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Match Report
Bostik North - 2017/2018
Canvey Island 2
J. Walker (8), R. Charles (45)
Maldon & Tiptree 1
J. Ellul (48)

Canvey Island recorded an impressive 2-1 win against fellow promotion hopefuls Maldon & Tiptree at The Frost Hire Stadium on Saturday.

Manager Danny Heale was forced to make a late change to the starting XI following an injury to Elliott Warren in the warm up. Ashley Dumas shuffled across to central defence and Ryan Melaugh slotted in at the unfamiliar position of left back.

With Frankie Merrifield suspended, James Walker was recalled to the side and partnered George Sykes and Mitchell Gilbey in a three-man attack.

Canvey started brightly and created two good chances inside the opening five minutes. First Sam Collins had shot from 18 yards saved by Christopher Haigh after the ball had been played back to him by Mitchell Gilbey.

Soon after George Sykes set off on one of his trademark runs from the left, driving towards goal but also being denied by the Maldon keeper from a tight angle.

Sykes embarked on an identical run on eight minutes, but this time rather than shoot he opted to square form striker partner James Walker who slotted home from close range to give Canvey the lead.

The visitors started to get themselves back into the contest after conceding. On 12 minutes Ryan Clampin unleashed a shot from 25 yards which Henry Newcombe was able to save but not hold. Oluwole Akinsanya collected the rebound, but fortunately for the Gulls the flag went up for offside.

Six minutes later Chris Millar had a shot from the edge of the area towards the bottom corner brilliantly turned wide by Henry Newcombe with a full stretch dive low to his left. The resulting corner found the head of Grade Milende but his effort landed on the roof of the net.

On 19 minutes Emmanuel Katundu was played through onside, but under pressure from Ashley Dumas Katundu was met at the edge of the area by Henry Newcombe who claimed the ball at his feet.

Up the other end Ryan Charles won the ball inside his own half before racing down the right wing, squaring for Mitchell Gilbey just outside the area whose powerful first time shot was well saved by Christopher Haigh on 21 minutes.

Three minutes later James Walker timed a run behind the Maldon defence to perfection, but Haigh did well once again, this time shutting down the angle and smothering Walker’s goalbound shot.

Both goalkeepers were forced to deal with some impressive long range efforts, with Henry Newcombe keeping out an attempt from Emmanuel Katundu on 35 minutes and Christopher Haigh denying Sam Collins four minutes later.

Canvey doubled their lead on the stroke of half time when Ryan Charles got the better of a defender when challenging for a long ball forwards 30 yards from goal. Charles raced towards goal, bursting into the box before firing across goal and into the bottom corner.

The Gulls went into the half time break with a two goal advantage, but the lead was reduced back down to one goal after only three minutes of the second half. A Maldon corner was cleared but pumped straight back into the box, and Joe Ellul rose ahead of Henry Newcombe’s attempting punched clearance to flick the ball home from just inside the area.

This goal had the potential to change the flow of the match, but instead Canvey settled well and before long were creating further chances of their own.

On 54 minutes George Sykes managed to get in behind Joe Ellul and break into the box before spotting Mitchell Gilbey to his left. Sykes attempting to pick out his teammate but a defender managed to get a toe to the ball and put it behind for a corner with Gilbey ready to pull the trigger.

Gilbey did manage to get a shot off on 64 minutes after the ball had been laid off to him 18 yards out, but his effort went a matter of inches wide with the keeper beaten.

On 74 minutes a superb backheel from James Walker found the run of George Sykes into the area from the left, but his ball across the face of goal was cleared by a defender on the line with yellow shirts in close quarters.

Ryan Charles nearly scored a carbon copy of his earlier goal in the 82nd minute, winning the ball on the turn and racing past a defender. However, this time his shot from the right was well saved by Christopher Haigh.

The visitors left it until stoppage time to create their best chances of an equaliser, but on both occasions goalkeeper Henry Newcombe was in fine form to keep the ball out.

On 92 minutes Chris Millar unleased a stunning strike from 25 yards which was arrowing towards the top corner. Newcombe flung himself high to his right and managed to tip the ball onto the crossbar and behind for a corner it what was one of the finest saves seen at The Frost Hire Stadium.

A minute later Oluwole Akinsayna was played in down the right, getting the better of Ashley Dumas and shooting low across goal towards the bottom corner. However, Newcombe was equal to the shot once again, getting down well to tip the ball wide.

The whistle sounded soon after, much to the delight of the majority of the 271 in attendance.

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts