Canvey Island suffered a heavy and demoralising defeat away to league leaders Maldon & Tiptree on Tuesday night, losing 5-0 in the BetVictor Isthmian League North.
The gulf in class between the two sides was evident from the first whistle, with Canvey doing well to get into half time only one goal down before being put to the sword in the second half.
Manager Mark Bentley made two changes from the side that were beaten away to Coggeshall Town at the weekend.
Injuries to defenders Alex Stephenson and Sammy Knott picked up on Saturday meant that both missed out. Elliott Warren replaced Stephenson in central defence, while Dan Humphreys dropped back from midfield into the left back position.
George Purcell came back into attack having served a one-match suspension, partnering Jason Hallett in attack meaning that Tobi Joseph reverted back to his place on the right wing.
The home side came out of the traps quickly, dominating the ball and penning Canvey back in their own half.
This pressure created the first chance of the evening in the third minute when forward Jorome Slew got a shot off from the edge of the area towards the bottom corner, forcing a good save from Lamar Johnson low down to his right.
Having come close, Slew went one better two minutes later when he gave Maldon the lead. A long ball forwards from the right back position caught the Canvey defence flat-footed, allowing Slew to burst through onside and showing good pace and control.
Slew made his way into the box, shooting across goal and in just before Ade Osifuwa could make what would have been a heroic block.
The pressure didn’t ease off with the goal, with crosses in from the right proving particularly difficult for the Gulls to defend.
On nine minutes Laste Dombaxe delivered an excellent free kick to the back post which tall striker Charlee Hughes rose to meet with his head. Hughes was unmarked but sent his header over the bar from six yards.
Hughes met a similar cross, this time from William Cracknell in open play, in more accomplished fashion on 15 minutes. This time he directed his header down and back across goal from the left, beating Lamar Johnson who got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out. However, Hughes’ celebrations were cut short as the goal was chalked off for offside.
The assistant referee’s flag came to Canvey’s rescue again on the half hour mark, once again denying Hughes. This time the forward had latched onto a low through ball and finished into the bottom corner, although he was adjudged to have mistimed his run and the goal was ruled out.
Attempts on the Maldon goal had been short supply for the majority of the first half, but Canvey managed to create two decent changes in the final 10 minutes.
On 35 minutes Albert Levett played a low pass into the feet of Jason Hallett inside the area. Hallett received the ball with his back to goal, turning well and firing a left-footed shot wide of the top corner.
They had an even better opportunity seven minutes later when they found themselves with a man over on the left. Levett squared for Josh Hutchinson who took a touch and found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Ben McNamara, although his shot was brilliantly blocked by a recovery run from Quba Gordon.
Canvey had finished the first half with a glimmer of hope, but that had completely evaporated inside five minutes of the restart as Maldon opened up a three-goal lead.
On 47 minutes a ball down the left found the run of Jorome Slew who had snuck in behind Ade Osifuwa. Slew got his head down and made his way into the box, cutting inside the attempted block tackle of Mike Finneran and shooting across goal for his second of the evening.
A minute later Lamar Johnson produced a stunning double save, diving to his left to keep out Tyrique Hyde’s shot from 20 yards before picking himself up and blocking Danny Parish’s attempt at the rebound from close range.
The match was well and truly over on 50 minutes later when Danny Parish received the ball on the right, keeping hold of possession despite taking a tumble. Parish played the ball across the face of goal for Charlee Hughes to finally score the goal he had threatened all evening.
Canvey’s injury-hit defence suffered another blow on 59 minutes as right back Ade Osifuwa hobbled off, being replaced by Sam Dulieu.
The Jammers scored their fourth goal on 62 minutes when the assistant referee flagged to indicate that Dan Humphreys had fouled Jorome Slew just inside the penalty area. Slew picked himself up and picked out the bottom corner from the spot to complete his hat-trick despite a good attempt from Lamar Johnson who guessed correctly in diving full to his left.
It was 5-0 two minutes later with a goal that epitomised Canvey’s second half performance. A ball out to the left found Jorome Slew who had all the time in the world to play a ball across the face of goal for Danny Parish to tap home from close range.
Maldon had chances to extend their lead even further, but a combination of some good goalkeeping from Lamar Johnson and a touch of fortune as Jorome Slew struck the foot of the post from a tight angle ensured the damage was not even worse.