Canvey Island 2-1 AFC Hornchurch
Gulls Lift Charity Shield
Canvey Island picked up some early silverware, beating reigning Bostik North champions AFC Hornchurch 2-1 at The Frost Hire Stadium to lift the Isthmian Charity Shield.
Captain Steve Sheehan one the toss, electing to switch ends and play with the strong wind that was driving towards The Danny Green Community Stand in the first half.
After a quiet opening period the Urchins took the lead on 20 minutes when Nathan Livings unleashed a superb strike from 25 yards which found the top corner, beating the dive of former-Hornchurch keeper who flung himself high to his left.
Canvey teams over the years have notoriously been unable to adapt to the windy conditions that being next to the Thames can produce. It looked as though this was going to be the same story until the half hour mark when they started to adjust their game.
On 35 minutes James White clipped a deep free kick into the area which found the head of Frankie Merrifield on the penalty spot, but his glancing effort went over the top corner.
The Gulls equalised on 39 minutes when the ball was played across the edge of the area from the left and found Martin Tuohy in space. The ex-Hornchurch forward took a touch before rifling a shot across goal and into the bottom corner.
Canvey then took the lead three minutes later when the ball was gifted to Mitchell Gilbey on the edge of the centre circle inside the Hornchurch half. With Frankie Merrifield to his left and Jordan Cox to his right, Gilbey used the space they created to advance to 25 yards from goal.
Using the wind to his advantage, Gilbey struck a powerful shot which goalkeeper Callum Chafer got a hand to but was unable to prevent from nestling into the top corner.
The Gulls were playing against the wind in the second half which made life much more difficult.
The tone for the half was set on 54 minutes when an in-swinging corner from Brad Warner was heading straight in, but Harry Palmer stayed alert and was able to punch the ball over the crossbar.
George Purcell was beginning to see more of the ball and with that came an inevitable threat to the Canvey goal. On 62 minutes a shot across goal from the left by Purcell was saved by Palmer diving low to his left.
Four minutes later Purcell crossed from the left to the back post and found the head of Kenzer Lee, but having risen above Jordan Brown he steered his effort wide of the target from close range.
The closest he came was on 69 minutes when Hornchurch was awarded a free kick 30 yards out on the right. Purcell struck a superb effort across goal which had Harry Palmer beaten but struck the base of the post before being cleared.
Tobi Coker soon delivered a cross back into the box from the right which Palmer had to tip over for a corner.
The Urchins pushed late on to send the match to penalties, with two good chances falling to substitute Leon McKenzie.
On 82 minutes the unleashed a shot from just outside the box which he caught well but was straight at Harry Palmer who saved into his chest.
Five minutes later McKenzie was played in behind the Canvey defence down the left, but Palmer did well to race off his line and claim the ball at the forward’s feet.
Four additional minutes were added on at the end of the second half, but the Gulls held on to claim a morale-boosting victory.
Listen: Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts
Photo: KJA Sports Images