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Match Report
Bostik North - 2017/2018
Canvey Island 3
G. Craddock (8), R. Charles (35), M. Gilbey (100)
AFC Sudbury 2
A. Carroll (17), O. Peters (91)

Canvey Island remained top of the Bostik North with an exciting 3-2 win against AFC Sudbury at a blustery Frost Hire Stadium on Saturday.

Manager Danny Heale was able to name the same starting XI that beat Witham Town 3-1 a week earlier.

The Gulls took the lead after only eight minutes when they were awarded a corner which Mitchell Gilbey swung in with his right foot. The ball bounced down inside the area and was struck towards goal by George Craddock, with his shot thumping the underside of the crossbar before bouncing down and back out.

Ryan Charles attempted to head home the loose ball from close range, but the assistant referee had already raised his flag to indicate that Craddock’s initial effort had crossed the line and a goal was awarded.

AFC Sudbury levelled the scores nine minutes later when they were awarded a corner of their own. George Craddock headed the corner away at the near post, but Joe Maybanks reclaimed possession on the right wing 20 yards from goal. Maybanks used the conditions to send over a perfect inswinging cross which was headed across goal into the bottom corner by Alfie Carroll.

Canvey regained their advantage on 35 minutes through another Mitchell Gilbey corner. This time Elliott Warren headed the ball towards goal which hit the defender on the post and fell perfectly for Ryan Charles to slide home from close range.

Leading 2-1 at the break, the Gulls started the second half well with the wind in their favour. Mitchell Gilbey had a stinging shot from 20 yards turned behind for a corner inside 60 seconds of the restart.

On 52 minutes a neat backheel from Sam Collins set up George Sykes on the edge of the area, but his goalbound shot hit the back of Alfie Carroll and behind for a corner.

The visitors should have equalised three minutes later when a low ball across the face of goal from right back Sam Mills found left back Jake Colclough in a great area, but his first time shot from close range went over the bar.

Canvey were soon back on the attack, with Mitchell Gilbey shooting over from close range after another of George Sykes’ shot had been blocked by Alfie Carroll.

On 61 minutes George Craddock played the ball into Mitchell Gilbey who was 18 yards out with his back to goal. Gilbey chested the ball down for strike partner George Sykes who broke into the area but had the ball stolen at his feet after some decisive goalkeeping from Paul Walker.

Six minutes later a cross from the right by Jake Pitty saw Walker come off his line in order to claim the ball ahead of Mitchell Gilbey. However, Walker failed to hold on, with the ball going through his hands and across goal before drifting narrowly wide.

The corner was whipped in and found the head of Ryan Charles, but from point blank range Walker produced a magnificent save to divert the ball over the bar for another corner.

George Sykes could have wrapped up the win on 74 minutes when he got his head to a Sam Collins chipped cross into the box, but he put his effort the wrong side of the upright when well placed.

On 76 minutes a mistake from Ashley Dumas saw the left back give possession back to Sudbury inside the Canvey half. The ball was played through to Ollie Dunlop to run clean through on goal, forcing Henry Newcombe to come off his line and produce a brave save at his feet.

The flag had already been raised for offside, but both Newcombe and Dunlop picked up injuries due to the collision. Newcombe had a cut above his eye which was able to be patched up but Dunlop would later be taken off after coming on as a sub originally.

Sykes had another header go agonisingly wide following a Frankie Merrifield cross as the match entered the first of eight additional minutes, and this miss would prove costly moments later as the visitors equalised.

Callum Watson played Ollie Peters in behind Jerrome Sobers down the left, and his looping shot caught the wind and went across goal into the top corner leaving Henry Newcombe with no chance.

There was however more drama to follow as the Gulls were awarded a penalty in the 98th minute after Ben Hunter was adjudged to have brought down Steve Sheehan inside the box. Mitchell Gilbey stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to seal an unlikely three points which keeps his side top of the table.

Photo: Kieran Argent / KJA Sports Images

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts