Price treble downs Gulls and sees Swifts into play-off places

Gary White

MATT PRICE hit a hat-trick as Swifts moved into the play-offs with a stunning 4-1 win over fourth-placed Canvey.

Harrison Chatting bagged Heybridge’s opening goal against his former side as they climbed to sixth in the Bostik North table heading into the final month of the season.

It took Price’s goal tally to 14 for the club and means the former Brentwood striker now has 34 for the season.

The Gulls had been on good form of late and looked lively early on and had a good deal of the play, with Mitchell Gilbey looking impressive.

Chatting broke the deadlock in the 19th minutes with an excellent chip over keeper Harry Newcombe after good work down the left by Price, who dispossessed the defender before squaring to him.

And two minutes later Price latched on to a through ball from Joe Gardner to coolly slot home under the advancing keeper.

Kreshnic Krasniqi nearly made it 3-0 on 40 minutes when he arrived at the far post to hit a cross from Price into the side netting.

Canvey were restricted to half chances as Swifts back four looked comfortable and the midfield was looking very impressive, showing no signs of fatigue from Tuesday’s win against Cheshunt.

And the third goal came on 61 minutes when a great move from Chatting and Gardner saw the former pass inside for Price to coolly fire home.

Price completed his hat trick on 63 minutes when a through ball from Krasniqi left him clear to side foot past Newcombe again to hit his 32nd league goal of the season, making him the division’s top scorer.

Canvey looked shell-shocked and it was good revenge for a 3-0 defeat at Park Lane with a depleted side in January.

The visitors got a 70th minute consolation from a  Martin Tuohy penalty after Ryan Henshaw was penalised for a foul on George Sykes.

Huge credit went to go to the ground staff at Scraley Road once more for getting the match on after heavy rain during the day and the pitch was still in pretty good condition by the end of the game.

The fans played their part too in an impressive crowd of 285 which saw Swifts seventh consecutive home victory.

Swifts boss Jody Brown said: “It is another game ticked off of our relentless schedule and it is a result that maybe surprised a few people, but one which I’m very aware that we are capable of.

“Canvey have a great squad, at least seven of their starting line up had played in the National League South.

“We needed to give a better account of ourselves than we did over there, when we played without any central defenders and were embarrassed with our performance.

“But we need to look beyond the result, which we have tried to do for a long time at Heybridge now, and 285 people through the gate on a Thursday night having already forked out to travel and support us on Saturday and Tuesday is terrific.

“The culture within our club is continually progressing to where we want it to be.

“You’ll always have a few negative people, a few that want you to fail, but in general we have a football club that is together from our Under-7s through to the first team, and that’s far more important than any result.”

Swifts’ relentless fixture schedule continues tomorrow with a visit from Aveley, who have found some great form recently under former Brightlingsea manager James Webster.