Canvey Island 0-1 Enfield Town
Gulls Fall At The First Hurdle
Canvey Island exited the Velocity Trophy at the 1st round stage following a 1-0 defeat against Bostik Premier side Enfield Town at The Frost Hire Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Assistant manager Brad Wellmen took the opportunity to make several changes to his starting XI, handing first starts of the season to Conor Gough, George Allen, Josh Hutchinson and Sam Collins.
The Enfield Town squad meanwhile included three former-Canvey players, with captain Ryan Blackman in midfield along with Dean Mason and Mario Noto who were named on the bench.
The first half hour was a quiet affair with defences on mostly on top and misplaced passes in the attacking third preventing either side from seriously threatening the opposition goal.
When Canvey did manage to fashion a chance their finishing was off, with efforts from George Sykes, George Allen and Marlon Agyakwa all straight at goalkeeper Joe Wright who was able to save comfortably.
The deadlock was broken on 37 minutes after Frankie Merrifield committed a foul on the edge of the penalty area for which he was booked. Mason Tunbridge stepped up and curled a low left-footed effort around the wall and into the bottom corner.
They nearly scored again four minutes later when a long clearance out of defence released the pacey Brandon Adams in behind the Canvey rear guard. Jake Pitty stayed in close proximity but was left for dead as Adams stopped dead just inside the box, but his shot was prevented from finding the top corner thanks to a covering block by the shoulder of George Allen.
Canvey should have equalised with virtually the last kick of the first half when Josh Hutchinson brought the ball down the right wing and played it infield for Jake Pitty. The right back headed towards goal and cut the ball back for George Sykes, but his powerful effort at the front post skimmed the outside of the post and hit the side netting high up.
The second half was one-way traffic, with the Towners finding increasing amounts of space and putting the Canvey goal under some serious pressure.
On 56 minutes right back Mickey Parcell was allowed time to run in from the wing and play a pass into the feet of Bilal Sayoud on the edge of the box. He turned well on the edge of the area and set himself up for a shot, but George Allen recovered well to divert the shot wide for a corner.
The subsequent corner was struck high towards goal by Brandon Adams, but Conor Gough was able to pull off a tremendous reaction save to tip it over the crossbar.
Brandon Adams had another chance on 62 minutes when he latched onto a through ball played from inside the Enfield Town half. Adams used his pace to race into the area and shot across goal from the right towards the bottom corner, but Conor Gough kept the ball out again, this time with his right boot.
Having weathered the storm Canvey had a couple of chances in the closing stages to take the match to penalties.
On 79 minutes Marlon Agyakwa headed infield from the right wing and pulled a pass back for substitute Jordan Cox, but he scuffed his first time shot from ten yards.
Frankie Merrifield then had a goalbound header from an Agyakwa corner with six minutes remaining, but the ball hit the back of a defender before being cleared.
Photo: KJA Sports Images
LISTEN: Brad Wellmen Post-Match Interview