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Match Report
Bostik North - 2017/2018
Haringey Borough 3
M. Kirby (72), R. Gabriel (83p), M. Ademiluyi (94)
Canvey Island 1
S. Sheehan (92)

Canvey Island’s promotion ambitions ended with a 3-1 defeat away to Haringey Borough in the Bostik North Playoff Final on Sunday.

On a scorching hot afternoon on North London the Gulls dominated the first half without managing to score and tired late on to fall to defeat.

Manager Danny Heale made one change from the side that beat Bowers & Pitsea 2-0 in the semi-final on Wednesday night, bringing in James White in place of goalscorer Ryan Charles in midfield.

The first shot on goal in the opening exchanges was taken by Canvey’s Sam Higgins in the eighth minute. Sam Collins released the forward with a perfectly weighted ball over the Haringey defence from the left, although Higgins’ low rifled shot from 18 yards was straight at goalkeeper Valery Pajetat who parried.

Three minutes later the ball was played into the feet of Mitchell Gilbey on the edge of the area. He turned brilliantly with his first touch which allowed him in behind the Haringey rear guard, but as he was about to pull the trigger a superbly timed sliding tackle from defender Rakim Richards won possession for the hosts.

The hosts had struggled to make an impression on the match in the early stages but that could have changed on 17 minutes when Ralston Gabriel was fouled 22 yards from goal in a central position. However, the dead ball was struck poorly and hit the bottom of the wall.

They came much closer on 22 minutes when they were awarded another free kick, this time just outside the box on the left wing. Anthony McDonald fizzed the ball across the face of goal which struck teammate Ralston Gabriel and flew inches wide of the bottom corner.

Both sides had chances in the 33rd minute, with Sam Higgins having a shot snuffed out before Ralston Gabriel fired over the bar having burst into the box from the right.

Soon after Canvey had two great chances to open the scoring after they were awarded a free kick.  Goalkeeper Valery Pajetat came off his line to punch but made a poor connection, presenting Sam Higgins with a chance to turn and shoot. However, his shot hit Pajetat as he retreated

The ball was cleared but only as far as Mitchell Gilbey just inside the Haringey half on the right. Gilbey pumped the ball back into area which George Allen was able to chest down for central defensive partner Steve Sheehan, but his shot towards the bottom corner was saved by Valery Pajetat diving low to his left.

They had another chance before the break when Pajetat came off his line to try and claim a corner but made a hash of it, dropping the ball behind him. However, he was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief as a defender on the line was able to clear the danger before a finish could be applied.

With the scores deadlocked at half time, Haringey manager Tommy Loizou made a substitution that seemed to change the course of the match, bringing on lively winger Michael Ademiluyi on in place of Anthony McDonald.

Ademiluyi showed the pace he possesses after only five minutes of being on, bursting down the right wing before playing the ball into the feet of Andre McCollin on the edge of the box. McCollin turned and shot but straight at Henry Newcombe who saved.

The game was far more open from this point onwards, with Sam Higgins having a diving header saved on 53 minutes before Lauran Luke was denied by Henry Newcombe at the second time of asking soon afterwards.

On 56 minutes goalkeeper Valery Pajetat dropped another Canvey corner, and in the ensuing goalmouth scramble he picked up an injury which signalled the end of his involvement, with substitute goalkeeper Austin Byfield coming on in his place.

The first goal of the afternoon finally came on 72 minutes when Mark Kirby rose highest to head home from a corner for the Boro.

They were then awarded a penalty with seven minutes to play when Frankie Merrifield was adjudged to have handled the ball while on the floor inside the area. Ralston Gabriel stepped up and rolled a low penalty down the middle of the goal to double Haringey’s advantage.

Just when it looked as though the match was done and dusted, Steve Sheehan gave Canvey a glimmer of hope when he headed home from a Frankie Merrifield cross in the second of four additional minutes.

However, this hope was short lived as the home side scored almost immediately after in controversial circumstances. A through ball was run onto by both Chinedu McKenzie and Michael Ademiluyi, with the assistant referee raising his flag for offside. Ademiluyi raced through and finished into the bottom corner, and on consulting his assistant the referee awarded the goal.

It did appear that of the two players McKenzie was the only one in an offside position, but his run towards the ball certainly could have been deemed as interfering with play before allowing McKenzie to take over.

The final whistle sounded soon afterwards to ensure that the Gulls will have another season of Bostik North football next season.

Photo: Holly Allison

Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts