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Match Report
Bostik North - 2017/2018
Canvey Island 5
G. Sykes (18), J. Walker (70), OG (84), R. Melaugh (88), H. Norman (90)
Saffron Walden Town 0

Canvey Island turned out a dominant display to progress into the 4th round of the BBC Essex Senior Cup, beating Saffron Walden Town 5-0 at a wet Frost Hire Stadium on Tuesday night.

Manager Danny Heale took the opportunity to give some minutes to players who did not start against Hertford Town on Saturday. In came Teddy Nesbitt, Harry Norman, Jerrome Sobers, Ryan Melaugh and James Walker, with Norman and Melaugh making their full debuts.

Canvey started brightly and nearly opened the scoring after only three minutes when Mitchell Gilbey sent over a cross from the left wing. James Walker rose unopposed and headed goalwards which Neil O’Sullivan did well to turn over with a reflex save.

Two minutes later a swift counter attack saw James Walker lay the ball off for Mitchell Gilbey just inside the Canvey half, and he in turn found the run of George Sykes. The forward got the better of Spike Bell but saw his shot turned wide by O’Sullivan.

The Gulls took the lead on 18 minutes thanks a sublime goal from George Sykes. A cross from the right found Sykes who juggled the ball twice before smashing an unstoppable shot back across goal and into the top corner.

Sykes was through again ten minutes later, but this time his effort from 20 yards flew high over the crossbar.

James Walker had two good chances to double Canvey’s advantage before the break. On 41 minutes a through ball from Harry Norman found the forward inside the area to the right of goal, but Neil O’Sullivan did well to close down the shot and put it behind for a corner.

He had an even better opportunity on the stroke of half time when George Sykes squared the ball across the face of goal. However, Walker opted to take a touch rather than shoot first time, and in doing so squandered the chance.

The second half started as the first had finished, with Canvey on the attack. Ryan Melaugh pulled the trigger with his left foot from 20 yards which flew a couple of yards wide of the top corner.

On 59 minutes George Sykes set off on a run at the Saffron Walden defence down the left, cutting infield and passing to the lively Mitchell Gilbey. He managed to get his shot off but was denied by O’Sullivan once again who produced a low stop.

Despite Canvey’s dominance, while the score stayed at 1-0 the visitors remained in the tie. That all changed with 20 minutes to play when James Walker put Canvey two goals in front. George Craddock set Mitchell Gilbey away on the counter attack and after turning a defender inside out he got his shot off. O’Sullivan kept the ball out but couldn’t hold on, and James Walker had kept himself onside to tuck home the loose ball from close range.

O’Sullivan was called into action again on 78 minutes to keep out an effort from substitute Ryan Charles. The rebound fell to Ryan Melaugh who struck the post from the edge of the area.

The victory was sealed with six minutes remaining when some good work from Ryan Melaugh saw him drive to the byline before squaring across goal. Defender Ashley Skeggs slid in to try and snuff out the danger, but in doing so steered the ball past his own keeper to score an own goal.

Melaugh’s impressive performance was capped off with a debut goal on 88 minutes. The recent signing struck a wonderful shot across goal from 20 yards out on the right which crept inside the post leaving O’Sullivan with no chance.

Another player making their full debut rounded off the scoring with the last kick of the ball. George Sykes burst into the area but was dispossessed by a defender. However, Harry Norman collected the loose ball, cutting across goal before smashing it high into the net from the penalty spot.

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview