Merstham 0–3 Canvey Island

(Merrifield 27’, 63’ Sykes 52’)

From Moatside

Ryman Premier League

CANVEY Island eased to a fifth-successive victory as they made light of 10-man Merstham in the battle near the bottom of the Ryman Premier League.

A Frankie Merrifield double, plus a strike from the impressive George Sykes lifted the Gulls six points clear of the relegation places, with six games remaining.

Canvey had won the last four and would have fancied their chances against the Surrey outfit.

But it was a tetchy start, with neither creating a clear-cut opportunity, although George Sykes did see a goal-bound volley well blocked on the goal-line.

Sykes was causing problems, and two quick-fire moments involving the forward turned the game in the visitors favour.

Merstham defender Marc Okoye was shown two yellow cards in four minutes to give Canvey a man advantage with 65 minutes to play.

And they moved ahead shortly afterwards. Merrifield picked up the ball in the left-hand channel, driving forward before cutting inside to fire into the far corner.

Home goalkeeper Josh Smith made a good save from Sykes at his near post but Canvey were unable to get the second goal they craved.

Omar Folkes drew a neat save from keeper Conor Gough in the dying embers of the half but Canvey were well on top.

It should have been 2-0 within five minutes of the second-half. Simon Thomas shanked a shot that was well blocked before Omarr Lawson missed an unbelievable chance.

The midfielder produced some excellent trickery to get into the penalty area but, when one-on-one, rolled the ball past the post.

But manager Danny Heale didn’t have long to wait for the second goal.

A ball from Thomas found Sykes in the channel, with a fine first-touch seeing him into the box, with the finish equally impressive.

There was a touch of fortune about the third goal, with Sykes seemingly offside when he picked up the ball down the right.

But the flag wasn’t raised and he tapped to one side for Blackman to drive into the roof of the net.

Canvey saw out the remaining 25 minutes comfortably, with Gough called upon to make one good save late on, as Merstham battled to the last.

Canvey Island: Gough, Adelowo (Pitty 50’), Dumas, Merrifield, Allen, Sheehan, Lawson, Blackman, Sykes, Thomas, Gilbey