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Match Report
Bostik North - 2017/2018
Canvey Island 2
M. Gilbey (15), R. Charles (73)
AFC Hornchurch 0

Canvey Island inflicted AFC Hornchurch’s first defeat in eight matches to beat the league leaders 2-0 at a chilly Frost Hire Stadium on Saturday.

The Gulls were solid throughout, crucially winning the midfield battle, keeping a clean sheet and scoring two good goals to secure victory.

Manager Danny Heale made two changes from the side that drew 2-2 away to Maldon & Tiptree a week earlier, bringing in Ryan Charles and Steve Sheehan in place of James Walker and Elliott Warren, with Sheehan available having returned from a one match suspension.

The first chance of the match came after 14 minutes and fell to the visitors. Bradley Warner’s low driven shot from the edge of the area was straight at Ashlee Jones, but still required the keeper to get down and hold the ball to prevent a tap in for one of Warner’s teammates.

Canvey took the lead a minute later when Sam Collins got the better of Urchins defender Kenzer Lee driving into the box from the right. Collins used his strength to leave Lee on the floor after going shoulder to shoulder, squaring low to the near post where Mitchell Gilbey was on hand to fire across goal and high into the back of the net.

The visitors’ best opportunity of the first half occurred in the 21st minute when Bradley Warner sent a lofted ball forwards from the left. The went over the head of Steve Sheehan and found the run of forward Leon McKenzie, but Ashlee Jones managed to keep the subsequent shot out thanks to a brilliant save with his left hand.

Danny Heale was forced into a change on 37 minutes when Jerrome Sobers suffered an injury and was replaced by Elliott Warren in central defence.

Both sides had chances to add to the scoring in the closing moments of the first half. Firstly Ryan Charles beat a defender cutting in from the left wing, squaring for George Sykes whose shot from the edge of the area was blocked by Alex Bentley.

Soon afterwards up the other end the ball was worked across from the right to Matthias Fanimo, but it arrived to him at waist height and he could only scuff his shot a couple of yards over the top corner.

Leading at the break, Canvey started the second half well and could have doubled their advantage five minutes into the second half. A ball into the box from the right found the feet of Mitchell Gilbey who despatched a brilliant flick around the corner to present Frankie Merrifield with a golden opportunity. However, his low shot from 12 yards was deflected over the bar thanks to some fantastic last gasp defending from Nathan Cooper.

The Gulls had an even better chance nine minutes later when they were awarded a penalty. The ball was played to Sam Collins from the left who let fly with a swerving shot from 25 yards. Sam Mott made the save but couldn’t hold on, and with George Sykes about to tuck home the rebound he was brought down by defender Kenzer Lee.

Mitchell Gilbey stepped up but struck a poor penalty which Sam Mott was able to save with a dive low down to his right.

This miss could have proved costly, but any concerns of this were alleviated on 73 minutes when Ryan Charles sealed the three points. Having stolen possession in the middle of the park, Charles set off on a confident run to the edge of the box before picking out the bottom corner for his sixth goal of the campaign.

Having gone two goals clear Canvey were guilty of playing too long, but despite being given the ball back in defence repeatedly the league leaders were unable to force Ashlee Jones into any meaningful action.

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts