The much travelled forward got his foot to the ball, but fortunately for Gough the ball went behind for a goal kick.

After surviving an early scare Canvey began to assert themselves up the other end of the pitch.

On eight minutes a poor clearance was collected by James Walker 30 yards from goal, and he proceeded to advance up the pitch until reaching the edge of the area. Walker unleashed a shot which was hitting the target but instead struck the back of a defender.

Soon after Walker did well to retain possession while on the floor inside the Sudbury half, managing to get the ball out from under his feet for Ryan Charles. The winger ran powerfully to the touchline down the left, squaring low for George Sykes who narrowly missed connecting with an attempted flick.

Canvey hit the woodwork on the quarter of an hour mark when the ball was played into the area for James Walker to latch onto. The forward squared for his strike partner George Sykes at the front post who rattled the crossbar with his left foot from close range.

It was Sudbury’s turn to hit the frame of the goal ten minutes later when a good pass cut through the Canvey defence and released right back Tevan Allen inside the area. Allen had plenty of time and shot across goal from the right aiming for the bottom corner, but having beaten Conor Gough could only watch as the ball hit the face of the goalpost.

George Sykes showed that he hadn’t lost his eye for goal on 29 minutes when he pulled the trigger from 25 yards, forcing Paul Walker to pull off a good fingertip save above his head to concede a corner.

Canvey were nearly gifted a goal as the first half drew towards a close when a looping cross from deep on the right looked to be causing little danger. Goalkeeper Paul Walker called for his defence to leave it to him, but Tevan Allen ignored his shout and decided instead to chest the ball down inside the box.

Facing his own goal Allen had put himself into no man’s land, giving Ryan Charles the incentive he needed to slide in on the right back and win possession inside the six yard box. However, Charles couldn’t quite flick the ball home despite his best efforts.

It looked as though that would be that for the first half, but Canvey had other ideas. An excellent cross from the right wing from Mitchell Gilbey found George Sykes 10 yards from goal level with the near post, and he managed to score with a terrific right-footed volley.

By comparison the second half was a far less entertaining spectacle, with neither goalkeeper particularly busy.

On 51 minutes the a good through ball looked to have released L’Heureux Menga through on goal, but Elliott Warren did very well to stay with his man before poking behind for a corner.

A minute later Mitchell Gilbey cut in from the right up the other end, curling a shot towards goal with his left foot which Paul Walker comfortably saved.

It took until the 87th minute for anything other substitutions or yellow cards to happen when the hosts were awarded a contentious free kick on the edge of the area. Adam Mills stepped up and struck a low shot which deflected off the wall and into the bottom corner.

Callum Ibe did had a chance deep into injury time when he turned a defender 20 yards from goal and ran into the box, but he failed to pull the trigger and was dispossessed by the impressive Julian Smith.

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts