Canvey Island 1-1 Wealdstone
1 - 1
Wealdstone edged a little closer to the Ryman Premier safety zone on Saturday away at Park Lane with a point that in previous seasons would have been highly prized. And although Canvey are not perhaps the force in non league football that they once were, this was still a hard won result despite a disappointing 78th minute equaliser from the home side that cancelled out Lee Chappell’s excellent first half strike.
Greg Ngoyi was preferred to start up front with co striker Ben Alexander; Davis Haule and Danny Spendlove were on the bench for this encounter against a 7th placed Canvey side that smashed and grabbed a 3-2 win at The Vale during October.
Wealdstone made their attacking intentions clear from the first whistle and made some very positive moves with the wind behind them. Greg Ngoyi went close when he struck the Gulls crossbar as early as the eighth minute.
Following a period of pressure Stones took a deserved lead on 28 minutes. The live wire Lee Chappell broke forward and initially shaped to put in a cross. However the wing back spotted a gap at the near post and squeezed a great left footed shot past Gulls keeper Ricky Wiseman.
The Gulls appeared to struggle under pressure for the remainder of the first period and seemed unable to get their shots in and Stones keeper Sean Thomas remained untroubled. Wealdstone, though, were unable to add to their tally despite a couple of opportunities that came their way.
The second period was more open as a contest with both sides playing some attractive passing football to create opportunities.
But it was the Stones that came closest to doubling their score in the very early part of the half. Big Ben Alexander’s firm strike from 20 yards thumped against the upright and was unfortunately cleared to safety.
With the away not capitalising on their chances, it was inevitable that Canvey would carve out chances themselves as the match progressed.
Following a hotly disputed throw in that was awarded to the home side, a cross from Gulls Craig Davidson found striker Jay Curran whose glancing header was directed past Thomas into the top right hand corner of the net to level the scores on 78 minutes.
Stones almost regained the lead soon after but again failed to capitalise on a defensive error by Chris Moore; Ricky Wiseman had to save well on two more occasions.
An injury to match referee, Mr Hayto, held play up for some minutes when he was unfortunately struck on the head by a clearance; he required attention by both physios but was fine to continue.
Some late Stones chances came and went. Substitutes Danny Spendlove and Davis Haule both hit under strength shots when well placed. The best chance, however, fell to David Hicks in the dying minutes when his close range effort was somehow saved by Wiseman with his legs although he knew little about it.
Canvey thought they had snatched a winner but substitute Leon Antoine’s ‘goal’ was ruled offside as Gulls celebrations were cut short.
Despite the dropped points Stones will draw positives from this hard fought match during which some good football was played.
As a result, Stones drop two places in the league which makes gaining all 3 points on offer against bottom club Heybridge Swifts next Saturday (March 14) all the more important. Before then, on Tuesday evening (March 10th), Wealdstone take on Hendon at Vale Farm (Wembley FC) in the Middlesex Senior Cup semi-final.
Wealdstone: Sean Thomas, Carl Martin, Lee Chappell, James Gray, Alan Massey, Ryan Ashe, Kieron Forbes , Chris O’Leary, Ben Alexander (Subbed 69) ,Greg Ngoyi (Subbed 45) David Hicks. Substitutes: Danny Spendlove (On 45), Marvin McCoy, Davis Haule (On 69) Callum Martin, Darren Locke