Canvey Island produced another encouraging pre-season performance to beat reigning BetVictor Isthmian League North champions Bowers & Pitsea 1-0 at Park Lane on Saturday.
The Bowers starting XI included former-Canvey winger Marlon Agyakwa who joined Rob Small’s side in the summer.
The first chance of the match came in the 12th minute when the ball was slid down the left for Bowers’ winger James Thomas. He sent over an excellent cross which looked to be finding the run of Brad Warner. However, the forward missed his header by a matter of inches under pressure from Alex Stephenson.
Two minutes later the ball was worked out to Lewis Manor on the right who took a touch before shooting low. Goalkeeper Lamar Johnson got down well, diving to his left and making this save and preventing the ball going behind for a corner.
Moments later the ball was up the other end when Canvey were awarded a corner. Sammy Knott sent over a great ball which found the head of captain James White, but his effort was saved by ex-Hornchurch goalkeeper Callum Chafer.
The visitors were awarded a soft penalty on the stroke of half time when Ade Osifuwa was harshly adjudged to have bundled Lewis Manor over inside the box. Brad Warner stepped up but fired his spot kick high over the bar to ensure the two teams went into half time deadlocked at 0-0.
Canvey started the second half brightly, with George Purcell striking a dipping shot from 25 yards inches over the crossbar inside a minute of the restart.
The Gulls then took the lead on 56 minutes when Josh Hutchinson set off on a determined run down the middle of the pitch that saw him cut through the heart of the Bowers defence. Having created an angle for himself, Hutchinson struck a low shot with his left foot which went across goal and past Callum Chafer to open the scoring.
A host of substitutions from both sides disrupted the flow of the match in the second half, but this didn’t stop goalscoring chances from occurring.
On 72 minutes, Canvey trialist forward David Manu turned Bowers captain Martyn Stokes and headed towards goal. Manu shot from just inside the box, but Stokes recovered well to deflect the ball into the side netting for a corner.
Up the other end, referee Gary Jerden played a good advantage five minutes later to allow Bowers to continue an attack down the right wing despite a foul from Martin Lacey. The ball was played in to the box and laid off for Luke Hirst, but his goalbound shot was brilliantly blocked by a defender.
The final attempt on goal came with six minutes remaining through the pacey David Manu once more. This time he broke through on goal down the centre but saw his curling right-footed shot saved by Callum Chafer diving to his left.
Photo: KJA Sports Images
LISTEN: Mark Bentley post-match interview