Basildon United 1-4 Canvey Island
Gulls Begin New Year With A Bang
Canvey Island kicked off 2019 in fine fashion, beating Basildon United 4-1 at The Ho Ho Stadium in the Bostik North on New Year’s Day.
The Gulls looked good throughout on a difficult playing surface and could even afford to miss a penalty in what was a comprehensive victory.
Manager Mark Bentley made two changes from the side that were beaten 2-1 by Bowers & Pitsea ten days earlier. With midfielders Kane Gilbert (holiday) and Jack Simmons (injury) y, in to the starting XI came central midfielder Adam Topley and winger Josh Hutchinson.
Canvey created a couple of early chances inside the opening ten minutes. On four minutes a long ball forwards from Sam Collins in the left back position found the run of Martin Tuohy in behind the home defence. Tuohy shot with his left foot from the edge of the box but dragged his effort across goal and wide.
Soon afterwards a corner from Josh Hutchinson picked out Elliott Warren inside the box, but the defender turned as he attempted to head the ball and as a result it hit his back and went behind for a goal kick.
The Gulls took the lead on 21 minutes when Frankie Merrifield played a through ball down the middle of the pitch for Jose Figura to run onto. Merrifield was fouled in the process but referee Richard Carter played an excellent advantage. With only the keeper to beat, Figura kept his cool and curled home his shot high into the net from just inside the box to open his account for the club.
Having fallen behind the home side started to see more of the ball in the Canvey half. On 29 minutes they registered their first shot on target, although Steven Carvell’s long range effort was straight at Harry Palmer who saved.
The scores were level two minutes later when Carvell chipped a ball over the top of the Canvey defence to release Callum Taylor. The Canvey rearguard all stopped appealing for offside which gave Taylor plenty of time to pick out the bottom corner despite Harry Palmer getting a touch.
On 41 minutes Canvey were awarded a free kick just outside the box on the left wing. Marlon Agyakwa struck a right-footed effort across goal towards the top corner which goalkeeper Emmanuel Olajide punched away with both hands.
The Gulls were back in front 11 minutes into the second half when cleared corner was collected by Adam Topley ten yards inside the Basildon half. Topley did well to take the ball down the right wing, getting to the edge of the box before squaring for Josh Hutchinson to convert from close range.
They were then awarded a penalty on the hour mark when Frankie Merrifield was brought down running into the area. Martin Tuohy stepped up but struck a poor spot kick straight down the middle which Emmanuel Olajide got a hand to and saved, diving low to his left having taken a step to his right.
This miss could have proven costly, but this wasn’t to be the case as seven minutes later Canvey gave themselves the two-goal cushion they had been denied. A ball into the box saw Frankie Merrifield lay possession off for Jose Figura who found the bottom corner from 20 yards with the keeper rooted to the spot.
On 76 minutes Basildon goalkeeper Emmanuel Olajide pulled off a tremendous save to prevent substitute Adam Vyse from hitting the back of the net. A low cross from the right by Marlon Agyakwa picked out the forward who shot first time with his right foot, but Olajide flung himself skywards and turned the shot from ten yards over for a corner.
Vyse was able to add his name to the scoresheet with nine minutes remaining, with Frankie Merrifield instrumental once again. This time the midfielder slotted a pass through for Adam Vyse, and having held off the attention of a defender he slotted past the keeper to score.
The hosts had a couple of chances late on to grab consolation goal, but on both occasions goalkeeper Harry Palmer pulled off impressive saves, first from Michael Mignot on 85 minutes and then from Ashley Blackburn in injury time.
LISTEN: Mark Bentley Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts