Cray Wanderers vs Enfield Town – Isthmian Premier – Saturday 22nd October

Cray Wanderers                                     1

Dan Bassett 60

Enfield Town                                         1

Wyllie 49

Cray Wanderers made it four games unbeaten in the Isthmian Premier after coming from behind to gain a point from a lively encounter against Enfield Town.  The match pitted the sides in 4th and 3rd in the table with both on 19 points and separated by a one goal difference and the teams were equally matched with a draw being about the right outcome.

After a fast paced but goalless first half it was Enfield Town who broke the deadlock four minutes into the second half when after a throw in down the left a Cray header out was picked up by Marcus Wyllie who strode forward and hit a crisp shot which gave Shaun Rowley no chance to save.

Cray though are a resilient side and on the hour levelled with another quality strike from Dan Bassett from Tom Derry’s layoff for his seventh goal of the season.

Both teams could have won it with Bassett seeing a shot saved, David Ijaha and Anthony Cook shooting over while at the other end Andre Coker and Jake Cass tested Rowley but in the end no one could find a winner.

Cray had moved up into 4th after the 4-0 win vs Brightlingsea Regent on Wednesday and there was just one change to the starting lineup with David Ijaha coming in for Mitch Chapman.  Enfield Town were beaten by Lewes in their last match and there were three changes to their side with Marcus Wyllie, Wraynel Hercules and Lewis Taaffe who scored twice in the 4-4 draw last season coming in for Bilal Sayoud, Lyle Della-Verde and James Dayton.

On an overcast if fairly mild afternoon past encounters suggesting if not a high scoring game then an entertaining one and certainly from the off there was a smooth pace to the match making the first half seemingly fly by in a flash.

Cray won a corner in the opening minute and Nyren Clunis’ left wing corner to the far post was helped away by Nathan McDonald but Enfield perhaps had the better of the opening ten minutes.

Wyllie was causing some problems down the left up against Kellen Fisher but the young full back stuck to his task well and grew into the match as it went along.  Wyllie cut into the area and his ball across came out to Sam Youngs whose drive was blocked.  Then, Enfield were awarded a free kick shy of 25 yards from goal but Jake Cass fired over the top.    

Enfield came close again when Cass cut inside and hit a curling shot which fractionally went past the right post as the Towners continued to threaten.

Cray though had a good spell after that and Clunis down the right put a great ball into the box which Dan Bassett just couldn’t get on the end of.  Then Ben Krauhaus, Sam Skeffington and Clunis combined to play in Tom Derry down the right of the area and his near post shot was pushed out well by McDonald. 

For Enfield a free kick from Taaffe into the area was headed out by Jalen Jones and the ball came to Scott Thomas and his ball into the box was missed by Youngs and a shot from distance from Juevan Spencer was deflected through to Shaun Rowley.

The match was seemingly taking a breather until the last five minutes when it exploded into life once again.  Cray were awarded a free kick down the right of the area and Clunis’ ball to the far post was met by a firm header from Jones but McDonald made an instinctive save to turn the ball away.

For Enfield, Wraynel Hercules down the right combined with Youngs to set up Cass for a shot which was pushed out by Rowley but a flag had been raised for an offside.

Finally with half time approaching Taaffe found Youngs down the right of the area and drove his cross-shot wide of the left post.

HT: 0-0

The second half began with Enfield perhaps the quicker out of the traps and in the 49th minute opened the scoring when after a throw in down the left a Wands header fell to Wyllie who did well to find space to shoot into the bottom right corner for his first goal for Enfield.

Cray looked to get back into the game and a good run from Krauhaus and pass found Clunis whose shot from just outside the box just went past the left post. 

Three minutes later in the 60th minute Cray drew level when despite Krauhaus being brought down, the ball was nudged by Tom Derry into the path of Dan Bassett down the right and his shot from just outside the area beat McDonald at his near post and his seventh goal of the season.

The last half hour saw both sides go in search of a winner and from a free kick Cass helped the ball on to James Dayton who volleyed over the top.

At the other end David Ijaha who had a terrific game in midfield combined with Krauhaus to break forward and fired over the bar.

For Cray, Bassett was becoming more and more influential and came close to scoring a second when down the left he cut inside and hit a well struck shot from 25 yards which McDonald did very well to get down to save as was goal bound.

Enfield had a good spell going into the last ten minutes and Cass and Wyllie combined to set up ex-Wand Andre Coker down the left but his shot lacked power and was claimed by Rowley.

Then a free kick out on the right from Lyle Della-Verde to the near post for Youngs was deflected off a Cray head for a corner.  From the corner down the right, Della-Verde’s cross to the far post was headed wide by James Richmond.

For Cray, Anthony Cook saw a shot from distance well held again by McDonald before Tom Derry had to have a treatment to his nose after a hand in the face which led to six minutes of injury time.

Enfield came close to going back in front when Coker and Della-Verde set up Cass and his shot was turned away well by Rowley and Cray were able to clear the ball.

Straight up the other end, and Cray looked to give the game a sting in its tail when Cook set up Bassett but his shot just lacked sufficient power and McDonald was able to gather the ball by the right post.

In the end the game finished in a draw which over the piece was about the right outcome. Both sides had shown why they were in the top 4 and defensively both look more solid than in previous encounters. Both keepers were excellent when called upon and for Cray, Krauhaus once again showed his quality, Fisher grew in the game as it went along, Ijaha was immense in midfield and Jones and Sinn’kaye Christie solid at the back. 

The draw saw Cray drop down to 7th while Enfield also went down to 5th but Cray are playing well and unbeaten in four league games and have a good mixture of talented and hungry young players and experienced pros and with no game next weekend can look back at a decent first couple of months of the season

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Kellen Fisher, Jalen Jones, Sinn’kaye Christie, Harrison Sodje, Sam Skeffington (Mitch Chapman, 75), David Ijaha, Ben Krauhaus, Nyren Clunis (Anthony Cook, 77), Dan Bassett, Tom Derry: Subs: Billy Crook, Michael Ademiluyi, Cerny Ando

Booked: Fisher

Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Juevan Spencer, Joseph Payne, Scott Thomas (James Dayton, 64), Dequane Wilson-Braithwaite, James Richmond, Lewis Taaffe (Andre Coker, 72), Sam Youngs, Jake Cass, Marcus Wyllie, Wraynel Hercules (Lyle Della-Verde, 72):  Subs:  Rian Bray, Bilal Sayoud

Booked: Thomas, Della-Verde

Referee: Tom Ellsmore

Assistants: Connor Fanelli, Stephen Ryan

Att:  263