Bognor Regis Town v Cray Wanderers – Match Report

Isthmian Premier – Wednesday, 7th December

Bognor Regis Town                              2

Black 42, Gifford 56

Cray Wanderers                                   2

Skeffington 54, Cook 67 pen

(Pics to follow)

Cray Wanderers remain 8th in the Isthmian Premier League table after twice coming from behind to pick up a point on a cold night at Bognor Regis Town.  In doing so, Cray are seven unbeaten away from home in the league and just one defeat in the last eleven league matches.

The sides had met three times previously in the league and FA Cup this season so no strangers to one another and was an end to end game which both sides could have won in the closing stages.

Cray perhaps shaded the first half on chances but went behind in the 42nd minute when Cameron Black found space inside the area to score from Josh McCormick’s pass.  The Wands though once again showed their battling qualities after injuries to Sinn’kaye Christie and Tom Derry and drew level in the 54th minute when Dan Bassett and Anthony Cook combined to set up Sam Skeffington to rifle home an unstoppable shot for his first Cray Wanderers goal.  However, two minutes later Bognor restored their lead when Dan Gifford headed in at the far post from a Hani Berchiche cross.  Cray got back on level terms once again when Bassett’s shot was pushed out by Toby Steward and Cook following up was brought down for a penalty from which Cook scored in the 67th minute.  

Both teams could have claimed the three points with Gifford hitting the underside of the crossbar for Bognor and for Cray, Cook saw a shot go just over possibly via the fingertips of Steward and made a block save to deny Yahaya Bamba.  In the end though a draw was about the right outcome as frost descended on Nyewood Lane.

Cray were looking to build on Saturday’s win at Kingstonian and there was one change to the starting lineup with Mitch Chapman returning from suspension in place of Ben Krauhaus. Bognor in 14th place made one change to the side which drew 0-0 with Hastings United on Saturday with Harvey Whyte coming in for Matt Paterson.

Traffic delays meant some of the Wands players were a bit behind schedule on arrival but the match kicked off on time and Cray came close to scoring in the 8th minute when Yahaya Bamba down the right put over a cross which Dan Bassett held up for Mitch Chapman to shoot from the edge of the area which and the ball came back off the left post.

Bognor Regis threatened four minutes later and Isaac Olaniyan’s pass found Cameron Black whose header was well claimed by Shaun Rowley.

There was a blow for Cray when Sinn’kaye Christie had to go off after turning his ankle in the 17th minute to be replaced by Sam Skeffington.  Chapman filled in as centre-half and had a great game at the back.

Bognor had the ball in the net in the 20th minute through Dan Gifford from Hani Berchiche’s cross but was disallowed for offside.

Cray had a good spell after this and Skeffington found Bamba who was a livewire down the right and his ball across was cleared out to Sam Wood who volleyed over the bar.  Then Harrison Sodje down the left set up Bassett for a shot which was saved by Toby Steward.  

For Bognor, Berchiche set up Gifford for a shot over the top and Skeffington and Bamba combined to set up Tom Derry who couldn’t get purchase on his shot and fell inside the area.

Still, the game was end to end and Bamba set up Anthony Cook who fired over the top.

The first goal of the evening arrived in the 42nd minute for Bognor Regis Town and was well crafted after a run from Josh McCormick cutting in from the right and he played a fine ball into the area which was met by Black who found space to shoot and score.

Bognor ended the half strongly and Nathan Odonkonyero hit a shot which Rowley had to turn over the bar for a corner but at half time led by a goal to nil

HT:  1-0

The second half began with a delay while Tom Derry was treated for injury and Cray almost levelled when Jephte Tanga down the right put a ball across towards the near post which Bamba turned wide.

In the 54th minute Cray got back on level terms with a fine goal when Bassett down the left combined with Cook to set up Skeffington from the edge of the area and his powerful shot flew past Steward to get off the mark for the Wands

Bognor though two minutes later restored their lead when down the right Berchiche put over a cross to the far post for Gifford to head into the net.

Cray came close to scoring again when Tanga inside the area saw his near post effort blocked by Steward.before Tom Derry had to go off after colliding with Steward and was replaced by Nyren Clunis.  

Neil Smith’s side stuck to their task well and half way through the second half levelled for a second time when Bassett’s shot was pushed out by Steward and following up Cook was upended in the area by the keeper for the award of a penalty.  Cook scored from the spot to make it 2-2.

Either side could have won the game in the closing quarter of the game.  Bamba shot over for Cray but Bognor Regis were unlucky when Olaniyan down the left set up Gifford inside the box and his shot bounced off the crossbar and possibly over the line but no goal was given.  Then Gifford saw a first time shot well saved by Rowley.

For Cray, Cook was unlucky with a rasping shot outside the area which went over the bar but possibly by the fingertips of Steward but no corner kick was given.  Then Tanga who had an excellent second half had to go off four minutes from time with a knock being replaced by Ben Krauhaus. 

Towards the end Cray came close again when Clunis down the right set up Bamba but Steward did well to block at the near post.

Then as the game was into five minutes stoppage time Bognor almost grabbed a winner when Bradley Lethbridge’s left wing cross to the near post was turned wide by Danny Howick and then Matt Paterson’s effort was held by Rowley.

However there were no further goals and for third time this season the game ended in a 2-2 draw and another battling performance from the Wands away from home.  With the knocks picked up during the game, Mitch Chapman playing superbly out of position at the back and the side creating chances it was a good point on the road on the excellent playing surface and plenty to admire with the Wands display.

After five successive away matches in league and London Senior Cup Cray now return for two pre-Christmas home matches starting on Sunday against Haringey Borough and then Billericay Town on 17th December.

Bognor Regis Town:  Toby Steward, Josh McCormick (Danny Howick, 90), Joe Rabbetts, Tom Bragg, Cameron Black, Craig Robson, Harvey Whyte, Isaac Olaniyan (Matt Paterson, 74), Nathan Odonkonyero (Bradley Lethbridge, 86), Dan Gifford, Hani Berchiche: Subs: James Crane, Tom Holland 

Booked: Odonkonyero, Black, McCormick

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Jephte Tanga (Ben Krauhaus, 86), Jalen Jones, Sinn’kaye Christie (Sam Skeffington, 17), Harrison Sodje, Sam Wood, Mitch Chapman, Yahaya Bamba, Anthony Cook, Danny Bassett, Tom Derry (Nyren Clunis, 59): Subs: Michael Ademiluyi, David Ijaha

Booked: Derry, Tanga

Referee: Jordan McRitchie

Assistants: Michael Paintin, Stephen Jansen

Att: 402