Bowers & Pitsea v Cray Wanderers

Isthmian Premier – Tuesday 30th November, 2021 – Match Report

Bowers & Pitsea                               1

Manor 45

Cray Wanderers                                1

Cook 90+4

 Cray Wanderers arrested a run of three successive away league defeats as Anthony Cook’s stunning strike four minutes into added time earned the Wands a hard earned point at Bowers & Pitsea.

 After Cray made a good start game with Chris Dickson and Tom Hanfrey coming close in the opening ten minutes, the Essex side had a good last ten minutes of the first half and took the lead in the last minute of the half when top scorer Lewis Manor headed in from six yards from a Josh Rasuke cross. 

 The second half was for the most part dominated by defences and chances were few but Cray kept plugging away and deep into injury time when Anthony Cook let fly from 25 yards from Dickson’s lay off for his ninth goal of the season to claim Danny Kedwell’s side a point.

 For Cray there were two changes to the starting line up to the one which began the FA Trophy tie with Ebbsfleet on Saturday. Into the team came Anthony Cook and Sam Skeffington in place of Dean Beckwith and Jai Reason.  Fjord Rogers height was a factor as the striker played as a centre half and did very well to combat any aerial threat. Bowers & Pitsea’s last game was at Potters Bar last Tuesday and there were a few changes to their side and into the team came Max Cornhill, Lewis Manor, Joshua Rusoke, James White and Luca Albon for ex-Wand Alex Bentley, Bradley Sach, Mitchell Gilbey, Jamie Thomas and Daniel Trendall. Just two places separated the teams before kick off with Bowers & Pitsea in 18th place four points ahead of Cray in 20th.

 Cray certainly started the game on the front foot and almost got off to the perfect start with a goal in the opening minute when Anthony Cook’s pass put Chris Dickson in down the right of the area but his shot was saved by the legs of Mitchell Beeney.

 In the eighth minute Cray were awarded a free kick on the left edge of the area after a foul on Jamie Yila and from the free kick, Cook’s ball into the box was cleared out to Tom Hanfrey who shot wide of the left post.   Then Daniel Uchechi set up Cook for a shot which was blocked.

 There was a blow for the home side when Max Cornhill had to go off to be replaced and by Jamie Dicks and their first real chance fell to Quentin Monville who fired over down the right of the area from a Daniel Trendall cross.

 For Cray, Yila put over a fine cross down the left which no-one could get on the end of while at the other end Luca Albon fired well wide from distance. Then for Cray, Sam Skeffington shot over the top from the edge of the area.

 Bowers & Pitsea had a decent spell before half time of possession and Lewis Manor set up Albon for a shot which went wide.  Then from a corner down the right, the ball into the box was met by Rusoke and his effort was cleared off the line by Cameron Brodie and then saw a shot held by Jack Turner.

 However, on the stroke of half time, Bowers & Pitsea went ahead when Rusoke down the left played the ball into the six yard box for Manor to stoop and score with a header for his 11th goal of the season.

 HT:  1-0

 The Wands made a change at half time with Jai Reason coming on for Cameron Brodie. There was plenty of endeavour and graft in the second half but the quality of the game began to dip and was quite a scrappy second period.  There was an early half chance for Bowers & Pitsea as a corner from Albon was headed wide by Jamie Dicks

 he best chance of the second half fell to the home side from a free kick out on the right and Albon’s ball into the area was met by a clever header from Manor but Turner did superbly to push the ball behind for a corner.

 Both defences were looking rather solid and the passing from both sides began to stray maybe as the temperature began to drop and there were one or two stoppages of play.

 The game didn’t really pick up momentum until the last ten minutes as Cray began to threaten the Bowers goal and Rogers played a good ball into the box and Uchechi with a back header turned the ball over the top from just outside the area.

 Kasim Aidoo came in for Rogers with ten minutes to go and added some good pace down the left hand side. Skeffington and Cook combined to set up Yila inside the area but his shot was blocked by Albon.   Then Yila’s cross from the left was well claimed by Beeney under pressure from Reason which was followed by Aidoo’s looping cross drifting over the top.

 Going into the last few minutes, Cray came close when a right wing corner from Cook found Yila and his volley went just over the bar.

 With the game requiring six minutes of injury time there was always the hope of one last chance for Cray and it came with two minutes to go when a ball was played into the area for Dickson up against Beeney and the ball was flicked out to Cook who hit a sweet half volley from 25 yards which flew into the top left corner for the midfielder’s ninth goal of the season and his second special strike in the last two league games.  Cray remain 20th while the home side moved up one place to 17th.  

 After an ardous, tough game most Wands fans would have settled for a point at the end and a draw was probably about the right outcome. Once again Freddy Barton shone for Cray down the right and Rogers, Danquah and Hanfrey were disciplined and didn’t concede too many chances. Jamie Yila was a threat especially in the early stages of the game and Kasim Aidoo added some good pace late on.

The Wands next head to league leaders Worthing on Saturday with some confidence on the back of a couple of league draws and looking to edge up the league table.  

Bowers & Pitsea:      Mitchell Beeney, Tom Stephen (James Thomas, 76), Ben Steward, Max Cornhill (Jamie Dicks, 11), Callum Leahy, Quentin Monville, Luca Albon, James White (Benjamin Sartain, 65), Daniel Trendall, Joshua Rusoke, Lewis Manor 

Booked:         Dicks, Trendall

Cray Wanderers:       Jack Turner, Freddy Barton, Fjord Rogers (Kasim Aidoo, 80), Richi Danquah, Tom Hanfrey, Cameron Brodie (Jai Reason, H/T), Daniel Uchechi, Anthony Cook, Jamie Yila, Chris Dickson: Subs: Marvin McCoy, Andy Drury, Danny Kedwell

Booked:         Brodie, Yila   

Referee:         Oliver Morris-Sanders        

Att:      128