Canvey Island eased into the Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round with a 2-0 win away to Spartan South Midlands League Division One side Stotfold on Saturday.
Manager Mark Bentley made three changes from the side that beat Grays Athletic in midweek. Zack Littlejohn replaced Elliott Warren in central defence, while Rob Lacey came info Albert Levett in the middle of the park.
Jason Hallett was brought into partner George Purcell in attack, with Tobi Joseph moving out to the right wing and Kane Gilbert dropping to the bench.
Canvey dominated the ball in the opening half although struggled to convert this possession into too many clear-cut opportunities.
On 8 minutes James White played a ball down the left for Josh Hutchinson to run onto. The winger got to the touchline and crossed low to the near post where Jason Hallett was lurking, but defender Tommy Carroll was alert to the danger and put the ball behind for a corner before Hallett could apply the finish.
Tobi Joseph had a shot from the right turned behind by the keeper on 17 minutes, diving low to his left to make a good save.
Stotfold’s sole chance of the opening half came on 26 minutes when Owen Robertson fizzed across a powerful cross for Kim Forsythe to turn goalwards first time. The forward managed to direct the ball towards the top corner but it flew a yard or so over with Lamar Johnson rooted to the spot.
The Gulls were presented with the perfect chance to open the scoring on the half hour mark when Tobi Joseph was tripped inside the box. George Purcell stepped up to take the penalty but saw his low spot kick saved by Liam Gooch diving low to his right.
Canvey came close to scoring again three minutes later when Tobi Joseph played the ball out to George Purcell on the right. Purcell played the ball infield for Jason Hallett who in turn shifted it on to Tobi Joseph who had made up ground to join in with the attack that he started, although his shot was saved by Liam Gooch with an excellent diving stop.
The deadlock was finally broken on 42 minutes with Tobi Joseph involved once again. This time he wriggled between two players out on the right wing, cutting the ball back to George Purcell who was unmarked just inside the box. Purcell pulled the trigger first time, with his shot catching a deflection off defender Tommy Carroll which wrongfooted the keeper and found the back of the net.
Mark Bentley was forced into a change a half time after James White picked up an injury with seconds remaining in the first half. After assessing White during the interval, the decision was made to bring Albert Levett on in his place.
Much the same as the first half, Canvey had lots of possession but failed to seriously test the keeper in the opening exchanges.
Inside three minutes of the restart Tobi Joseph poked the ball through for George Purcell to latch onto inside the box, but a well-timed tackle from Stotfold captain Myles Lee prevented Purcell from getting his shot off when well placed.
On 55 minutes a cross from the left by Josh Hutchinson strayed a bit closer to the target than he would have hoped, but in doing so could have crept in at the far post. Liam Gooch did well however to prevent Hutchinson from finding out, palming the ball wide and out for a throw.
Chances kept coming for Canvey, but both George Purcell and Josh Hutchinson dragged shots wide from the left as the match entered the final 25 minutes.
The victory was finally sealed on 72 minutes when substitute Dan Humphreys played the ball down the right for George Purcell to collect. Purcell turned inside his marked and unleashed a tremendous shot which looked to be heading for the top corner before striking the underside of the crossbar.
The ball bounced down but didn’t cross the line, but thankfully Tobi Joseph was closing in to head home the rebound for his second goal in as many matches.
Canvey are next in action on Bank Holiday Monday when they travel to Hullbridge Sports in a return to BetVictor Isthmian League North action, kick off at 15:00.
LISTEN: Mark Bentley Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts