Cheshunt vs Cray Wanderers

Isthmian Premier – Saturday 17th February – Match Report

Cheshunt                                        0

Cray Wanderers                              1

Bamba 83

Photos to follow

Cray Wanderers continue to climb to safety in the Isthmian Premier as a late Yahya Bamba strike earned the Wands a 1-0 win at Cheshunt to move up to 15th in the table and make it five league games undefeated.

In a tense game of few chances Cray had to show a lot of character and defensive resolve as Cheshunt needed the points to boost their survival hopes but seven minutes from time Bamba received a pass from Gary Lockyer to fire in a shot which deceived keeper Bert White and went in off the right post.

Cray were looking to extend a run of four games unbeaten on 33 points and from the side which drew with Concord Rangers on Sunday into the team came Jack Holland for his first game since 29th December, Josh Hallard and Yahya Bamba for Ellis Brown, Rhys Murrell-Williamson and Tom Beere.  Cheshunt in 18th were ten points behind Cray and without a win in four but picked up a decent point at Bognor Regis Town last Saturday.

Before the game there was a moment’s applause from players and fans for former Cheshunt player, manager and committee member Phil Maybury.

It looked from the start that this would be a tight game and perhaps a physical challenge for Neil Smith’s side but Cray began well and on the front foot without really creating a clear cut chance but Frankie Raymond’s quickly taken free kick found Emmanuel Kwatchey down the right but his cross into the box was cleared.

For Cheshunt, Alfie Pendlebury saw a shot go straight through to Shaun Rowley and Taylor Miles saw an effort blocked. There was a worry for the Wands when Gary Lockyer went down with what looked like a shoulder injury but was able to carry on and had a fine game up front.

In the 20th minute, Cheshunt had a great chance to take the lead when firstly Antonis Vasiliou down the left of the area looked to have gone round Rowley but his goalbound shot was blocked and following up Solomon Baugh saw his shot crash back off the crossbar.

From here Cray came more into it and Lockyer set up Yahya Bamba who fired a shot over the top from the edge of the area.  

Two minutes later, Cheshunt were awarded a free kick in a decent position outside the area to the right and Vasiliou curled a shot over the top.

Cray came close to taking the lead in the 33rd minute when from a corner down the left, Raymond’s cross to the far post was headed wide by Tom Bonner.

Cray had the ball in the net five minutes before half time when from a corner down the right the ball came to Jack Holland down the right but his ball into the box was deemed to have gone out of play and Bamba nudged the ball into the net but was disallowed.

Just before half time, Nathaniel Orafu lashed a shot well wide for Cheshunt back at the break it was looking like a game where perhaps one goal would win it.

HT:  0-0

The second half began livelier and Bonner couldn’t quite connect fully to a Raymond free kick down the right and flicked wide.

Cheshunt came close four minutes after the re-start when from a free kick right on the edge of the area down the right, Vasiliou’s cross was glanced wide of the left post by Billy Bates.

Cray were defending well with Bonner and Holland excellent at the back with Emmanuel Kwatchey and Sam Wood working hard and the impressive David Ijaha adding steel in midfield.  Rhys Murrell-Williamson and Anthony Cook came on giving experience off the bench.

As the game went on it became more open with Lockyer firing over the top while for Cheshunt, Orafu’s cross went across goal.

In the 71st minute, Murrell-Williamson down the right set up Lockyer for a shot on goal held by White, while at the other end Alfie Pendlebury’s shot was blocked by Shaun Rowley.  Tom Beere came on for the last fifteen minutes in place of David Ijaha.

With ten minutes to go Cray came close when Frankie Raymond’s free kick down the left into the area was turned over by Lockyer.

Shortly after Cray went in front in the 83rd minute when Lockyer did well to find space and shaped to shoot but looked to be crowded out but set up Yahya Bamba whose strike deceived White and clipped the right post and into the net.

Cheshunt almost levelled when a cross from the right was turned over by Solomon Baugh but Cray came close to scoring a second when Lockyer pounced on a ball out of defence but lobbed the ball just over the bar from outside the area.

With seven minutes added on, both teams had one good chance each with Murrell-Williamson down the left setting up Bamba for a shot which White did well to get down to save.

Finally, Cheshunt were awarded a free kick down the left of the area but Vasiliou’s shot curled over the bar and Cray saw out the game.

Cray held on for a big win in a tough contest which was never going to be pretty but showed a lot of qualities which augurs well for the remaining thirteen games of the season.  The Wands moved up to 15th in the table on 36 points and thirteen ahead of Cheshunt who dropped into the bottom four and Cray now move on to two home matches starting on Wednesday 21st February vs Canvey Island and then Kingstonian next Saturday in what could be a season defining week and certainly got off to a positive start.

Cheshunt: Bert White, Finlay Titchmarsh, Chevron McLean, Nataniel Orafu, Billy Bates, Jimmy Wallace, Antonio Vasiliou, Sam Granville, Alfie Pendlebury, Solomon Baugh (Tomas Mendes, 88), Taylor Miles (Enoch Ekongo, 85): Subs: Kyle Bailey, Dejon Noel-Williams, Sami Nabbad

Booked: Miles 14, Wallace 79

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Emmanuel Kwatchey (Anthony Cook, 65), Jack Holland, Tom Bonner, Sam Wood, David Ijaha (Tom Beere, 75), Alfie Evans, Frankie Raymond, Josh Hallard (Rhys Murrell-Williamson, 58), Yahya Bamba, Gary Lockyer: Subs:  Cameron Black, George Brooke


Booked: Wood 49, Cook 87, Lockyer 90+5, Bonner 90+6


Referee: Colman O’Meara

Assistants: Danny Mansour, Jude Ogunba


Att: 338