Brentwood Town 1-3 Canvey Island
By Club Admin
Gulls End Campaign With Third Straight Win
Canvey Island ended the 2018/19 Bostik North season with three straight wins, beating Brentwood Town 3-1 at a cold and windy Brentwood Arena on Saturday.
Manager Mark Bentley named the same side that had beaten Basildon United 4-0 on Easter Monday.
After Brentwood came close twice in quick succession from a corner, Sam Collins nearly gave Canvey the lead on 13 minutes when he pulled the trigger from 25-yards in a central position. His left-footed strike was looking good before catching a deflection and flying inches wide of the post with the keeper beaten.
The hosts had a similar chance of their on 22 minutes when forward Charlee Hughes advanced towards goal and also saw a shot deflect wide off the boot of a defender with Harry Palmer rooted to the spot.
Ten minutes later George Unwin brought the ball down the right wing and passed to Josh Hutchinson. Mitch Hunter tackled Hutchinson but the ball rebounded back off the winger and allowed him a run into the box. He cut possession back for Frankie Merrifield and the ball was eventually worked across the area for Marlon Agyakwa to strike, but his effort lacked power and goalkeeper Rob Budd saved comfortable diving low to his left.
Brentwood hit the woodwork on 39 minutes when Mitch Hunter’s in-swinging corner was heading underneath the crossbar. The corner was assisted by the strong wind blowing towards the Canvey goal in the first half, but Palmer did well to get something on the ball and punch it onto the crossbar.
Canvey took the lead on the stroke of half time when Frankie Merrifield rose ahead of John Easterford to meet a long ball forwards with a fine flick on header. This released Ade Cole whose shot from the edge of the box deflected off a defender and wrong-footed Rob Budd in the Brentwood goal.
Having fallen behind just before the break, the home side came out of the traps in determined fashion for the second half. A minute after the restart, a cross from the right wing was met with a flick on header at the front post and presented a chance for Tony Stokes. However, the former-Canvey man’s header was straight at Harry Palmer who saved.
Brentwood equalised on 49 minutes when they were awarded a throw on the left wing. The ball was launched into the box and helped on its way thanks to a header from Canvey captain James White. This contact sent the ball into the path of forward Charlee Hughes who finished with a low shot across goal and into the bottom corner.
They nearly scored again five minutes later when Canvey attempted to press the self-destruct button. James White passed the ball back to Harry Palmer, but his pass out to Adetayo Osifuwa in the right back position was heavy and made the defender stretch to keep the ball in play. This allowed Charlee Hughes to close down Osifuwa’s clearance and win the ball, advancing into the area and drawing Harry Palmer off his line to close down the angle.
Instead of shooting, Hughes clipped an excellent ball to the back post and found diminutive winger Alfie Hilton whose header looked like a certain goal. However, the header lacked power and Palmer was able to scramble across his line and keep the ball out on the line.
Kane Gilbert and Ryan Melaugh were both sent on just after the hour mark, with the latter making a huge impact on the outcome of the match.
On 64 minutes Melaugh hit a low shot from the left which Rob Budd saved but could not hold. Ade Cole closed in on the rebound but a defender managed to clear the ball just before Cole could apply the finish.
Melaugh then helped Canvey regain the lead four minutes later when his cross from deep on the left found Ade Cole in the middle of the area, six yards from goal. Cole’s shot was saved at point blank range by Rob Budd, but the loose ball fell perfectly for Frankie Merrifield to steer home his eighth goal in four matches from 12 yards.
Ex-Canvey defender John Easterford nearly restored parity on 76 minutes when Alfie Hilton’s cross from the right found the central defender at the back post. Easterford rose high and headed down towards the bottom corner, but Harry Palmer managed to get down and pull off a superb save.
Ryan Melaugh turned from provider to goal scorer with ten minutes remaining, sealing the victory for his side. Melaugh gained possession 25 yards from goal, skipped past the challenges of two defenders before poking the ball past the keeper and in.
Canvey had further chances to add to scoring, with Frankie Merrfield seeing an acrobatic half volley narrowly miss the top corner and Josh Hutchinson having a shot kept out of the bottom corner by the left foot of Rob Budd.
The final whistle signalled the end to a disappointing season, although a positive end to the campaign ensured a 9th place finish.