Canvey Island recorded a morale-boosting 2-2 draw against 2nd placed Maldon & Tiptree in the Bostik North at The Frost Hire Stadium on Saturday.
Manager Mark Bentley named the same side that impressed in defeat a week earlier against Felixstowe & Walton United.
The match started at a frantic pace with both teams scoring inside the opening five minutes.
Canvey took the lead in the fourth minute when Ade Cole lead a breakaway, passing to Ryan Melaugh overlapping him on the left wing. Melaugh sent over a superb cross which Frankie Merrifield was able to turn home on the volley from inside the six-yard box.
However, less than sixty seconds later the lead was wiped out as Maldon scored straight from the kick off. Some poor defending saw striker Liam Hope receive possession just inside the box, and the experienced forward finished across goal and into the bottom corner.
The visitors then came close to taking the lead soon afterwards when Eddie-Lewis Dsane cut along the edge of the area from the left before pulling the trigger. Dsane’s shot was on target but saved by Harry Palmer diving low to his right.
Maldon started to get on top of proceedings, but after failing to score a second goal they nearly gifted Canvey one of their own on 19 minutes when left back Matthew Briggs’ under-hit backpass was intercepted by Frankie Merrifield.
Merrifield only had goalkeeper Ben McNamara to beat and opted to try and round the keeper, but the Australian shot-stopper was able to slide in and steal possession.
It was a similar story up the other end four minutes later when Zack Littlejohn gave possession away cheaply to Liam Hope. The forward shot from a tight angle on the right which went across goal and narrowly wide of the far post.
The two sides continued to exchange chances. On 26 minutes some clever footwork from Ade Cole saw him past a defender and allowed him to head towards goal, although his eventual shot went high and wide from a good position.
Maldon were awarded a succession of free kicks around the edge of the Canvey box in the close stages of the first half. The closest they came was in the 35th minute with a free kick in a central position inches outside the box. Laste Dombaxe stepped up and curled an effort which beat the wall and the keeper but clipped the outside of the post.
With the scores level at the break, Ade Cole had a great chance to put Canvey ahead three minutes into the second half when he found himself in space 18 yards from goal. Cole’s low shot look destined for the bottom corner but whistled past the post.
The visitors took the lead on 59 minutes when Adetayo Osifuwa conceded possession in the right back position. The ball was played into the box and held up before being laid off for former-Canvey winger Kojo Awotwi who scored from the edge of the box.
Canvey equalised in stunning fashion seven minutes later as Frankie Merrifield scored his second of the afternoon. A long ball forward was controlled by Merrifield with a brilliant first touch with his back to goal. With the ball still in the air, his second touch allowed him to turn towards goal, and this third saw him thunder a shot into the top corner from 20 yards.
The Jammers nearly won the match at the death when Liam Hope curled an excellent shot from outside the box on the left which left Harry Palmer rooted to the spot. However, Hope’s shot hit the top of the crossbar before going out for a goal kick, much to the relief of the home support.
Photo: KJA Sports Images