Cray Wanderers vs Canvey Island

Isthmian Premier – Wednesday 21st February – Match Report

Photos to follow

Cray Wanderers                                       2

Porter 11, 23

Canvey Island                                          1

Sach 59

Cray Wanderers made it seven games unbeaten and moved up to 13th in the Isthmian Premier League table as two first half George Porter goals helped the Wands to victory against Canvey Island at Hayes Lane.

In his first game since the match at Billericay Town on 13th January, Porter put the Wands ahead in the 11th minute with a well taken goal after Anthony Cook’s cross was partially cleared and then scored a second twelve minutes later when he followed up two blocked efforts.  Canvey Island fought back well in the second half and reduced the arrears with a Bradley Sach goal before the hour but Cray held out for the win to move onto 39 points and edge closer to safety and in the process make it fourteen matches unbeaten at home.

Cray were looking to build on the momentum of Saturday’s win at Cheshunt and from the side which started that game there were two changes with George Porter and Anthony Cook coming in for Alfie Evans and Emmanuel Kwatchey.  For Canvey Island who started the game in 13th place there were four changes from the side which lost at Margate on Saturday with Tobi Tinubu, debutante Jimmy Wallace, Elliott Johnson and Elliot Ronto coming in for Louis Arrowsmith, Lance Akins, Rob Girdlestone and Kai Brown.

The Wands began the game on the front foot and in the 3rd minute after a throw in down the right the ball came to Porter and took a stab at the ball and was claimed by Sam Jackson in the Canvey goal.  Then, Yahya Bamba tried his luck from 20 yards and his shot went wide of the right post.

A minute later Cray went in front when down the right Anthony Cook’s cross was cleared by Elliott Johnson out to Porter who from just inside the area hit a first time shot wide of Sam Jackson and into the net for his third goal of the season.

Cray continued to be the better side and after a brief spell when the game got a little tetchy almost scored a second when Frankie Raymond’s shot from outside the area was turned over well by Jackson.

From the corner in the 23rd minute Cray scored a second when Raymond’s ball into the box found Tom Bonner at the far post whose strike hit the post and Jack Holland’s follow up was blocked but Porter was on hand to score his second goal from 5 yards.

The Wands had played well especially for the first half hour but Canvey came more into it before the break but the nearest they came was when Jack Munns free kick was blocked and then Ronto down the right set up Bradley Sach who fired over from just inside the area.

HT:  2-0

The Wands brought on Tom Beere at half time for Tom Bonner who had been booked in the first half whilst Canvey made two changes with Connor Hubble and Kai Brown introduced off the bench.  

It was a lively second half but Cray were rather unfortunate not to score a third when Yahya Bamba got on the end of a pass to break into the area down the left to slot home but the goal was disallowed as it came after a Canvey player was offside and although the referee played an advantage the goal was chalked off for the earlier offside.

Canvey looked to get back into the game and won a corner down the left and Connor Hubble’s cross to the far post was turned wide by Charlie Edwards.

For Cray, Bamba won a corner down the left and Frankie Raymond’s ball to the far post was volleyed wide by the ever impressive David Ijaha.

In the 59th minute, Canvey pulled a goal back with a well worked goal and Bradley Sach found space to curl home a shot from the edge of the area past Shaun Rowley for his fourteenth goal of the season.

This led to a lively last half hour but Cray came close to scoring a third goal when first Bamba set up Tom Beere for a shot driven wide of the left post.  Then Gary Lockyer made a run forward and hit a shot on target well claimed by Jackson.

With twenty minutes to go, Alfie Evans came on for Porter and Cray perhaps still just had the edge but Canvey were still very much in the game.

Cray almost restored the two goal advantage when Josh Hallard won a corner down the right and Raymond’s ball to the far post for Lockyer came off the head of a defender and over for another corner.  This time down the left, Raymond’s ball to the near post was met by the head of Lockyer but Jackson did superbly to turn the ball aside and prevent a certain goal with ten minutes to go.  A minute later Ellis Brown came on for Hallard.

Canvey though had a good spell in the last ten minutes and first Ronto saw an overhead kick blocked down the right from Hubble’s cross.  Then in the 83rd minute, Ronto let fly with a shot from outside the box which went just wide of the left post.

Then in the 86th minute Cray were indebted once again to the excellence of Shaun Rowley  as down the right Kai Brown’s cross into the area was headed towards the bottom right corner but Rowley did well to push the ball out one handed and the ball was cleared.

There was still time in added time for Lockyer to pull a cross-shot across goal and then for Canvey from a corner down the right, Hubble’s ball into the area found Sach but his effort was cleared almost off the line by Raymond at the right post.

In the end Cray held out for another big three points and made it four wins in the last six league games to move up to 13th, easily the highest league placing this season and sixteen points clear of safety and eleven points off the playoff places.  This was another solid and at times impressive display from the Wands and over the game merited the victory.  Cray next face Kingstonian at Hayes Lane on Saturday looking to continue to climb the table and keep the unbeaten home run going.

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Anthony Cook, Jack Holland, Tom Bonner (Tom Beere, H/T), Sam Wood, David Ijaha, Frankie Raymond, Josh Hallard (Ellis Brown, 81), George Porter (Alfie Evans, 70), Yahya Bamba, Gary Lockyer:  Subs:  Cameron Black, Rhys Murrell-Williamson

Booked: Bonner 15, Cook 49, Lockyer 54, Wood 90+2

Canvey Island: Sam Jackson, Jordan Crowhurst (Lewis Arrowsmith, 64), Tobi Tinibu, Jamie Salmon, Jimmy Wallace, Elliott Johnson, Elliot Ronto, Jack Munns (Kai Brown, H/T), Bradley Sach, Charlie Edwards, Joe Paxman (Connor Hubble, H/T): Sub:  Lance Akins

Booked: Ronto 15, Tinibu 50

Referee: Dennis Torres Miranda

Assistants: Liam Chick, Dani Mansour

Att: 210