Monday, March 20, 2023

Football: Rocks lose their way in Canvey

Ryman Premier

Canvey Island 2 v 1 East Thurrock United

THIS was a disjointed start to the new year for both sides, but Canvey came away the happier with a Ryman Premier win their second half dominance deserved but both sides will need to improve if the rest of the season isn’t to be a disappointment reports the Thurrock Enquirer.

East Thurrock enjoyed most of the possession in the first half but lacked a cutting edge and had only a 34th minute close range goal from Sam Collins to show for their efforts. The second half belonged almost entirely to the Islanders who blew Rocks away and the visitors were grateful to keeper Elliot Justham that the margin of victory wasn’t greater.

The first half was poor, from start to finish, with a lethargic Canvey pushed back by East Thurrock for much of it, though the visitors struggled to make any real penetration.

They had an early half chance when, from a scramble, James Lawson’s shot was blocked but home keeper Ashley Jones wasn’t troubled until the opening goal, when Collins slid in to force home Kye Ruel’s incisive low ball into the box.

Jones was almost left with egg on his face moments later when he made a complete hash of a back-pass under pressure from Rocks debutant L’heureux Meuga but he spun round with the ball heading towards his net and managed to clear the danger.

Canvey came close to an equaliser late in the half when, from their first real attack of note, Ashley Miller got a foot to a low cross and the ball looped up into the air. Everyone thought it was going over but the ball dropped onto the crossbar and in the melee that followed East Thurrock were grateful when the ball flashed wide of an upright from the scramble.

In the same goalmouth, ten minutes into the second half Rocks did force the ball over the line from another frantic goalmouth scramble but ref Neil West, who had an inconsistent afternoon, ruled there had been an infringement. Strangely his decision came despite a lack of complaint from Canvey, though there was equal apathy from Rocks in terms of a protest. It was, at that point, typical of the low key nature of a derby match that had rarely caught fire.

However, the spark that was to change the game was the introduction of Canvey sub Harrison Chatting on 64 minutes. He set up what proved to be the equaliser just two minutes later, though the goal owed much to the sublime trickery of Bradley Woods-Garness who denied three East Thurrock players as they tried to take the ball off him and he squeezed an exquisite wide pass out to Chatting who returned the favour with a superb low ball into the box that eluded everyone but the outstretched leg of Rocks centre-back Simon Peddie who knocked it into his own net.

Chatting was looking lively and went on to win the home side’s man-of-the-match award, though that accolade surely ought to have gone to Woods-Garness who conjured up the winning goal out of almost nothing on 70 minutes when he turned his marker and hammered the ball into the roof of the net.

Canvey had numerous other chances during the half to extend their lead, including an effort from Ashley Dumas that brought an outstanding one-handed save from Justham – who had earlier also excelled to deny Woods-Garness when he sprang the visiting back-line.

However, they couldn’t grab the goal to put the game to bed, but in truth they didn’t need it as Rocks were listless and devoid of any cutting edge. There was plenty of effort from the visitors but it lacked focus and you sensed they were resigning to losing after giving a lead away for the tenth time this season – and so it proved.

Canvey boss Steve Tilson was cautious about his side’s victory acknowledging both sides were poor but said he would be putting pressure on his team to start better in future, saying: “We won’t get away with it if we keep giving other sides a start.”


  1. “Rocks lose their way in Canvey”, should read, Rocks lose their way ON Canvey. Don’t want to upset the people of Canvey!!


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