Canvey's leading scorer Wayne Vaughan reached the landmark of 25 goals in his first season at Park Lane as Gulls kept up their fantastic bid for Ryman League Premier Division honours last night (Wednesday).

The 21-year-old former England Youth international striker, released by Spurs at the end of last term, struck after 69 minutes with the only goal of the game as the Islanders piled almost constant pressure on relegation candidates Maidenhead United.

The victory sees Jeff King's Gulls move within 18 points of runaway leaders Farnborough with six games in hand. However, the Islanders must play their last 11 League games, plus Monday's County Cup final, in an 17-day spell from tonight, when they visit another side far from safe from the big drop, Slough Town.

Canvey's busiest spell starts from Saturday's visit of Aldershot Town as they play seven matches in nine days from that date.

Not that the brave Islanders show any signs of throwing in the towel and, like Farnborough, look like getting a further boost later today by the Nationwide Conference backing a recommendation that their ground is up to the standard required to play in that competition.

Last night's Maidenhead visitors are managed by ex West Ham and England star Alan Devonshire, but there was little of the cultured football we came to expect from the Irons in Dev's day.

Instead, the struggling visitors put ten men behind the ball from the start and aimed to soak up the pressure throughout.

In fact, it was 93 minutes before they created their first real opening of the night when Matt Glynn shot over.

For the rest it was incessant pressure from the homesters with a succession of outstanding chances finishing just off target or producing great saves from visiting keeper Richard Barnard.

Even when Barnard was beaten there were a number of goalmouth clearances - including one when Neil Gregory looked certain to score at the start of the second-half before an incredible hook off the line by a visiting defender.

However, that man Vaughan was not to be beaten as he notched his 25th goal of the season to pile the pressure back on Farnborough - who face tough clash with in-form Chesham tonight and will then have just four games left.

King rested four of his established first-teamer last night and one man in action against Maidenhead who won't be making tonight's journey to a Slough side who won for the first time since February on Easter Monday is ex Brighton defender Micky Bennett, whose wife is due to give birth today.

Said a relieved King: "We told the players they might have to be patient and they were. All credit to them, it's an incredible backlog we're facing but while they keep on getting the wins we're in with a chance."

Held off - Canvey midfielder Adam Tanner, right, tries to break through the Maidenhead rearguard.

Oh baby! - Canvey defender Mickey Bennett, who is due to become a father today, commits himself to the ball during last night's Ryman Premier clash with Maidenhead


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