Brilliant Wanderers stun Canvey Island to make FA Cup progress

Ben Deakon heads the ball towards the goal but can't get enough power to trouble the Canvey Island k

Ben Deakon heads the ball towards the goal but can't get enough power to trouble the Canvey Island keeper, during the Ipswich Wanderers V Canvey Island (FA Cup) match at Humber Doucy Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK on 12 September 2015 Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

A sensational team performance from Ipswich Wanderers saw them topple Ryman Premier Division giants Canvey Island on Saturday, and in doing so move into the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Glenn Read’s heroes turned in the most impressive of displays to stun the Gulls, who had no answer to Matt McKenzie’s superbly-taken 34th-minute header.

Nine times out of 10, Canvey, who ply their trade two leagues above Wanderers, would probably have won this game.

But, as we all know, football is not played on paper, and this is the FA Cup we are talking about!

And Wanderers were certainly good value for the win in a cracking spectacle. Squad numbers 1-16 all played their part for the Suffolk side, but young goalkeeper Jack Spurling must be praised for some outstanding saves, while the formidable central defensive pairing of Mark Goldfinch and David Head rolled back the years to continuously deny Canvey a breakthrough.


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As expected, the Essex side quickly took control of proceedings on a glorious playing surface at Humber Doucy Lane, with Spurling flying to his left to deny Martin Touhy after seven minutes.

But for all their possession, Canvey couldn’t find another way to test the youngster in the remainder of the half with Wanderers’ stubborn resilience proving too tough to breach.

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Patiently biding their time to strike, Wanderers infuriated the visitors by taking a 34th-minute lead as the hard-working Ross Myhill pressurised high up the pitch before sending over the perfect cross for McKenzie to crash home.

Stunned, Canvey sought an equaliser but Glen Poole blazed an inviting opening over, while Head read the aftermath of a free-kick perfectly to calmly nod off the goal-line.

The visitors continued to ask questions at the start of the second half, forcing corner after corner.

But under Head and Goldfinch’s command, Wanderers answered and dealt everything thrown at them, although they will be thankful to Myhill’s superb goal-line clearance in the 53rd minute.

Not that Wanderers were just focusing on protecting their lead. After Deacon saw his one-on-one saved by the legs of Gough, the keeper then pulled off three splendid saves to keep Canvey intact – firstly, turning McKenzie’s fierce effort onto the post, before denying McKenzie and Myhill from the resulting corner.

Many inside the Doucy might have thought that these misses would cost Wanderers dear, especially as Poole’s dangerous 65th-minute free-kick looked destined for the top corner, only for Spurling to intervene.

The keeper then stood strong to keep out Ozzy Adeniji’s powerful strike at his near post, before Deacon missed another golden opportunity to double Wanderers’ lead as his 76th-minute one-on-one trickled narrowly wide.

With the clock ticking, Canvey desperately tried to rescue the tie, but to no avail. Time and time again, their route to goal was blocked as every single Wanderers player put their body on the line to protect their slender lead.

Tyrell Miller-Rodney must have thought his deflected effort had spared his side’s blushes, only for Spurling to divert the ball wide at the very last second.

But the stopper saved the best save until the first minute of injury-time, somehow turning Tuohy’s goal-bound header around the post from barely four yards – a save that left everyone in the Doucy asking ‘how?’.

You have just got to love the FA Cup.

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