Canvey Island 4-3 Redbridge
Gulls & Motormen In Goalfest
Canvey Island and Redbridge played out an entertaining pre-season friendly at The Frost Hire Stadium on Tuesday night, with the Gulls winning by the odd goal in seven.
Manager Danny Heale gave a start to former-Essex U18 defender Jake Jolliffe, while Frankie Merrifield also started for the first time in pre-season having returned from holiday. There was also a place on the bench for defender Alex Stephenson who previously had a short stint with the Gulls in March 2017 on loan from Billericay Town.
In the Redbridge side was former-Canvey midfielder Joey May who is currently player/manager at the Oakside-based club.
The match started in a very open manner, with Canvey creating a chance inside the opening minute when Jordan Cox latched onto a through ball inside the area coming in from the right. However, defender Daniel Smith did well to get shoulder to shoulder with the forward and did enough to force Cox to skew his shot wide.
A minute later an excellent cross from deep on the right wing by Redbridge’s Ashley Bankole found experienced striker Calvin Poke inside the area, but his header at the front post went across goal and off target.
On 14 minutes some good football from Canvey saw Jake Pitty play a pass down the right wing for Ryan Melaugh to run onto. Melaugh collected possession down by the corner flag, cutting back infield and finding the feet of Jordan Cox on the edge of the box. Cox’s first touch created himself some space to shoot, but his right-footed effort flashed wide.
They came closer two minutes later when Ashley Bankole gave the ball away to Mitchell Gilbey deep on the right wing. Gilbey drove infield, playing a cross-field ball which Jordan Cox was unable to control. However, this fortuitously found the run of Franke Merrifield instead, but his shot was saved by Lewis Greene low down.
Canvey took the lead on 18 minutes when Merrifield was tripped inside the area by Daniel Smith. Jordan Cox stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot to open his account for the Gulls.
Joey May nearly equalised for the visitors on 33 minutes when he spotted Harry Palmer off his line and attempted to lob the keeper from inside his own half. The shot was heading in, but Palmer was able to backpedal and prevent the ball from dipping underneath the crossbar.
On 36 minutes Ryan Melaugh hit a well-struck low shot from 25 yards which was straight at Lewis Greene. The keeper half saved the forceful effort but the ball looped up and continued on it’s way to goal before Greene kept it out at the second attempt.
Redbridge were level less than a minute later when Canvey were caught short at the back. Adam Hunt stood up a cross to the back post from the right and strike partner Calvin Poku was on hand to head home unopposed.
Canvey regained the lead with the last kick of the half after Sam Collins had played a superb ball from deep inside his own half to release Mitchell Gilbey. His subsequent shot was deflected behind, with Gilbey whipping the corner in himself to the back post where George Allen was on hand to volley in via the underside of the crossbar from a yard out.
The Motormen equalised two minutes into the second half when Steve Sheehan was dispossessed 25 yards from his own goal. The ball was played to substitute Michael Ogboin who sidestepped Jake Jolliffe before hitting a fierce strike across goal and high into the inside side netting.
Ogboin nearly scored again moments later when DJ Adelekan slid the forward through on goal. However, Harry Palmer spotted the danger and did very well to race off his line and steal the ball at the feet of his opponent just inside the box.
Canvey were soon back on the attack, with a clearance into Martin Tuohy going wide of an empty net before Mitchell Gilbey volleyed wide with his left foot after a ball in from the right.
When the goal did come, it was a good one. Sam Collins played an excellent ball from the left into the feet of Mitchell Gilbey, and his touch on the edge of the area was equally impressive to tee up Jordan Cox. The striker pulled the trigger from 20 yards which Lewis Greene got a hand to but couldn’t prevent from finding the top corner.
Cox came close to a hattrick two minutes later but his shot from a similar distance was this time tipped over by the keeper for a corner.
Redbridge levelled for the third time with 15 minutes to play when DJ Adelekan and Joey May both stood over a free kick 20 yards out on the left. In what seemed to be a rehearsed set piece, both players ran towards the ball before Adelekan strike a beautiful curling effort into the top corner via the inside of the post.
Canvey won the match with five minutes to play when A Trialist finished well from the edge of the box with a composed strike. The same player could have scored again soon afterwards with a volley from a tight angle which the keeper saved.
Listen: Danny Heale Post-Match Interview