Cray Wanderers vs. Hornchurch – Isthmian Premier – Sunday 15th October – Match Report

Photos:  Ozay Booth

Cray Wanderers                                  1

Clunis 65

Hornchurch                                         4

Nash 23, 32, Wraight 79 pen,

Muldoon 82

Cray Wanderers hopes of moving up the Isthmian Premier table were dealt a blow as league leaders Hornchurch produced a telling performance to move six points clear at the top with victory at Hayes Lane.

A first half brace from league leading scorer Liam Nash put Hornchurch two nil up at the break but Cray were never really out of the game and Nyren Clunis pulled a goal back with a strike from a free kick with twenty five minutes to go.  However, Hornchurch regrouped and Tom Wraight converted a penalty in the 79th minute awarded for a foul on Ade Yusuff and three minutes later Ollie Muldoon scored from a free kick to clinch the points.

Cray came into the game on the back of two straight wins in league and FA Trophy and both with clean sheets.  Hornchurch though have a good record at Hayes Lane and this was always going to be a tough test of Neil Smith’s Wands side. 

From the team which won at Needham Market in the FA Trophy last Saturday there was one change to the starting lineup with Frankie Raymond coming in for Yahya Bamba.  For Hornchurch there were two changes to the side which beat Hastings United 4-1 on Tuesday night with Tom Wraight and Jordan Clark coming in for Quentin Monville and Lennon Peake.  They did make the signing of ex-Hastings United striker Femi Akinwande this week and was on the bench playing the whole of the second half.

On a chilly but bright afternoon it was Cray who began on the front foot and after Gary Lockyer was fouled by Nathan Bertram-Cooper on the right of the area, Frankie Raymond’s ball into the box for the far post was glanced across by Jack Holland and came out to Lockyer for a shot that was blocked.  Bertram-Cooper was then booked for a foul on George Porter and Cray won a couple of free kicks and corners and from a free kick from Nyren Clunis played into the area for David Ijaha was put behind by Jordan Clark for a corner.

Cray were having a positive spell but Hornchurch were able to withstand the pressure and had a half opening when Ade Yusuff down the left saw a cross-shot claimed by Shaun Rowley.

However, despite Cray playing well it was Hornchurch who went ahead in the 23rd minute when George Saunders down the right put over a fine cross into the six yard box where Liam Nash sidefooted first time into the net from five yards for his 11th goal of the season.

The Urchins’ tails were well and truly up and Ollie Muldoon was unlucky to see a well struck volley just clear the crossbar.  Then Tom Wraight found space inside the area but Rowley did well to make a smothering block.

In the 32nd minute Hornchurch scored a second and again was well worked with this time down the left Nathan Green put over a great cross from close to the byline and this time Nash got between Jack Holland and Jamie Mascoll to plant a fine header into the bottom left corner.

Cray looked to reduce the arrears before half time and from a corner from Raymond from the left Porter got to the ball to place a header over the bar.

Then Ellis Brown did well to cut inside from the left and from the edge of the area and curled a shot over the top.  This was followed by an audacious attempt from Porter from 30 yards which just sailed wide of goal.

Finally before half time, Hornchurch almost scored a third from a corner down the left the ball to the far post came to Nash who pulled the ball back into the area and was stabbed wide by Yusuff from close range.

HT:  0-2

The second half began with Cray enjoying some good possession and almost pulled a goal back when Raymond played the ball through to Gary Lockyer down the left of the area who finished well firing into the bottom right corner but was flagged offside but looked certainly marginal.

From here Nyren Clunis fired over the top and at the other end Hornchurch almost scored a third when Bertram-Cooper found Nash down the left of the area and his near post shot was deflected into the side netting by Anthony Cook’s fine challenge.

Cray got themselves back in the game in the 65th minute when after the award of a free kick down the left, twenty five yards from goal, Clunis put over a cross-shot into the area which evaded everyone in the box and went into the bottom right corner.

The Wands were now very much back in the game and came close to a leveller when ex-Urchin Brown made a fine run from midfield to the edge of the area and was clipped as he was about to shoot for the award of a free kick.  From the free kick, Raymond’s shot cannoned back off the wall and behind for a corner.

Despite this spell of pressure Hornchurch regrouped and in the 79th minute were awarded a penalty when Wraight’s ball over the top found Yusuff who broke into the area and was adjudged to have been nudged to the ground by Shaun Rowley and a spot kick was given. From the spot, Wraight stroked home to make it 3-1.

Three minutes later it was 4-1 and perhaps give the scoreline a harsh look when from a free kick from the left of the area, twenty five yards from goal, Ollie Muldoon’s strike went under the wall and hit the left post and went into the net.

Cray kept on going and a Clunis cross for Porter was deflected behind for a corner.  Then from a cross Lockyer headed wide.

Hornchurch almost scored a fifth when a rare mistake from Cameron Black put Emmanuel Harvest through but Black was able to atone for the error with a fine clearance off the line.

In the end Cray had put in a decent performance against a very good side who will surely end their promotion hoodoo this season and kept on going until the end and there were many positives to take from the game and perhaps the final score doesn’t tell the whole story of the match.

Cray now drop to 18th in the table on nine points and next travel to 19th placed Potters Bar Town on Saturday 21st October looking to bounce back but if they put in the same amount of effort and level of performance they can certainly do that.


Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Anthony Cook, Cameron Black, Jack Holland, Jamie Mascoll (Will Wood, 85), David Ijaha, Ellis Brown (Yahya Bamba, 86), Frankie Raymond, Nyren Clunis (Lee Lewis, 90+2), George Porter, Gary Lockyer:  Subs:  Sam Wood, Tom Penfold

Booked: Porter 55, Mascoll 68, Rowley 77, Raymond 78

Hornchurch: Dion-Curtis Henry, Nathan Green, Jordan Clark, Nathan Bertram-Cooper, Joe Christou (Emmanuel Harvest, 80), Ryan Scott, Ollie Muldoon, George Saunders (Femi Akinwande, H/T), Tom Wraight, Liam Nash, Ade Yusuff:  Subs:  Joe Wright, Lennon Peake, Lewwis Spence

Booked: Bertram-Cooper 6 mins, Clark 27, Yusuff 53, Muldoon 56

Referee: Lawrence Torz-Brown

Assistants: Joe Alborough, Robert Alderton

Att: 324