Mildenhall Town 2-3 Canvey Island
By Club Admin
Late Merrifield Goals Earn Gulls Away Win
Two goals in the dying moments from Frankie Merrifield saw Canvey come back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 away to bottom of the table side Mildenhall Town at Recreation Way on Saturday.
Manager Mark Bentley made two changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Maldon & Tiptree a week earlier.
With Zack Littlejohn and James White both ruled out through injury, in came Sam Dulieu and Adam Vyse. Dulieu filled in at right back allowing Adetayo Osifuwa to provide cover in central defence. Frankie Merrifield dropped back to fill the void left by James White in central midfield, with Adam Vyse replacing him in attack.
On eight minutes a cross from deep on the left by Sam Collins picked out Adam Vyse who was lurking on the penalty spot. Vyse rose to head goalwards, but he got under the ball and sent it over the crossbar.
Nine minutes later Ryan Melaugh won the ball on the left wing 30 yards from his own goal, setting Canvey off on the counter attack. Having played a 1-2 with Adam Vyse on the halfway line, Melaugh raced down the line and crossed low into the box. Kane Gilbert met the cross at the near post with a well-timed run, although his first time shot went a couple of yards over when well placed.
Having struggled to make an impression on the match, the hosts could have scored twice from corners in the 27th minute.
First a half clearance presented Jarid Robson with an opportunity on the half volley, but he didn’t strike his shot cleanly and Sam Dulieu was able to clear off the line before the ball was put behind again for another corner.
This time the set piece found the run of James Seymour on the edge of the six-yard box, but the tall central defender should have done better when he sent his unmarked header over the crossbar.
Mildenhall got their noses in front on 38 minutes when the ball was chipped over Sam Collins in the left back position for Kaine Manels to run onto. Manels delivered a pinpoint cross to the back post and found forward Tom Debenham who sent a free header past Harry Palmer who had no chance.
The Gulls weren’t behind for long and equalised two minutes later with an equally free header. Sam Collins did well to bring the ball forwards and find Kane Gilbert inside the box, with the winger playing the ball out to the left wing for Frankie Merrifield.
Merrifield chipped over a cross and found Ryan Melaugh who rose well and sent a downwards header towards goal. Goalkeeper Jake Hayhoe got his right foot to the ball but was unable to prevent it from crossing the line.
With the scores level at the break, Mildenhall had the first chance of the second half ten minutes after the restart. Tommy Robinsons free kick from deep found Tom Debenham inside the box, and the tall forward sent a looping header towards goal. However, Harry Palmer did well to backpedal and palm Debenham’s header over the bar for a corner which Canvey defended.
The hosts had an identical chance on 72 minutes, but this time Palmer was unable to keep the ball out. A free kick was clipped into the area and met with a header by substitute Matthew Hayden who had only entered the match five minutes earlier. Palmer was rooted to the spot as Hayden’s header looped towards goal and crept inside the upright to restore Mildenhall’s lead.
Canvey came to equalising was on 79 minutes when substitutes Marlon Agyakwa and Frankie Stone combined on the left, with the latter delivering a good cross into the box. Adam Vyse got his head to the ball and steered it goalwards, but with the keeper beaten his effort went inches wide of the far post.
The Gulls exerted plenty of pressure in the closing stages but it looked as though the Mildenhall defence was going to hold out.
However, on 89 minutes a ball in behind the Mildenhall defence was set to find Frankie Merrifield before he was pulled back by a defender. The referee looked to his assistant who flagged to indicate for the penalty to be awarded.
Merrifield picked himself up to take the spot kick, sending it straight down the middle and in despite the keeper getting a foot to the ball once again.
Just when it looked as though Canvey had salvaged a point, they went one better with virtually the last kick of the match. A long free kick downfield was headed on by a defender and released Frankie Merrifield.
He showed great composure to round the keeper and slot into an empty net to score a brace for the second consecutive match and earn his side an unlikely victory.