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Match Report
Bostik North - 2017/2018
Ware 1
M. Karagul (9)
Canvey Island 5
G. Sykes (45), M. Gilbey (47), R. Melaugh (51p), S. Sheehan (56), R. Melaugh (61)

Canvey Island came back from a goal down to hammer Ware 5-1 at Wodson Park in the Bostik North on Saturday.

On a muddy and bobbly playing surface the Gulls equalised just before half time before blitzing the hosts in the opening 16 minutes of the second half.

Manager Danny Heale made four changes from the side that were beaten 2-1 by Mildenhall Town a week earlier. Recent loan acquisition Jack Giddens took over in goal from the departed Ashlee Jones, while Steve Sheehan returned from suspension to partner Elliott Warren in central defence following an injury to Jerrome Sobers.

James Walker and Harry Norman dropped to the bench with Mitchell Gilbey and Ryan Charles both recovering from illness to take their place in the starting XI. George Craddock was another to return to full health, although he was only named as a substitute. Another name on the bench was new signing Ozzy Adeniji who signed on Friday from Bowers & Pitsea having previously played for us in the 2015/16 season.

Canvey came out of the traps quickly, looking to close down their opponents and generally playing with a high tempo. They forced a corner in the second minute which Mitchell Gilbey cut back to the edge of the area for Sam Collins in plenty of space, but his left-effort went over the bar.

Despite a positive start, the hosts took the lead on nine minutes with a goal that summed up Canvey’s inability to keep clean sheets. A short corner took the Gulls by surprise and allowed Marcus Milner an age to send over a cross from the left wing. The cross was a good one and found forward Murat Karagul eight yards from goal in a central position, and having lost his marker he was able to finish with a powerful header.

Canvey responded well and had several opportunities to draw level in the 12th minute. First, a corner from Mitchell Gilbey should have been bread and butter for goalkeeper Harry Voss, but he made a mess of his attempt to claim the cross and dropped the ball twice. It landed at the feet of Ryan Charles who shot first time, but his low attempt was kept out on the line by a defender and put behind for another corner.

Gilbey put the subsequent corner into a similar area and this time found George Sykes who flicked a header across goal and onto the top of the goalpost. The ball rebounds onto the head of Elliott Warren who sent it back to where it had come, but too literally in that it hit the same patch of white paint that Sykes’ shot had seconds earlier. Warren had another chance, this time with his feet, but in true defender fashion smashed his shot high over the bar.

The Gulls kept knocking on the door, but some poor decision making was costing them in the final third. On 24 minutes George Sykes won a tackle on the half way line and set Ryan Melaugh free on the left. Canvey were in a two on one situation with Mitchell Gilbey all on his own inside the box, but Melaugh didn’t look up and instead thumped a shot over from 18 yards.

A minute later a ball over the top towards George Sykes caught the Ware defence out, with Sykes making it clear to the assistant referee that he had no intention to play the ball. Ryan Charles took advantage by racing through on goal, but having gotten into a great position he opted to turn inside and was tackled by Tayo Coker.

Canvey should have been awarded a penalty six minutes before the break when George Sykes was blatantly tripped inside the box. Time seemed to stand still as eyes turned to referee Giovanni Marasca, but rather than point to the spot he instead signalled for a goal kick which indicated that in his opinion, the defender didn’t touch the ball.

The Gulls finally got themselves back on level terms in the first minute of stoppage time. Frankie Merrifield’s chipped cross from the left saw Harry Voss punch clear ahead of Mitchell Gilbey, but in doing so he set the ball up perfectly for George Sykes to hammer home on the half volley from 12 yards.

Sykes nearly had a second soon afterwards when he brilliantly flicked the ball over the head of a defender, but his shot from just inside the box caught a deflection and flew a few yards wide.

With the scores deadlocked at the break, Canvey came out for the second half in determined fashion and put the hosts to the sword.

Inside two minutes a low ball cut through the centre of the Ware defence and released Mitchell Gilbey. The forward did well to control the ball on the bobbly playing surface before slotting coolly into the bottom corner.

Having turned down two penalty appeals towards the end of the first half, the referee did finally award the Gulls a spot kick on 51 minutes when Tyler Coker brought down George Sykes. Goalkeeper Harry Voss guessed correctly and dived to his left, but he was unable to prevent Ryan Melaugh’s strike from finding the bottom corner.

Frankie Merrifield had a left-footed drive from 25  yards turned over the bar on 55 minutes, and from the subsequent corner Canvey scored a fourth. Mitchell Gilbey’s corner was glanced on at the near post by the head of George Sykes and was turned home from close range by Steve Sheehan to continue the defender’s rich vein of form in front of goal.

The pick of the goals came in the 61st minute when Ryan Charles brought the ball down from out of the air inside the box following a corner. Charles laid possession off for Ryan Melaugh who unleashed an unstoppable shot with his left foot with sailed just inside the post.

The match was won, but Canvey were still hungry for more goals. On 64 minutes a tremendous chip over Damien Green from Frankie Merrifield found the run of Mitchell Gilbey, but goalkeeper Harry Voss did well to close down the shot and make a good save.

Voss saved from Gilbey again a minute later when the forward got on the end of a left wing cross from Ryan Charles, this time volleying straight at the keeper from close range.

Ryan Melaugh was inches away from completing his hattrick on 73 minutes when Canvey were awarded a free kick 25 yards out. The winger hit a sweet low free kick across goal which sailed agonisingly wide of the bottom corner.

With a tough test against Heybridge Swifts on Tuesday night, Canvey took key players in the shape of Sam Collins, George Sykes and Ryan Melaugh off and cruised through the remainder of the match to seal a fine comeback victory.

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts