Canvey Island 2-0 Grays Athletic
By Club Admin
Gulls Claim Bragging Rights
Canvey Island stretched their unbeaten run to five matches with a 2-0 Bostik North victory against local rivals Grays Athletic at The Frost Hire Stadium on Saturday.
Manager Mark Bentley named the same starting XI for the fourth consecutive match having seen his side pick up seven points from a possible nine.
The two sides spent the opening quarter of an hour settling into the game before the visitors registered the first shot on target. A ball in from the left found Joao Carlos who poked it towards the top corner, but Harry Palmer was able to make a routine save.
Soon afterwards a swift counter attack from Grays saw possession spread from the right to striker Kieran Bishop on the edge of the penalty area on the opposite side of the pitch. Bishop shot low which Harry Palmer managed to half save, but the ball continued to travel towards goal. Palmer did well to pick himself up and race back to claw the ball off the line.
Canvey had to wait until the 28th minute for their first shot on target when Adam Vyse released Martin Tuohy in behind the visiting defence with an excellent flick on header. Tuohy’s touch took him wider than he would have wanted to be, with his eventual shot from a tight angle on the right deflecting behind off goalkeeper Clarke Bogard’s legs for a corner.
The Gulls took the lead three minutes later when Marlon Agyakwa beat left back Michael Toner down the right wing. Agyakwa drove to the touchline and headed towards goal, attempting to send a ball across the face of goal. However, the ball got the better of Clarke Bogard, hitting the keeper’s leg and creeping inside the far post.
It was 2-0 on 44 minutes in similarly fortuitous circumstances. Marlon Agyakwa's corner was met by a header from Josh Hutchinson which went through a crowd of players before going in past the keeper who had anticipated a clearance from a defender that never materialised.
Grays had a great chance to pull a goal back with virtually the last kick of the first half when Bishop was played through again, this time down the right. Bishop kept his shot down which Harry Palmer managed to save in between his legs.
Canvey went in search of a third goal to kill the game off in the second half but failed to find it.
On the hour mark a cross from the right from Marlon Agyakwa was headed back by Martin Tuohy for strike partner Adam Vyse to hit. Vyse shot low towards the bottom corner which Clarke Bogard saved diving to his left, with Vyse then committing a foul as he attempted a follow up on the loose ball.
The Gulls had three good chances in as many minutes as the match entered the final fifteen minutes. First Frankie Merrifield shot his low shot saved, and seconds later Josh Hutchinson fired inches wide of the upright from 20 yards.
Hutchinson found himself in an even better place soon afterwards when he was played through by Martin Tuohy, but the winger snatched at his chance and blazed it high over the crossbar.
It felt as though not taking their chances could cost Canvey, and that was very nearly the case on 78 minutes when Aron Gordon clipped over a cross from the right. Mitch Hahn connected with a header which looked destined for the back of the net, but at the vital moment Harry Palmer produced a tremendous save to force a corner.
The visitors applied plenty of pressure in the closing stages but failed to seriously test Palmer again.
Photo: KJA Sports Images
LISTEN: Mark Bentley Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts