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Match Report
Bostik North - 2017/2018
Barking 1
A. Seymour (21)
Canvey Island 0

Canvey Island fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Barking at a wet Mayesbrook Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Gulls played well and dominated the match for long periods but couldn’t find their way through a superb defensive performance from the home side.

Manager Danny Heale named the same side that had beaten Grays Athletic 3-0 in our last league outing a week earlier. The Barking team meanwhile included two former-Gulls in the shape of midfielder Albert Levett and forward Dan Gilchrist.

The home side had the better of the opening exchanges, forcing several corners without managing to test Ashlee Jones. However, after surviving this early pressure Canvey started to enjoy more possession and began to create chances.

They had a penalty appeal turned down in the 11th minute after George Sykes and Ryan Charles had played a one-two down the left wing. Charles played a delicate pass into the area for Sykes who seemed to be brought down by Albert Levett after the ball had passed. However, the referee was not interested and waved away the protests.

On 15 minutes a cross from the right wing by Frankie Merrifield found Ryan Charles inside the box. The winger jumped high to head the ball but was stretching and could only nod over from close range.

Barking took the lead on 21 minutes after Sam Collins was adjudged to have fouled Dan Gilchrist just outside the penalty area. It looked as though Collins had won the ball cleanly with his sliding tackle but the decision went against the Canvey captain.

Abs Seymour stepped up and curled a left-footed free kick around the wall. Ashlee Jones managed to get to the shot diving low to his right but was unable to prevent it from creeping just inside the post.

Canvey responded well to going a goal down and could have equalised three minutes later. George Sykes timed a run across goal to the near post perfectly to meet a Mitchell Gilbey corner with his head, flicking the ball across goal. However, a Barking defender proved the importance of having a man on the post from corners, clearing Sykes’ effort off the line.

The remainder of the half was a bit of a non-event, with both defences well on top. Both sides engaged in some good build up play but were found lacking in their final ball, with Barking fall foul of the assistant referee’s flag on more than one occasion.

Trailing 1-0 at the break, Canvey came out strongly in the second half and had plenty of pressure in the opening quarter of an hour without managing to test the keeper.

They had another big shout for a penalty on 58 minutes when George Craddock sent over an inviting cross from the left after receiving the ball from Frankie Merrifield. Mitchell Gilbey appeared to be bundled over by a defender as he closed in on a header, but once again the referee was not convinced and allowed play to continue.

Barking goalkeeper Ollie Bowles finally had something to do on 65 minutes when Canvey were awarded a free kick on the left wing. Hussain Jaffa headed powerfully away but straight to Ashley Dumas, who from 35 yards lobbed the ball back into the box. Several yellow shirts were in an offside  position but Frankie Merrifield wasn’t one of them, and he was able to bring the ball under control.

However, the midfielder scuffed his left-footed shot and Bowles was able to comfortably save down by his post diving low to his left.

The home side had a chance of their own on 71 minutes after a rare foray into the Canvey half. Albert Levett squared across the edge of the area for Abs Seymour who shot first time but straight at Ashlee Jones who saved and held despite the wet ball zipping off the slippery surface.

Danny Heale made a double change soon after with time running out, replacing Mitchell Gilbey and Sam Collins with James Walker and Harry Norman.

Canvey pushed hard for an equaliser and had opportunities to grab a point.

On 80 minutes Steve Sheehan headed down a free kick for George Sykes, who in turn took a touch before shooting on the half volley. The shot seemed destined to hit the target before some typically committed Barking defending saw the ball deflect behind for a corner.

Their final penalty shout of the afternoon came in the 85th minute when Frankie Merrifield had a shot from inside the area hit the arm of a defender before going wide. The ball unquestionably  struck the arm, but the referee decided that the contact had not been intentional and awarded another corner to the Gulls.

A minute later a cross from deep on the right from Jake Pitty found George Sykes at the back post, but his effort from close range was saved by Ollie Bowles.

The Gulls continued to flood forwards in injury time, but when Jerrome Sobers headed wide from a Frankie Merrifield cross in the third minute of stoppage time it was clear that this was to be Barking’s day.

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts