AFC turn on the style
By Kalvin Sargeant
A.F.C. Sudbury Versus Canvey Island The Bostik League Division One North 09/03/2019 The King’s Marsh Stadium
A.F.C. Sudbury welcomed Canvey Island to the Mel Group Stadium on a cool, windy afternoon. Canvey Island went into the game in ninth position in the league as opposed to Sudbury who stand in seventh.
Canvey Island started with purpose, the early combination of defender Adetayo Osifuwa and Frankie Merrifield saw Baris Altintop on hand to see the ball safely behind for a goal kick. Altintop was again on hand to head clear on six minutes as the home side withstood the early pressure.
On nine minutes Tom Maycock broke free, but Harry Palmer was out of his goal swiftly to deny the Sudbury front man. On ten minutes A.F.C. Sudbury took the lead when a fine left wing run by Ross Crane saw his whipped cross turned home by Reece Harris at the far post. Two minutes later and Canvey Island’s Jose Figura fired high over Paul Walker’s crossbar as the visitor’s looked to respond. Joshua Hutchinson got to the A.F.C. Sudbury goal-line, but fine defensive play by Liam Bennett, saw the ball cleared from danger. Just before the half-hour, Reece Harris linked well with Tom Maycock whose quick ball into Isaac Skubich saw his shot blocked. Sudbury came rapidly again at the visitors with Ross Crane hitting the ball over the crossbar from just outside the six yard area.
On thirty-five minutes, the busy Ross Crane sent a low drive towards goal which carried enough muscle for Harry Palmer to have to parry clear. It was two nil to the home side on thirty-nine minutes and it was a goal of some quality. Ben Hammett sent a free-kick across the park to the right wing where Liam Bennett to possession, turned inside two defenders before firing a low shot off the far post and into the net. The home side had settled well and had wrestled the initiative despite playing against a swirling wind. Four minutes from the break Callum Harrison sent a free-kick straight into the arms of Harry
Palmer in the Canvey goal before Reece Harris deftly back-heeled the ball to Tom Maycock in the centre of the penalty area, only for the linesman’s flag to be raised for offside.
A fine start to the half saw Liam Bennett away on goal, but his well-hit shot was blocked. Canvey Island’s Frankie Merryfield fired high over Paul Walker’s goal on forty-eight minutes. Six minutes on and a fine ball out of defence by Paul Hayes almost left Tom Maycock in on goal, but Harry Palmer was out quickly to block the danger. At the other end of the park, Callum Harrison’s well-flighted free-kick fell for Paul Hayes who headed the ball over the visitor’s crossbar. On fifty-seven minutes A.F.C. Sudbury delivered a third goal, and again the quality was exceptional. Ben Hunter’s superb ball set Reece Harris free and his curled shot went in off the inside of the left hand post to settle pleasingly in the back of the net.
Just after the hour Canvey Island had a golden chance to reduce the deficit when Joshua Hutchinson had a free header from seven yards which he somehow put wide of the goal. For the home side, Liam Bennett found Callum Harrison whose shot was thwarted by a superb defensive block which kept the home side tally from increasing further. Substitute Ryan Melaugh saw a shot from within the Sudbury penalty area blocked by Paul Hayes who was leading an excellent Sudbury defence with a performance of experience and one hundred per-cent commitment. Another block by Harry Palmer on seventy minutes denied Tom Maycock as the home side looked for more goals. Two minutes later and Callum Harrison’s fine long ball across the park from the left wing found Reece Harris, but his cross drifted out of play.
Canvey Island continued to work an opening. On Seventy-three minutes Sam Dulieu crossed for Hutchinson whose shot was well saved by Paul Walker diving to his left. Jordan Blackwell came on in the seventy-fourth minute to replace Tom Maycock. On seventy-seven minutes Ryan Melaugh hit a shot wide for Canvey when centrally placed in the home penalty area. Sudbury then replaced Isaac Skubich with Phil Kelly before the injured Ben Hammett made way for Adam Hanson with eight minutes of the tie remaining.
Sam Collins sent a swerving shot towards goal on eighty seven minutes which Paul Walker saved brilliantly diving to his right. At the other end Phil Kelly’s drive was blocked by Canvey ‘keeper Palmer. On ninety minutes Frankie Stone found Martin Tuohy a few yards out and his shot was sensationally saved by the now busy Paul Walker with a fine block. Neither Canvey Island or Paul Walker were finished with Frankie Merrifield bursting free and drawing a superb block from the Sudbury ‘keeper who was in no mood to concede.
A fine performance from the home side with three well-taken goals and a solid defensive display to restore confidence after a 5-1 reverse in mid-week.