HEYBRIDGE AT THEIR WORST?
NO, CANVEY AT THEIR BEST!
This was a superb performance by Canvey Island against a team that, quite frankly, just didn't have a clue. The seven goals and the clean sheet were a just reward for a team that was sparkling up front, and rock solid at the back.
There is rarely any great atmosphere at Scraley Road, but tonight, in spite of the terrible news coming over from America, the air was literally buzzing, and it was all down to Canvey.
The football was good and flowing. The most appealing aspect of Canvey's game was their ability to send the ball forward with such precision. Time after time they prised the home defence apart and players ran forward into spaces, almost unchecked. The home defence was caught napping time after time and they spent far too much time looking to the linesman for help, instead of organising themselves into a real defence.
At the other end it was quite a different story. One can only feel sorry for Ashley Harrison as he had so little to do, such was the quality of the defence in front of him. Steve Ward is likely to be out for a few more weeks with his groin strain, but Peter Smith will not want to give up his place without a fight. Ben Chenery was looking good and stalwart Mick Bodley did not put a foot wrong all night.
The scoring opened on just 14 minutes and it was Peter Smith who started things happening with a superb tackle in midfield from which he sent the ball forward and into the danger area. The whole team was working hard and eventually the ball came in from the left and found Steve Tilson 20yds out. He unleashed a terrific shot that bounced past the 'keeper and Canvey were in the lead.
Heybridge did have the odd spell of possession but always deep, never in the danger zone. One sensed that they didn't really know what to do with the ball whenever they got it. Quite unlike their visitors. Canvey knew that they had to push the ball forward and this is what they did so well. On 31 minutes Steve Tilson added to his goal tally after Mark Stimson ran wide to collect a ball that flashed off Paul Cobb's head. The Heybridge defenders called for off-side, meanwhile Steve Tilson called for the ball. Result; Tilly was able to ram home from the edge of the 18yd box.
Steve Parmenter is one of those players who never stops running and it was his perseverance, just two minutes later, that created Canvey's third goal, this time the scorer was Paul Cobb. Parms chased some 20yds to reach a ball as it ran to the bye-line. He scooped it up and his cross was low and hard. Cobby was on hand to convert and the game was put beyond the reach of the hapless Heybridge outfit who simply had no answer to Canvey's superiority.
At half-time the referee had to be substituted himself, having pulled a thigh muscle in all the excitement of the first half. A change of ref. and two substitutions didn't bring any change of luck or change of form for Swifts. Instead, they quickly went even further behind when Mark Stimson headed home a peach of a goal from a superb cross from Adam Miller.
Things seemed to be getting easier for Canvey and they looked like they were taking a stroll in the park. Every time they got onto the ball they looked fast and dangerous. Pity Swifts' keeper Kingsley Banks. He had no real defence in front of him and in spite of letting in so many goals, he was probably the home team's best player.
Steve Tilson was upended in the penalty area by substitute Hesse on the hour, but unusually for Canvey's top scorer he could only hit the post when he took the spot kick. Hanging his head in shame poor Tilly had to be satisfied with just two goals as he was substituted just a few minutes later. A true captain's game and once again, chief playmaker.
Steve Parmenter got number five. Much midfield activity resulted in several shots, all being blocked or half-cleared. That is until one of those half-clearances fell to Parms some 20yds out. He teed himself up and hit a thundering shot that Banks could just get a couple of fingers to.
Having been booked for the foul on Tilson, Hesse decided to upend Wayne Vaughan on 81 minutes. Bad mistake! He was shown his second yellow card and went off for an early bath while Wayno - desperate to make up for Tilly's earlier miss - cracked home from the spot to make it six.
Goal number seven was bound to come, it was just a question of who would score it. Mark Stimson looked odds-on favourite when he had one superb header go embarrassingly high and a few moments later the ball was smothered at hsi feet by the brave Banks. But Stimo had the last laugh. With only seconds to go he ran from midfield into the penalty area, ready to tee up a shot. For some reason he stopped and everyone thought the moment was lost. But Stimo had other ideas. With the cheekiest of lobs, he flicked the ball just over Banks' head and that was the icing on the gingerbread.
Seven - nil.
And Heybridge were lucky to get nil ;-)
Match Report by Merv.
Canvey Island - Ashleigh Harrison, John Kennedy, Chris Duffy, Ben Chenery, Mick Bodley, Peter Smith, Steve Tilson, Mark Stimson, Paul Cobb, Adam Miller, Steve Parmenter. Subs: Lee Boylan, Adam Tanner, Wayne Vaughan.
Heybridge Swifts - Kingsley Banks, Mark Cranfield, Lewis Baillie, Daniel Roberts, Russell Tanner, Kelly Pollard, David Kreyling, Ross Taylor, Paul Abrahams, Simon Parker, David Streetley. Subs: Sean Caton, Ronnie Bridges, Heiko Hesse.
Weather Conditions: Dry, mild evening.