Canvey Island 2 Blues 3
Dramatic finale sees the Blues claim a second successive victory
Leiston secured their second successive victory but they left it late, scoring twice in stoppage time to break Canvey Island hearts. The hosts were leading 2-1 going into stoppage time before a dramatic finale saw the points head to Suffolk when they looked destined to stay in Essex. The visitors made one change from the side that performed so well in defeating Havant & Waterlooville at the weekend with Joe Francis replacing Taylor Hastings who dropped to the bench. Attacking with the wind in their faces Leiston made all the early running with Byron Lawrence instrumental in everything offensively. After a couple of half chances flashed across and wide of Conor Gough’s goal the first real chance fell on 16 minutes. Some great work down the right by Matt Blake saw him dispose Steve Sheehan and as he entered the box he squared to Leon Ottley-Gooch whose goal bound effort was blocked by the sprawling save of Conor Gough. Canvey, to this point, had offered little but as the half eased beyond the half hour mark they came more into the game, restricting the movement and passing of the visitors who to this point, were controlling the game. Former Leiston winger Jack Simmons saw a drilled effort well saved by Nick Eyre and then Mitchell Gilbey’s improvised hooked effort with his back to goal only just cleared the bar and landed on the roof of Nick Eyre’s net. But the visitors will have felt disappointed not to have gone into the break ahead. First, some fine goalkeeping from Conor Gough whipped the ball away from the boot of Leon Ottley-Gooch as he looked destined to score after the Canvey stopper had dived full length to deny Jack Ainsley’s shot from the edge of the box. Then on the stroke of half time Seb Dunbar somehow fired wide with the goal at his mercy after Jack Ainsley had raced into the box onto Ollie Brown’s pass and his inviting pass to the far post was placed wide by Seb Dunbar.
HT - Canvey Island 0 Blues 0
The Blues wastefulness proved costly as on 58 minutes the hosts went ahead. It was a sizzling run and finish from Jack Simmons although questions were asked how the former Blues winger managed to weave a run eluding six Blues players before sending a swerving 20 yard effort high into Nick Eyre’s net. On the second half showing Canvey were worthy of their lead and stoutly repelled the visitors advances as Leiston toiled for a way back.The visitors appealed for a push on Jack Ainsley in the box while Matt Blake did well to create space in the box but found the side netting. What Leiston need was a moment of magic and that duly arrived seven minutes from time. There looked little danger when Byron Lawrence collected a loose ball some 40+ yards from goal and wide on the right. But he cut inside and advanced towards goal before unleashing and unstoppable 25+ yard left foot effort into the top right hand corner of Conor Gough’s goal. An incredible strike! No sooner had Leiston’s celebrations rescinded they found themselves behind. 30 seconds infact as a fine curling effort from Jack Simmons restored the Essex side’s advantage. It looked all over for Leiston but in the first minute of added on time the Blues drew level again. Skipper Tom Bullard was well placed from a Gareth Heath corner to flash home the equaliser from eight yards. A draw now looked a certainty but dramatically Leiston went onto claim all the points in the fourth minute of stoppages and it was that man Byron Lawrence again. His well struck effort from just outside the box flying through the dive of Conor Gough to send the visiting supporters behind the goal into raptures.
FT - Canvey Island 2 Blues 3
Canvey Island - Gough, Morrison, Dumas, Chatting, O'Rawe, Sheehan, Simmons, O'Leary, Gilbey (May 56 mins), Tuohy (Gordon 75 mins), Agyakwa. Subs not used - Lacey and Lawson.
Blues - Eyre, Brown, Dunbar, Ainsley, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence, Heath, Blake, Ottley-Gooch (Finch 65 mins), Francis (Winter 65 mins). Subs not used - Saker, Schaar and Hastings.
Man of the Match - Byron Lawrence
Referee - Neil West
Attendance - 221