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Canvey Island's Bradley Woods-Garness seals opening day victory against Wingate and Finchley
12:24pm Monday 20th August 2012 in Sport
Wingate and Finchley kicked-off the 2012-13 season at home to Canvey Island with a laborious 1-0 loss after a tight affair saw Canvey’s Bradley Woods-Garness settle the game early in the second half, smashing home from close range.
The season opener played out to a less than frantic first-half, with both sides easing into the new season and temperatures in the 30’s making it difficult for the players to find a rhythm.
Misplaced passes and some gifting of possession meant both sides did not get a hold of the game, as they would have liked.
An early chance for the determined Murat Karagul saw his left-foot volley skew wide after some neat interchanges from Jon Docker and Mark Henry put him through. The striker pulled away from the Canvey defence only to miss-hit his shot left of the near post.
The heat made the game slightly stop-start and Canvey’s number nine, John Curran, pulled up after 20 minutes clutching his hamstring and was replaced by Danny Heale.
Wingate defended well, with Dave Norman opting for three centre-halves and two wingbacks that provided routes to pass out from the back.
Kieron Street was impressive and after cleaning up two Canvey attacks he managed to move forward on several occasions to assist with Wingate’s attempts to build.
Wingate had the ball in the net on the half-hour after Karagul again fashioned an opening.
Capitalising on a mix-up between the Canvey defence, the forward took the ball in his stride, with Leon Smith supporting, only for Smith to inadvertently take the ball in an offside position and stroke it past Ashley Jones.
Canvey Island finished the half with the best chance, after Woods-Garness did well down the right, cutting it back for substitute Heale, who slid a pass to Dean Mason.
Mason opted to quickly set up Richard Orlu, instead of shooting himself and Orlu, going for placement, side-footed over the top to leave the teams level at the half-time interval.
After an early corner saw a bullet header from Marc Weatherstone miss the target, Canvey started to pressure the Wingate back three through some good link-up play between Woods-Garness, Mason and Heale.
The first chance of the second half for the Gulls came after some scrappy defending saw Wingate’s Nielsen make a timely block and Keeper’ Bobby Smith make an easy save from a tame Woods-Garness follow up.
Woods-Garness made no mistake the second time, hitting home after another great block from Nielsen saw the ball fall to the striker.
Canvey Island controlled the opening exchanges in the second half with some incisive counter-attacking.
Utilising Heale as a the focal point of attack, Woods-Garness and Mason pulled off the front man to find the gaps in defence.
Wingate suffered early on with the back three occasionally exposed when Canvey broke quickly, particularly after the goal as Lewis Jones and Mark Henry looked to support attacks to get an equaliser.
And they almost made it 2-0 in the 55th minute, with Leon Gordon breaking away down the right-hand side well, past Wingate’s Paul Wright and cutting the ball nicely back for Woods-Garness.
The marksman managed to shift away from two Wingate defenders before dinking a shot over Keeper’ Smith, only for Weatherstone to clear off the line.
Wingate looked to get a foothold in the game and responded with a good run and cross from new signing John Kyriacou that found Karagul, but his header was poor and drifted harmlessly wide.
Another new signing, Sam Berry, was introduced for Lewis Jones along with Jon Docker making way for Anderson Pinto.
Wingate pressed further looking for the elusive equaliser, but good defending from Canvey saw the hosts restricted to shooting from long range.
Canvey were guilty a couple of harsh challenges, one resulting in a booking for substitute James Hawes after a very poor tackle and another surprisingly resulting in nothing after Leon Gordon clattered into Anderson Pinto leaving the Wingate man in a heap.
With a little over 10 minutes to play, Canvey could have secured the game with Gordon slicing the ball wide after good work from Heale found Woods-Garness.
The striker may have scored himself, after rounding Smith and shaping to shoot, only to send the ball back to Gordon, who blazed wastefully.
Wingate introduced Marcus Milner with a little over 10 minutes to play looking to salvage something from the game.
A Sam Berry free kick dipped into the feet of Karagul, who could not turn the chance into a scoring one.
A golden opportunity came for the hosts with minutes remaining, from a corner to the back post that saw Street rise highest, only to see his header fly over the top.
Although a loss, Wingate and Finchley will take positives from the game, with Street and Karagul impressing throughout.
Going into Tuesdays’ local derby with Enfield Town, the team will look to bounce back and in doing so pick up their first points of the season.
Wingate and Finchley: Bobby Smith, Daniel Nielsen (C), Marc Weatherstone, Kieron Street, Paul Wright, John Kyriacou, Lewis Jones (Sam Berry 63), Mark Henry, Jon Docker (Anderson Pinto 67), Leon Smith (Marcus Milner 80), Murat Karagul.
Canvey Island: Ashley Jones, Ashley Miller, Ashley Dumas, Richard Orlu, Ricky Hales, Rob King (C), Leon Gordon, Kevin Dobinson (James Hawes 67), John Curran (Danny Heale 20), Bradley Woods-Garness, Dean Mason (Ryan Edgar 89).