Mildenhall concede two late goals to be on brink of relegation

Mildenhall Town players celebrate Tom Debenham's 38th minute goal, which gave them the lead against

Mildenhall Town players celebrate Tom Debenham's 38th minute goal, which gave them the lead against Canvey Island, although they eventually succumbed to a 3-2 defeat. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

Mildenhall Town 2 Canvey Island 3

Action from Saturday afternoon's Bostik North clash at a sun-drenched Recreation Way, between hosts

Action from Saturday afternoon's Bostik North clash at a sun-drenched Recreation Way, between hosts Mildenhall Town (yellow shirts) and Canvey Island. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

Mildenhall Town are on the brink of being relegated, after letting slip a 2-1 lead by conceding two late goals in a heart-breaking 3-2 defeat to Canvey Island in the West Suffolk sunshine at Recreation Way this afternoon.

The Hall began the day six points adrift of safety, with three matches remaining, and they remain six points adrift of both Witham Town (who lost 3-1 at Brentwood Town) and Romford (5-2 winners over Soham Town Rangers).

Tom Debenham gave the home side the lead with a neat header, from a tight angle, following Kaine Menels’ 38th minute cross.

The Gulls equalised just two minutes later through, via Ryan Melaugh’s looping header, but substitute Matthew Hayden seemed to have sealed all three points with his 72nd minute goal.

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However, Frankie Merryfield dispatched a 90th minute penalty, before Merryfield netted a breakaway goal in the fifth and last minute of injury-time to turn this game on its head.

The Hall had the advantage of playing down the slope in the first half, but they failed to fully cash in, too often playing the ball long and direct, rather than trying to pass through the Gulls.

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When they string together a passing move, then tended to hurt the visitors, and Tommy Robinson was crudely brought down by Ade Osifuwa when homing in on goal on six minutes, only to escape with just a yellow card.

The Hall’s first chance fell to midfielder Jordan Lawal, who rather disappointingly ballooned his shot over the bar from a good position.

Canvey squandered a good opportunity to break the deadlock from a swift break in the 16th minute, only for Kane Gilbert to fire over the top.

The hosts threatened twice from corners, delivered by skipper Joe Asensi. From the first delivery, Jarid Robson failed to connect cleanly with his shot, from a central position, while centre-half James Seymour headed narrowly over the bar from the next corner.

At the other end, keeper Jake Hayhoe dived bravely at the feet of Adam Vyse to smother, after he had only initially half-punched away a corner.

Mildenhall finally got their noses in front in the 38th minute, thanks to Debenham’s clinical header at the far post, from Manels’ excellent cross.

But the Suffolk side then sat back and Canvey grabbed an equaliser just two minutes later. Melagh was left unmarked and was able to steer home his free header to make it 1-1.

Debenham almost restored Mildenhall’s lead in the 55th minute, only for his looping header, from a free-kick, to be superbly clawed away by keeper Harry Palmer.

But out of the blue, The Hall did regain their lead thanks to substitute Hayden’s finish, which flew over the head of keeper Palmer and into the corner of the net. Hayden had only been on the pitch for five minutes.

The Gulls almost equalised for a second time in the 80th minute, but centre forward Vyse’s header drifted agonisingly wide of the far upright.

However, Mildenhall could not hold out, conceding a penalty in the 90th minute, from which Merryfield’s spot kick went straight down the middle, and Merryfield then burst clear to bag an injury-time winner.

MILDENHALL: Hayhoe, Atkinson, Camila-Tayaca, Asensi, Seymour, J Lawal, Manels, Boxer (sub Hayden, 67), Debenham, Robson, Robinson (sub T Lawal, 86).

CANVEY ISLAND: Palmerr, Dulieo, Collins, Figura, Warren, Osifuwa, Gilbert (sub Stone, 75), Cole (sub Hutchinson, 67), Vyse, Merryfield, Melaugh (sub Agyakwa, 67).

Attendance: 184

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