Canvey Island 1-2 East Thurrock United
Gulls Edged Out By Rocks
Canvey Island began their pre-season preparations with a narrow 2-1 defeat against National League South side East Thurrock United at The Frost Hire Stadium on Saturday.
Both sides named a number of players who had turned out for the opposition in the past, with a late goal from substitute Gabe Kellum earning the visitors the win after Martin Tuohy had given Canvey a second half lead.
The opening 20 minutes were a quiet affair, with both sides restricted to shots from the edge of the area which the goalkeepers were able to deal with.
The first time either goal was seriously threatened was on 23 minutes when an East Thurrock corner was cleared to the edge of the box. Ben Marlow sent the ball back towards goal with a well-struck volley which went a couple of yards wide of the target.
Ten minutes later forward Danillo Dadamo hit a low shot from just inside the area on the right which goalkeeper Conor Gough did well to put behind for a corner diving low to his left.
On 43 minutes an excellent through ball from Marlon Agyakwa dissected the visiting defence and sent Jordan Cox off towards goal. However, Rocks’ keeper Jack Giddens spotted the danger and came off his line to claim the ball at the feet of Cox before he could get a touch.
With the scores deadlocked at the break, Canvey took the lead ten minutes into the second half when the ball was played down the left wing. It looked as though the ball was going out of play, but Jordan Cox didn’t give up and managed to keep it in and send a cross over.
Jack Giddens managed to get a hand to the ball but was unable to prevent it from continuing on it’s journey to substitute Martin Tuohy at the back post. Tuohy took a touch before slamming the ball high into the goal to open the scoring.
The goal woke East Thurrock up, and they duly equalised five minutes later when striker Danillo Dadamo fired home from the left of goal with a powerful strike that beat Conor Gough for pace.
On 75 minutes Sam Higgins cut inside Sonny Hartman down the right and burst into he box, but Gough did well to save at the base of his near post with his boot.
Up the other end, Marlon Agyakwa jinked his way into the area two minutes later and bore down on goal, but a brilliant sliding tackle from Ashley Miller blocked Agyakwa’s effort before it could test Jack Giddens.
The winning goal came on 81 minutes when East Thurrock were awarded a free kick in a central position 20 yards from goal. Gabe Kellum stepped up and smashed a driven dead ball into the top corner which Conor Gough got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
The game opened up in the closing stages with both sides having further chances to score.
Marlon Agyakwa struck a free kick a couple of yards over on 83 minutes, and two minutes later Conor Gough pulled off the save of the match as he brilliantly tipped over a rocket from Jack Simmons from 18 yards.
George Sykes and Marlon Agyakwa both had one-on-one efforts late on, but Sykes shot narrowly wide of the bottom corner before Agyakwa scuffed his effort straight at Giddens who saved.
Listen: Danny Heale post-match interview with Simon Pitts