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Canvey Islandv
Canvey Island

Grier's Guide to Canvey Island

The match: Canvey Island v Kingstonian, Isthmian Premier. Saturday 10 September, 15:00.

The club: Back at our level after winning the Division 1 North playoffs, Canvey's finest years were in the early 2000s when they reached the Conference National and the FA Trophy final as well as running neighbours Southend close twice in two FA Cup ties.

The town: The island sits on the north side of the Thames Estuary on reclaimed land. Folklore has it that numerous ghosts roam the island, including 'The Black Man' who offered you a price for your soul, while the 'White Woman' would tempt you to dance with her. The tales may have been invented by smugglers who wanted to deter people from finding their goods.

The ground: The Movie Starr Stadium, Park Lane, Canvey Island, Essex, SS8 7PX. A Conference standard ground with an impressive terrace behind one goal, affording the strange sight of container ships passing above your eyeline beyond the sea wall. It can be staggeringly cold - our Trophy defeat in 2005 is about the coldest I've ever been at football.

Directions: 43 minutes from Fenchurch Street (or 34 from West Ham) to Benfleet, from where you'll need to get a bus (22 or 27) or taxi. Driving should take about an hour and a half as long as the M25 is OK but potentially longer at the moment due to roadworks around the Dartford Crossing. You can park at the ground 

Tickets: £12 adults; £7 over 60s/students; £2 U16s (must be accompanied by an adult)

Our record there: Much improved in recent years since taking a 6-1 hiding en route to Canvey winning the League in 2004. Our last visit was in 2016 when Pico Gomez and Aaron Lamont struck in a 2-1 win that would eventually prove crucial when we narrowly stayed up at Canvey's expense.

Recent form: An impressive 5-1 win at Brightlingsea has come alongside defeats to Horsham and Cray, meaning (at time of writing) Canvey are above us in the league on goal difference. (Ed: This was written before the August Bank Holiday weekend - on 27th August they defeated Hornchurch 2-1 at home, drew 1-1 at Bowers and Pitsea on 29th August, and on Saturday just gone they gained a big FA Cup win, beating Enfield Town 5-1 at home.)

Players to watch: Experienced striker Evans Kouassi scored over 30 goals last season and has started this season in fine form too, with three in three games.

Crowd: Usually similar to our own, although over 2,500 crammed in for their playoff final win over Brentwood Town. It must have made for a great atmosphere in the big terrace behind the goal when the home side won on penalties.

Drinking: There are no pubs near the ground but for those going by train the Half Crown and the Hoy & Helmet are opposite each other on Benfleet High Street.

Food: Uncle Kams is a chippie near the ground, while there are various other options on Benfleet High Street.

Published Wednesday 7th September 2022