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Match Report
Bostik North - 2017/2018
Canvey Island 1
G. Craddock (22)
Norwich United 4
N. Stewart (16), A. Hipperson (20), A. Hipperson (40), A. Hipperson (54)

Canvey Island suffered a humiliating home defeat on Tuesday night, losing 4-1 against bottom of the table side Norwich United under the floodlights of The Frost Hire Stadium.

The Gulls performance was riddled with defensive errors that may prove costly in the race for the playoff positions.

Manager Danny Heale named the same starting XI and bench that had featured in the 2-1 win against Hertford Town three days earlier.

Canvey started brightly and fashioned a couple of early chances. In the second minute a well-weighted ball over the top of the Norwich defence released Martin Tuohy through on goal. However, as he broke into the box he was caught up by defender Sam Watts who exerted enough pressure to force the forward to miscue his shot.

Three minutes later George Sykes set off a positive run down the left wing, cutting inside once he’d reached 20 yards from goal and made his way across the edge of the box. Sykes squared for Mitchell Gilbey to shoot, but his effort was kept out by goalkeeper William Johnson diving low to his right.

From the keeper’s clearance Norwich were straight on the attack and nearly took the lead when Adam Hipperson cut in from the right wing. Hipperson was fouled by George Allen, but referee Scott Williams played a good advantage to allow the attack to continue. Hipperson shot towards the near post but Henry Newcombe did well to scoop the ball away from goal with his right hand high above his head.

The Planters took the lead on 16 minutes when Steve Sheehan miskicked the ball on the left and allowed Adam Hipperson a run at goal. Another good advantage from the referee kept play moving with Hipperson sending over a good cross which Nathan Stewart volleyed into the top corner at the back post.

The lead was doubled four minutes later when the visitors were awarded a corner. The ball rattled around the inside the box without being cleared, eventually landing at the feet of Adam Hipperson who fired across goal and into the bottom corner from the left.

Canvey pulled a goal back on 22 minutes in slightly fortuitous circumstances when George Craddock pulled the trigged from 25 yards on the left. The ball took a wicked deflection off George Sykes, sending the ball past William Johnson despite him doing well to get a hand to it diving to his right.

Craddock was involved again four minutes later when he played the ball from the left into the chest of Frankie Merrifield on the edge of the box. He chested the ball down perfectly for George Sykes to strike, but his shot was a couple of yards off target and went wide.

The Gulls had a penalty appeal turned down on 32 minutes when Jake Pitty went down under a challenge inside the area, but the referee was not convinced and allowed play to continue. The ball was eventually worked to George Sykes 18 yards from goal in a central position, but his shot on the turn was kept out by the keeper.

Nathan Stewart had an attempted lob go over the bar on 39 minutes from distance, but this needn’t have mattered as a minute later Norwich scored again. George Allen inexplicably kicked an attempted clearance straight at Nathan Stewart, leaving the Planters with a two on one situation.

The loose ball fell to Adam Hipperson who used the threat of Stewart to his left to give him the space needed to fire into the bottom corner from just outside the box past a despairing dive from Henry Newcombe to his right.

Things could have gotten even worse for Canvey in first half injury time when a low corner caught out the Gulls defence and found Sam Applegate in plenty of space. The midfielder shot first time towards the bottom corner, but his effort was blocked on the goal line.

Canvey would have been looking to cut out these costly errors in the second half, but it took only nine minutes for another to present Norwich United with a fourth goal.

A ball over the top saw Ashley Dumas running back towards his own goal under pressure from Nathan Stewart, but rather than take one of the numerous chances he had to clear the ball he instead opted to try and pass it back to Henry Newcombe. However, his pass was under-hit, allowing Stewart to intercept it and square for Adam Hipperson to slot into an empty net and complete one of the easiest hattricks he will ever score.

Canvey probed for a passage back into the match, with Ryan Melaugh having a 20-yard shot saved before George Sykes fired over with only the keeper to beat from the edge of the box.

The Gulls were awarded a penalty on 76 minutes when George Sykes was tripped inside the box having cut in from the left. However, goalkeeper William Johnson did brilliantly to save Martin Tuohy’s spot kick, diving full stretch to his right to keep the ball from nestling into the bottom corner.

Norwich’s final chance of the match came with five minutes to play, and fittingly saw them nearly score after some poor Canvey defending. Ashley Dumas had lost substitute Sonny Carey inside the box, allowing him to get up and head Harry Barker’s left wing cross downwards and towards goal, although his effort bounced a yard or so wide of the top corner.

Steve Sheehan had an opportunity to score a consolation goal in injury time, but his header from a free kick was saved by the keeper diving low to his left.

Photo: KJA Sports Images