The Curse Of Canvey
Saturday 29th March 2014
—Canvey Island 2 Margate FC 0—
Still euphoric after watching Terry’s youngsters pick up a superb 3-2 win (see previous article) club photographer Don Walker kindly picked me up outside Hartsdown Park, for a relatively short journey to Canvey. On the way, we discussed various football grounds that Don had been to, and what were the best ones to take photographs at – all this, while smirking at the radio, which was reporting that Manchester United were 1-0 down. The game was still on when we arrived at the ground, and we arrived just as United had scored their fourth, in a 4-1 win.
Trooping into the bar, many of the usual suspects were there, with the exception of Mark Sandwell (who had a llama & birthday related event to attend) and Dan Boyle, who sadly couldn’t make the game owing to work commitments – all credit to him for attending the Margate U21’s game, where he updated me on the side’s 2-0 win.
Everyone was in good spirits, if not a little anxious that we’d be playing three at the back again – thankfully this turned out not to be the case, as Terry Brown’s experiment against Grays failed to pay dividends, with Margate being constantly caught on the break in a 5-2 defeat – although in truth, I felt this flattered the visitors, with their final two goals coming in injury time.
The elder statesmen of the club – Peter Cove & Colin Page – were both in attendance, with Covey looking remarkably dapper in his suit, which he informed me would need to be replaced soon, owing to his slim-line status. Judging from this photo, that Don took on Peter’s iPad, I think I’d benefit from taking a leaf from Mr Cove’s book myself!
As I wandered round the ground before kickoff, the music choices from the PA system was possibly the most eclectic / random I’ve ever heard – one such example would be NWA’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ followed by ‘Down To Margate’ – I’ve taken the liberty of including both tracks for your listening pleasure below.
With a look of bewilderment, which could be said to match most of the locals – I made my way behind the goal as the teams trotted out, and had the pleasure to stand with Wendy, Chris, Dave & Finney the dog.
In truth, the first half had a slightly end of season feel to it, and was fairly dull – however, the conversation wasn’t, being kept constantly in stitches by the light-hearted banter between Chris & Wendy.
As another Margate attack broke down, Wendy made a growl of frustration that frankly summed up the game – as Chris compared her growl to that of a feral cat, Wendy swiftly observed that standing between Chris & Dave must be like being in the company of Statler & Waldorf, of The Muppet Show fame. I politely declined to comment – Chris & Dave are a lot bigger than I am!
The ball seemed to be in the air for most of the game, although this was more Canvey’s game plan than ours – and bar a couple of shots on goal, Jack Sammoutis having an effort turned round the post by Canvey’s keeper – it proved to be a fairly forgettable 45 minutes – save for a strong but fair challenge from Mitchell Nelson leaving a Canvey player bizarrely writhing in false agonies, who seemed to make a remarkable recovery once he realised Mitchell had been booked.
The second half was much the same, a lot of dullness with some questionable officiating – my brow furrowed in worry when after a challenge from Luke Medley, a yell of anguish from Canvey’s skipper caused the ref to come over, and ask “Are you alright Nick?” before patting him on the back in a friendly manner.
The referee being on first name terms with the opposition can surely never be a good thing, and after Canvey hit the bar from a John Sands effort, Gate responded by Jefferson Louis seeing his deflected effort rebound to safety off the post.
Another noticeable highlight was a superb performance from Charlie Wassmer in a midfield role, and the introduction of Charles Ademeno for the ineffective Luke Medley, which prompted Chris to remark that we were a team of proper Charlies!
With ten minutes to go, Gate were undone by a superbly inept bit of refereeing. Awarding a free kick for what seemed to be nothing at all, the referee handed Canvey the opportunity to take the lead, which they duly did after the ball wasn’t cleared, their player thumping home a thunderbolt past Nikki Bull.
The referee however, hadn’t finished yet, and in a farcical twist that had myself & many others foaming at the mouth (a slight exaggeration maybe, but a little embellishment works wonders!) he awarded Canvey a penalty, for a world-class dive from Sands over Nikki Bull, who was sent off for the heinous crime of seeing an opposition striker do his best Tom Daley impression, and failing to applaud (or award marks out of 10)
The penalty & red card were both put into context post-match by the Canvey manager, who admitted that Sands ‘bought’ the penalty, and Ryan Day who was on filming duties, confirmed that Bull never touched Sands & that the decision was a disgrace.
With no goalie on the bench, Mitchell Nelson donned the gloves & was promptly sent the wrong way from the spot – 2-0 Canvey, and what would’ve been a deserved draw for Margate, was wiped out by the ineptitude of the referee.
Canvey also had a goal disallowed for offside in injury time, fetching the biggest cheer of the afternoon from the travelling Margate faithful – and the final whistle blew shortly after, to end our unhappy stay on the island.
Attempting to glean a positive from the game, I noticed that if we were to beat relegation-threatened Wingate & Finchley away on Tuesday night, that we could possibly climb four places to 13th – not much, but in the circumstances, the best I could muster.
Sadly, there’s no burger review from this weekend’s game, owing to no-one sampling a Canvey Burger – not that I can blame them – but Wendy kindly stepped into the breach left by Terry & Mel, as she provided marks for the Keeper Arse-O-Meter.
Whilst on the subject of backsides, there will be a top 3 and bottom 3 (no pun intended) in the last blog of the season – the Grays custodian on Thursday night hit a new low by Terry & Mel awarding him a 0.5 out of 10 – owing to having no arse, ill-fitting shorts and a large amount of ignorance.
My first question to the keeper – whether there’d ever be a boy born that could swim faster than a shark – was left unanswered, as was my enquiry as to what he thought about the current plot of EastEnders. Reverting to shock tactics, I ended up screaming “Keeper, tell me you love me!” – however, this too, was ignored without even a flicker.
Still, onwards & upwards – we face Wingate & Finchley away on Tuesday night, before playing Bognor at home on Saturday, followed by an early birthday night out for Mel.
Stay away from the red shots, glamour girl!
Wendy’s Away Day Keeper Arse-O-Meter
“He needs to do more squats, I think. 3 out of 10”