Six on the Island


Att: 331

CANVEY ISLAND – 6  [Vaughan 22.46. Gregory 48. Tilson 53. Duffy 78. Clark 90]

SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Williams 48. Whitmarsh 55]

Match Reporter: Bob

Who went to Morcambe last season and came back thinking “How the fuck did we lose that 6-2?” when we nearly had them in the second half? Well I think I just watched the video repeat on Tuesday night. But in real life. The difference being one’s cold and in fucking Canvey, the other’s a video.

Anyone who has watched Sutton play over the last few months must of thought to themselves at sometime that “if the opposition had a goal scorer, they would have murdered us”, well on this occasion they did and they did! On arrival at the ground, at about 6.40pm, my first impression was “surely the game can’t be played on that” as there was small puddles of water all over the pitch, with it being worst in the middle, but a lot of forking and a few wheelbarrows of sand later the game actually took place. I wish it had been called off to be fair.

As the match started you could tell from the opening few passes that the combination of the sand and the water had turned the middle of the pitch into a sticky bog and that a normally strong 50 yard pass along the floor would go all of about 3 feet. Worse still, with Canvey forcing their first corner within the time it took for the Sutton contingent to walk down to the far end goal, the concerns were high as to how this match was going to turn out. With Canvey’s first corner successfully dealt with, the second on 11 minutes from the right caused far more concern when Steve Ward found space in the box, but he could only direct his header inches over the bar. Five minutes later Gareth Howells was tested again when a Canvey player ran onto a long through ball but the shot was directed straight at Howells who gratefully accepted the easy save.

Suttons first noteworthy chance fell to Paul Whitmarsh on 18 minutes, who from just outside the box on the left forced Ashley Harrison in the Canvey goal to fingertip his shot around the far post. Nko Ekoku headed the resulting corner wide. With the match fairly even to this point the opening goal came out of nothing when in the 22nd minute, a hopeful toe-poke forward from halfway inside the Sutton half found the defence asleep and Wayne Vaughan took full advantage as he collected the ball and held off the centre backs while slotting the ball home past the advancing Howells.

Going a goal down seemed to kick start Sutton into life, and as a result they stepped up a gear and for the next 20 minutes played the best football of the match. On 28 minutes Ekoku had a good run down the left and after laying the ball off to Dave Harlow he received a nasty late challenge from a Canvey defender. The referee played the advantage and Harlow squared the ball to the impressive Nick Williams and his shot from 20 yards was well saved by Harrison. In the 34th minute a quick throw out from Howells found Harlow and a quick ball out to the left sent Ekoku clear, unfortunately the move was so quick there was nobody in the box when the resulting cross came in and it was safely caught by the keeper.

Two minutes later Dave Harlow, who was playing his best football since Billericay, laid the ball of to Rob Haworth, who was as equally impressive, on the edge of the box and he brilliantly back heeled to Williams who’s powerful shot was defused on the shit pitch and was easily saved by Harrison. Four minutes from half-time Canvey took over again and a neat 6-man move was only stopped at the last hurdle by a brilliant defending tackle by Ryan Palmer when all looked lost. With two minutes to go Howells comes out of his box to clear the ball only to see the ball stick in the mud. A Canvey player runs onto the loose ball and rounds the helpless Howells, fortunately the defence got back to cover the goal but they clear the danger only to Steve Parmenter 25 yards out who’s shot just goes over the bar. Phew! With Canvey piling on the pressure and the first half entering injury time Chris Duffy has a shot from the left hand side of the box. Howells reacts well and blocks the shot but the ball comes back out into the box and Howells brilliantly tips the rebound around the post making up for his error just minutes before.

The half-time interval allows a trip to the tea bar to try a recommended £2 hotdog in a French bread crusty roll. These turn out to be very nice indeed and well worth the fee, if Chalmers was here I’m sure the tea bars takings would have doubled! The other talking point of the first half was the impressive looking bungalows at the sides of the ground and the free view of the game you get from the balcony or through the windows! Lucky bastards in the warm. Although they do of course still live in Canvey.

Anyway back to the second half and in the opening minute Gareth Howells comes out of his area to clear a back pass, but as the ball rolls towards him, he lines up his kick and totally misses the ball (remember the Bradford keeper Gary Walsh against Man Utd a couple of weeks ago), leaving Vaughn with just the pitch to beat and he scores the easiest goal he’s ever scored in his life. Yes Gareth Howells the man who’s saved us single-handed so many times over the last couple of seasons Fucked Up. Well if even the best have to have a “bad day in the office” at least it’s in a match that’s not decided by the odd goal! Two minutes later the Sutton outfield players, (for once not to blame for a goal), decide to spare their keepers blushes and get the “U’s” back into the game. Danny Brooker wins the ball on the right wing and passes to Nick Williams who weaves his way into the corner of the box and unleashes an unstoppable curling left foot shot into the far post off the underside of the bar. Fucking Hell, class, sign him up, quick, get a pen!!

With Sutton back in the game Canvey start to turn the screw again. On 53 minutes Vaughan has a good run down the right but with some good defending the ball goes out for a corner. The corner comes across and is met by a Canvey head, Howells can only parry the effort and Neil Gregory pokes the loose ball home. Bugger. Two minutes later though, Williams has the ball on the right and with a defence splitting pass gets the ball to Paul Whitmarsh in the box. He finds a yard of space and produces a quality finish almost identical to Williams’ effort a few minutes earlier. Yes!! 3-2!! At this point my stress levels are at boiling point. With four goals in ten minutes I’m trying frantically to make notes of the goals, keep the lazy git’s who couldn’t be bothered to turn up (you know who you are) informed of the score via text messages whilst trying to prevent frost bite setting into my hands! Ok lads, no more goals for a while, pleeease.

On 59 minutes and with Sutton looking for the equaliser Ekoku has a “handbag’s” incident on the left with a Canvey defender which results in a long chat from the referee, something along the lines of put your handbag away son, this is a mans game. The 65th minute probably saw the last meaningful chance for Sutton in this match when Rob Haworth produced some good work down the right and shot to force a corner, but the resulting corner comes to nothing. By the 75th minute Sutton start to tire and an equaliser doesn’t look like it’s going to come and Howells is forced into a stunning double save by a Canvey shot from the edge of the box.

In the 78th minute a ball into the Sutton box causes chaos and the defence just aren’t strong enough to clear the danger and Steve Tilson beats the weak tackles and places the ball wide of Howells into the far post at the second attempt. Two minutes later, with ten minutes left on the clock, the Sutton player’s heads have dropped and another ball into the edge of the Sutton box from the right is well controlled by Chris Duffy and is powerfully finished past the helpless Howells. A string of substitutions follow with Matt Gray replacing Whitmarsh for Sutton on 81 minutes, and Craig Davidson and Steve Clark replacing Mick Bodley and Neil Gregory on 83 and 85 minutes respectively. Within a minute Howells is called upon to deal with a shot from the Canvey left, which he saves well.

In the 88th minute, with Sutton already accepting defeat, a good run and move by Duffy sets up substitute Steve Clark and with the back four not looking like they can be bothered any more allow Clark into the box and he finishes his move with ease. A couple of minutes later the referee decides he’s seen enough and blows for full time. So the end of the match and just my luck, forced to do the match report for only the second time this season and I’m hoping for a boring 1-0 win with not much to report, but what do I get? A bloody 8-goal thriller with loads to report. This’ll take bloody ages! Cheers Taz. Git.

In closing, what have we learnt tonight, well how to bloody finish for a start and how to accept gifts when there given to you, also that Nick Williams will probably get many more chances to shine in the first team. Hopefully!

Sutton’s man of the match.  Nick Williams.

TEAM: Howells, Brooker, Horner, Boothe, Palmer, Harlow, Williams, Baker, Whitmarsh, Haworth, Ekoku   SUBS : Gray,  McCormack, Smith

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