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Match Report
Bostik North - 2017/2018
Soham Town Rangers 2
G. Cohen (21), M. Allan (62)
Canvey Island 2
R. Charles (76), G. Sykes (85)

Canvey Island’s recent habit of staging late comebacks was evident again on Saturday, coming back from 2-0 down with ten men to draw 2-2 away to Soham Town Rangers.

Manager Danny Heale made one change from the side that beat Waltham Abbey a week earlier, bringing in centre back Elliott Warren in place of Jerrome Sobers who left the pitch injured last time out.

The opening quarter of an hour was fairly uneventful as both sides took their time to get used to the tricky conditions. Soham captain Lewis Endacott did well to prevent a Jake Pitty cross from finding George Sykes for a tap in on 10 minutes, while up the other end Henry Newcombe pulled off a smart save diving to his right to deny Lewis Clayton from 25 yards.

The hosts had a golden chance on 20 minutes when a low cross from the right by Joe Carden went under the foot of Gary Cohen. However, this allowed the ball to run straight into the path of Cohen’s strike partner Matt Allan, but perhaps not expecting the ball to get to him he scuffed his shot.

Soham Town took the lead a minute later when Gary Cohen met a Callum Russell corner with a good header. Henry Newcombe did well to get a hand to the ball diving high to his right but was unable to prevent it from finding the top corner.

Canvey rallied after the goal, creating a number of chances before the break. On 30 minutes Charlie Cole rose well to head towards goal ahead of goalkeeper Josh Pope following a right wing cross from Jake Pitty, but under pressure from a defender he put his effort over the bar.

Five minutes later a long ball into the box from the half way line from Ashley Dumas found Charlie Cole in behind the Soham defence, but he was unable to bring the ball under control with his first touch and it went out for a goal kick.

The closest Canvey came to an equaliser in the first half came on 36 minutes when a long ball was played up towards Charlie Cole. The on-loan forward tried to flick the ball on with his head but failed to make contact, but in doing so meant that George Sykes was onside a long way in behind the Soham rearguard.

Goalkeeper Josh Pope was decisive and came off his line to make an attempted clearance, but the ball ricocheted back off Sykes and headed towards goal before hitting the side netting.

Elliott Warren registered a shot on target on 39 minutes when he got his head to a George Craddock free kick from the left, but his effort was straight at Josh Pope who was able to make a comfortable save.

Trailing 1-0 at half time, Canvey spent plenty of time in the opening stages of the second half in the attacking third without forcing the keeper into a save.

They were left to rue this on 62 minutes when the home side doubled their advantage on the counter attack. A ball down the right found striker Matt Allan, and he showed great vision to spot Henry Newcombe slightly off his line. He chipped his shot over Newcombe, and despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball he wasn’t able to prevent it going in.

Things went from bad to worse immediately after as Canvey were reduced to ten men. As Soham celebrated their second goal, Newcombe became engaged in an altercation with Soham winger Callum Russell inside the goal, with the Canvey keeper headbutting his opponent and receiving a straight red card.

With no substitute goalkeeper on the bench, captain Sam Collins was the man to put on the gloves and take over in goal.

Manager Danny Heale responded by making a double substitution, replacing Charlie Cole and Teddy Nesbitt with Mitchell Gilbey and Ryan Charles. Both of these players had a positive impact on the game after coming on and seemed to give Canvey renewed confidence.

It was nearly game over on 69 minutes when Joe Carden had a goalbound shot after Canvey failed to clear their lines, but fortunately for the Gulls Carden’s shot hit teammate Gary Cohen before going over the bar.

Mitchell Gilbey came close twice soon afterwards, having a shot deflect narrowly wide before chasing down a lost cause and blocking Lewis Endacott’s clearance which nearly looped over Josh Pope and in.

Canvey pulled a goal back on 76 minutes when a corner was headed clear by Ashley Bankole back to the taker to be whipped back into the area. The cross found a crowd of players at the back post and was headed home by Ryan Charles.

This goal changed the match, with Soham dropping deep to protect their lead and in doing so inviting on pressure from the attack-minded Gulls.

On 80 minutes a trademark run into the area from Ryan Charles from the right ended with him squaring for Mitchell Gilbey at the near post, but his first time shot came off a defender before striking the base of the post.

George Sykes had a header cleared off the line from a corner on 84 minutes, but a minute later he went one better when he found the back of the net.

George Craddock struck a powerful shot from distance which Josh Pope saved but couldn’t hold, and George Sykes reacted quickest to tuck home the rebound.

Soham substitute Jack Mochalski had a rare attempt up the other end on 86 minutes, but his shot from 20 yards dipped just over Sam Collins’ crossbar.

However, the ball was soon back up the other end as Canvey pushed for a winner. In the first minute of injury time Ryan Charles cut in from the right and had a low shot towards the bottom corner saved by Josh Pope.

It felt as though the Gulls might get one final chance to pick up the three points, and this came on 94 minutes when Ashley Dumas received possession out on the left wing. Dumas was fouled but play was allowed to continue thanks to a good advantage from the referee. He whipped a cross into the near post for Mitchell Gilbey, but his sliding shot went over the bar from close range.

The final whistle sounded soon afterwards to bring to a close another entertaining game in what has already been a rollercoaster season for the Gulls.