Two goals from Tobi Joseph earned Canvey Island a 2-0 win against BetVictor Isthmian League South East playoff finalists Ashford United at a wet Park Lane on Saturday.
Referee Joe Grey had to go into his pocket in the 10th minute to book Ashford left back Jack McIntyre. A good through ball from James White had released Tobi Joseph in behind the Ashford defence before McIntyre brought him down with a challenge as the last man that could have warranted a red card in a competitive fixture.
James White stood over the subsequent free kick, curling a left-footed effort over the wall but narrowly wide of the bottom corner from just outside the box.
Tobi Joseph was involved again soon afterwards when Sam Mott came out of his area to attempt to tackle the forward, missing the ball and catching the man. The referee played the advantage with the ball falling to the feet of Dan Humphreys with an open goal to aim for from 25 yards, but his chip over the defence went agonisingly over.
The visitors came close to opening the scoring on 22 minutes when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box to the left of goal. Tom O’Connor hit a sweetly struck shot across goal with his right foot which flew past the top corner with Lamar Johnson diving desperately to his right.
Canvey were soon back up the other end when a defender inadvertently flicked the ball into the path of Tobi Joseph while trying to dispossess James White. Joseph shot from a tight angle on the left which Mott was able to come off his line and beat away.
The ever-dangerous Joseph had another opportunity on 29 minutes after the ball had fallen loose on the edge of the box. The forward lobbed a shot goalwards which was heading in but kept out on the line by Mott who had raced back from by the penalty spot to make the save.
On 32 minutes Ashford winger Tom O’Connor drove into the area, getting past Ade Osifuwa before squaring for striker Jay May on the edge of the six-yard box. May’s low shot was blocked and went back out to O’Connor who forced a good save from Lamar Johnson, although the flag had been raised for offside against O’Connor.
With the match goalless at half time, Canvey were nearly gifted an opener five minutes into the restart when Ashford left back Jack McIntyre directed a diving header back towards his own goal, picking out Tobi Joseph who was retreating from an offside position. Joseph turned and advanced into the box but saw two shots blocked by the keeper.
Joseph finally scored the goal that his performance warranted on 54 minutes when he finished off a swift Canvey counter attack. Ryan Melaugh ran the ball out of midfield, playing it out left to Tobi Joseph who in turn slid possession through to Kane Gilbert. He held up the ball and played it back to Joseph who finished expertly across goal and into the bottom corner.
Canvey could have had a second on 71 minutes when Joseph played the ball out to the right for Jose Figura to take down the wing. Figura sent over a dangerous cross which found Joseph inside the six-yard box, rising to head the ball ahead of the keeper but only being able to direct it backwards.
Rob Lacey saw a shot blocked by a defender, with James White also being denied with a follow-up from the edge of the area.
Lamar Johnson hadn’t had much to do but did pull off a good save when called upon in the 83rd minute, diving to his left and holding a powerfully struck from 20-yards by Brandon McCarthy.
The victory was sealed a minute later when Tobi Joseph scored his second of the afternoon. The forward latched onto a through ball and dinked it over the keeper who had come to meet it at the edge of the area. Joseph still had work to do, but sold a defender a dummy which allowed him to roll his shot calmly into an open goal.
Photo: KJA Sports Images
LISTEN: Mark Bentley Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts