Canvey Island recorded a thumping 4-0 win on the Suffolk coast, beating Felixstowe & Walton United 4-0 at The Goldstar Ground on Saturday.
Manager Mark Bentley made four changes from the side that were beaten 1-0 by Soham Town Rangers a week earlier.
The void left by George Allen in central defence after he left for Coggeshall Town in the week was filled by Elliott Warren. Ryan Melaugh dropped out of the squad after dislocating his shoulder last time out, with Adam Vyse and Marlon Agyakwa being named on the bench.
Debuts were handed in midfield to 19-year-old Kane Gilbert and 20-year-old Adam Topley, the latter a late loan signing from neighbours Concord Rangers. Josh Hutchinson also came into the side on the right wing.
The match started at a high tempo, with both sides creating good chances inside the opening exchanges.
In the second minute a Kane Gilbert corner to the back post was headed back across the area by Frankie Merrifield for James White. The Canvey captain’s shot was blocked by a defender, as was Gilbert’s follow up from a tight angle which was kept out by the man on the post.
Soon afterwards a cross from the right found Josh Hutchinson on the edge of the six-yard box in a central position. Hutchinson met the cross with a glancing header across goal which Felixstowe goalkeeper Jack Spurling was able to save diving to his right.
The home side could have taken the lead themselves on six minutes when the ball was played down the right for forward Rhys Henry to run onto. Henry chipped a cross into the box for strike partner Jordan Matthews to attack, but his powerful header was straight at Harry Palmer who was able to save.
On 26 minutes the home side were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal to the left of goal. Former-Canvey player Stuart Ainsley came up from his left back position to strike the dead ball, grazing the top of the crossbar.
The Gulls should have taken the lead two minutes later when a ball over the top saw Martin Tuohy spring the offside trap. Defender Rhys Barber retreated to get between Tuohy and goal, but the forward sat the centre back down with a smart turn on the edge of the box leaving himself with only the keeper to beat.
However, Tuohy’s shot was straight at Jack Spurling and the keeper was able to parry the ball away from goal.
There were further chances before the half was over. On 37 minutes Kane Gilbert saw a diving header go inches wide after a tempting cross from the left by Sam Collins.
Then, with two minutes remaining, Josh Hutchinson broke through the home defence with a determined run. His first shot from 18 yards was saved by the keeper, with his follow up effort from a tighter angle being blocked inside the six-yard box.
Canvey took the lead ten minutes into the second half following one of the many corners they were awarded during the match.
After the danger had initially been cleared, Jose Figura worked the ball back out to the right wing for Frankie Merrifield. The midfielder got the better of Stuart Ainsley, sending a cross to the back post which went over the keeper and crept inside the post to score his seventh of the season.
The advantage was doubled less than four minutes later when the ball was played into the box from the left and found Josh Hutchinson. The winger took a touch before rifling a shot into the bottom corner.
Things could have gotten even better for the Gulls on 65 minutes when Frankie Merrifield was allowed to run into space in the opposition half. Merrifield’s shot from 25 yards caught a deflection and was heading for the bottom corner before being kept out thanks to a full stretch dive to his left by Jack Spurling.
The points were effectively sealed on 77 minutes when substitute Jack Simmons played a low cross from the left to the front post when Martin Tuohy was lurking. The forward stuck out a leg and flicked a shot across goal and into the bottom corner.
The icing on the cake came three minutes later when Tuohy scored second and Canvey’s fourth. Jack Simmons was the provider once again, clipping a free kick from the right to the far side of the area which Tuohy met with an outrageous swivelling volley to send the ball crashing home.
Kane Gilbert had been superb on debut and nearly scored the goal his performance deserved with five minutes remaining. Jack Simmons’ cross from the left was headed down by Martin Tuohy for the young midfielder, but his goalbound shot was cleared off the line.
Mark Bentley Post-Match Interview with Simon Pitts