Cheshunt 1-0 Canvey Island
Goal-Shy Gulls Exit Second Cup In A Week
Canvey Island exited the Emirates FA Cup at the preliminary round stage following a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Bostik South East outfit Cheshunt on Saturday.
Manager Danny Heale returned to the dugout following a three-match stadium ban and found a place in his starting XI for Ryan Melaugh who had missed the previous two matches through injury, with George Sykes dropping to the bench.
George Allen, Steve Sheehan and Jake Jolliffe were all included as central defenders, with Jordan Brown and Jake Pitty playing in a more advanced role as attacking wing backs.
There was a moment of controversy after only six minutes when Mitchell Gilbey was played in behind the Cheshunt defence. Gilbey was adjudged to have been fouled just outside of the area by defender Dave Kendall, and with no other Cheshunt players in close proximity it seemed as though a red card was an inevitability.
However, referee Ivaylo Kyosev showed leniency, only brandishing a yellow card much to the surprise of the Canvey players.
Ryan Melaugh stepped up and curled a low left-footed free kick around the wall which goalkeeper Harry Girling did well to save diving to his right, turning the ball behind for a corner.
Two minutes later Martin Tuohy latched onto a through ball inside the area and pull the trigger with his left foot, but his effort lacked the power and elevation to beat the keeper who this time saved with his boot.
Cheshunt’s first sight of goal came on 17 minutes when the ball came in from the right for Jason Hallett who was on the edge of the box. Hallett unleashed a sweetly-struck half volley which was hitting the target before being blocked by the back of George Allen.
The ball was back up the other end six minutes later when Martin Tuohy earned Canvey a corner. Ryan Melaugh whipped the ball in to the back post which found Mitchell Gilbey, and he was able to flick the ball over a defender and square it for Frankie Merrifield who was ready to finish. However, a well-timed tackle from Taylor McKenzie eight yards from goal denied the midfielder the opportunity.
The home side took the lead on 28 minutes when the assistant referee awarded a free kick out on the right wing. Patrick Adamson delivered a good ball into the box which was headed goalwards by captain Mark Hughes and nodded home from close range by Jason Hallett for his customary goal against his former club.
The closest Canvey came to pulling a goal back in the first half came on 37 minutes when Ryan Melaugh delivered an in-swinging corner which Harry Girling had to palm away underneath his crossbar to prevent Melaugh scoring direct from the set piece.
Cheshunt should have doubled their lead moments before the break when midfielder Tom Bruno played a superb pass from deep on the left wing and found Oluwole Akinsanya at the back post. However, the forward miscued his effort and put his free header the wrong side of the upright from close range.
The second half started a high tempo, with both sides creating some good chances in the opening exchanges.
On 49 minutes a ball into the box from the Cheshunt left saw Jason Hallett challenge Jake Jolliffe in the air. Hallett won the battle and the ball fell perfectly for him to smash home from eight yards, but with only Palmer to beat he snatched at the chance and sent it over the crossbar.
A minute later a good cross from the right by Jake Pitty was bet by an acrobatic volley by Jordan Brown, but his effort from the edge of the area was a yard or so over the top corner.
Jason Hallett had another opportunity soon afterwards when he was played through by Tom Bruno. Hallett used his physicality to hold off a challenge from George Allen and pulled the trigger from 25 yards which Harry Palmer turned behind diving to his left.
On 56 minutes Cheshunt winger Emiel Aiken was spotted in space and played through onside coming in from the right. Aiken dragged his shot across goal but in doing so found the run of Jason Hallett, but he was unable to convert what was a difficult chance.
As the half went on Canvey started to push for an equaliser without managing to test the goalkeeper until the closing stages. The came close on 66 minutes when a ball over the top was chased down by Mitchell Gilbey inside the area. Gilbey back heeled the ball for Martin Tuohy, but his chip from 20 yards went a couple of yards wide.
However, the best chance came with nine minutes remaining when Jake Pitty put the ball on a plate for George Sykes, but his diving header from eight yards went agonisingly wide.
They finally forced Girling into a save on 87 minutes, and when they did it was a tremendous one. Frankie Merrifield caught a shot perfectly from 20 yards which Girling spectacularly turned over the bar with his right hand.
Cheshunt substitute striker Kyle Roberts could have sealed the tie as the match entered stoppage time after a run infield from the left. After beating two men he shot from a tight angle which went across goal and off target.
Canvey had a late chance when Ryan Melaugh had a shot from 20 yards which hit the arm of a defender inside the area but with no intent to handle to ball. Sam Collins kept the momentum alive and clipped a cross from the left to the back post, but Frankie Merrifield headed wide from close range.
Photo: Scott Lear
LISTEN: Danny Heale Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts