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Match Report
Bostik North - 2017/2018
Waltham Abbey 1
C. Assombalonga (67)
Canvey Island 2
F. Merrifield (88), C. Cole (94)

Canvey Island came back from a goal down on 88 minutes to win 2-1 in an action-packed Bostik North match against Waltham Abbey at Capershotts on Saturday.

The Gulls missed a penalty when 1-0 down but threw bodies forward in the closing stages to seal a dramatic comeback win.

Manager Danny Heale handed a debut to striker Charlie Cole who joined on loan from Billericay Town earlier in the week.

The first chance of the afternoon came in the ninth minute with a move that started with Canvey defending following a spell of Waltham Abbey pressure. Ashley Dumas intercepted a cross and wasted no time in launching a long ball forwards which was brilliantly brought under control by George Sykes just inside the Abbey half on the left wing.

Sykes’ touch set him up for a run at goal, travelling infield until 20 yards from goal before sliding through a pass for new strike partner Charlie Cole. The forward shot left-footed across goal which went a yard wide of the far post.

Four minutes later Sam Collins was brought down on the right wing by Rimmel Daniel as he was exiting the penalty area. The Gulls wanted a penalty but referee Joshua Crofts and his assistant adjudged the contact to be just outside the box.

The free kick rattled around in the area before being headed towards goal by Jerrome Sobers from close range which Lewis Lockyer saved.

Sykes and Cole linked up well again on 16 minutes when Sykes flicked a header into the debutant’s path. Cole rounded the keeper and hit the target, but Spencer Harrison was on hand to keep the shot out inside the six yard box.

Harrison was called into action again on 27 minutes when George Sykes brought a header from Jerrome Sobers under control with an exquisite touch inside the area. Sykes looked set to score a certain goal but Harrison did brilliantly to block the shot from point blank range.

Canvey had the ball in the net on six minutes later when George Sykes hooked the ball into the top corner following a free kick from deep on the left wing. However, the whistle had already gone for a push on a defender.

On 35 minutes Jake Pitty sent over an excellent cross from the right which found the head of Sykes at the near post, but his effort across goal towards the top corner went over the bar.

The chances kept coming for the Gulls, with Sam Collins hitting a low drive from 25 yards which skidded off the now slippery surface and went inches wide of the upright with goalkeeper Lewis Lockyer diving full stretch to his left.

Canvey’s nearly paid the price for their failure to convert any of their numerous chances on the stroke on half time when Christian Assombalonga went through on goal. The forward ran to the edge of the area but was denied by a tremendous save from Henry Newcombe who had decisively rushed off his line to shut down the shot.

With the scores level at the break, the home side created a good chance six minutes into the second half. Michael Spencer received possession from Christian Assombalonga on the edge of the area with his back to goal, managing to turn and get his shot off which deflected off of Jerrome Sobers and into the side netting for a corner.

There was a long stoppage soon after when Assombalonga suffered a head injury which required lengthy treatment on the pitch.

When he re-entered the game he did so like a man possessed. On 65 minutes he hit a superb shot from 30 yards which was destined for the top corner before Henry Newcombe flung himself skywards and tipped it over to concede a corner.

He then found the back of the net two minutes later when Aron Gordon latched onto a ball down the left in behind Jake Pitty. Gordon pulled the trigger but Henry Newcombe produced another fine save, this time sticking out his left hand.

The ball remained active and a follow up shot was brilliantly blocked on the line by Jerrome Sobers. However, at the ball finally went in at the third time of asking as Assombalonga drilled his shot into the bottom corner.

Having fallen behind Canvey were awarded a penalty on 70 minutes after a defender was deemed to have handled the ball inside the box following a header from Charlie Cole. George Sykes stepped up but saw his spot kick saved by Lewis Lockyer diving to his right.

Defender Jerrome Sobers went off injured three minutes later, being replaced by Ryan Charles as manager Danny Heale went for broke.

The equaliser nearly came on 78 minutes when George Sykes drove into the area from the left, but rather than shoot he opted to square for Frankie Merrifield. He did manage to get his shot off, but for the third time in the match Spencer Harrison made a vital clearance from inside the six yard box.

Canvey piled the pressure on for the remainder of the match which finally told with two of the regulation 90 minutes remaining. George Craddock unleashed a powerful shot from 20 yards which rattled the underside of the crossbar and bounced down on the line without crossing. However, Frankie Merrifield reacted quickest and nodded in from close range to draw the Gulls level.

Following the injury to Assombalonga earlier in the match, the referee added eight additional minutes on at the end of the second half.

Canvey spent injury time camped in the Waltham Abbey half, scoring the winning goal half way through the allocated added time. Frankie Merrifield found Ryan Charles down the right wing who turned Rimmel Daniel inside out as he burst into the box.

Charles played a low ball across the face of goal which Charlie Cole took a touch to bring under control before poking home for a match winning debut strike.

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts