Cray Wanderers vs Cheshunt – Match Report
Isthmian Premier – Saturday 23rd September
Cray Wanderers 2
Mascoll 29, Porter 77
Pics: Ben Keayes
Cray Wanderers made it back to back league wins and moved up to 18th in the Isthmian Premier league table after a hard fought win against Cheshunt at Hayes Lane.
In a game that was action packed from the start, the Wands went in front in the 29th minute through a well taken Jamie Mascoll goal before Cheshunt levelled in the second half through Solomon Baugh. Cray stuck at it and went back in front through George Porter’s first goal of the season in the 77th minute and held out well for a well earned three points.
After the exertions of the FA Cup replay at Ramsgate on Wednesday night Cray were looking to bounce back quickly to improve the league position and from the team which started on Wednesday into the side came Gary Lockyer after being cup-tied, Sam Wood who made a huge difference when he came on at Ramsgate and Ellis Brown for his first full start in place of Yahya Bamba, Anthony Cook and Cameron Thompson.
Cheshunt had won their last league game against Bognor Regis Town and had added to their squad since then and certainly gave the Wands a stern test and it turned out to be a game full of thrills and spills from the first whistle.
Cray Wanderers came close to taking the lead in the opening minute when Sam Wood found Nyren Clunis and his goalbound shot was pushed over the bar one handed by Joe Rose.
Then in the fourth minute Cray almost scored again when Lockyer found Brown who broke into the box down the right and his effort looked to be goalbound but Rose got a good hand to the ball and was eventually cleared.
Cheshunt though moved the ball around well and got into the game and had a purple patch after the tenth minute. Firstly Anwar Motawafiq found Nathaniel Orafu who curled a shot wide of the right post. Then Cheshunt had a very good chance when from a Solomon Baugh corner down the right Nnamai Nwakuchu who scored a hat-trick in the win against Bognor Regis sent a header wide of the left post.
Then from another corner from the left the ball was headed out to Nwakuchu who who sent a shot wide of the left post from the right of the area.
Cray were able to see out that little spell but had to make an early change when Will Wood was replaced by Jamie Mascoll through injury in the 15th minute. Cray looked though to threaten down the left through Mascoll as his cross was glanced goalwards by George Porter but was gathered by Joe Rose.
Cheshunt though created perhaps the best early chance when Nwakuchu was played through down the right of the area but Shaun Rowley did superbly to make a sharp block.
Two minutes later Cray went in front as the ball was worked down the right and Clunis’ ball across was helped across by Porter to Mascoll who down the left fired unerringly into the bottom right corner.
A couple of minutes later Cray almost scored a second when a cross from the left was headed wide of the right post by Lockyer.
Before half time though Cheshunt were still very much in contention and substitute Dejon Noel-Williams was found down the left and Jack Holland did superbly to get in a block to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Then from a corner won down the right in stoppage time another good corner from Baugh was met in the area full on the volley by Motawafiq but a diving Rowley did superbly to get down to push the ball away.
The second half began with a bit of a breather after the excitement of the first with Clunis cutting in from the left but his near post shot lacked power and was gathered by Rose.
After a scrappy phase Cheshunt just after the hour began to exert pressure and had a positive ten minute spell. Firstly Noel-Williams was found by Orafu down the left but from inside the area his drive was well blocked by Rowley. Then Motawafiq found Orafu down the left and his cross to the far post was volleyed wide by Jamie Reynolds.
Then Cheshunt perhaps should have done better with Cray perhaps conscious of a possible Ambers handball in the buildup and Ernold Haxhiu found Finlay Titchmarsh and his right wing cross found Noel-Williams who fired the ball over the top.
However, Cray were living a bit of a charmed life and Cheshunt levelled in the 69th minute when Baugh who was a constant threat was given time to cut into the box down the right and drilled a low shot into the bottom left corner.
Cheshunt almost took the lead shortly after when from a free kick out on the left Baugh’s ball into the box came to Orafu whose overhead kick went over the top.
However, Cray managed to find a second wind and Mascoll’s cross from the left to the far post for Clunis was blocked and behind for a corner.
From the right wing corner in the 77th minute, Clunis’ cross was headed on by Cameron Black into the area for George Porter to glide the ball home for his first league goal for the Wands since the 2009/10 season.
Cray now had a lot more zip and Clunis and Porter combined to set up the impressive David Ijaha whose shot was deflected behind for a corner.
From the corner the ball came to Clunis who stung the hands of Rose with a near post shot down the right.
From here Cray were able to control the remaining minutes despite six minutes added on for stoppages and picked up a big three points against a good side who were playing Step 2 football last season and after a sapping cup tie on Wednesday actually ended the game looking energised.
After a difficult August where perhaps results were worse than the performances Cray have put together back to back wins and moved out of the bottom four. After a Kent Senior Cup tie with Phoenix Sports on Tuesday, they head to Kingstonian on Saturday looking to keep up the momentum.
Shaun Rowley, Lee Lewis (Anthony Cook, 76), Cameron Black, Jack Holland, Will Wood (Jamie Mascoll, 15), David Ijaha, Ellis Brown, Sam Wood, Nyren Clunis, George Porter, Gary Lockyer (Yahya Bamba, 78): Subs: Cameron Thompson, Tom Penfold
Joe Rose, Finlay Titchmarsh, Taylor McKenzie, Harlain Mbayo, Nathaniel Orafu, Enock Ekongo (Bobby Unwin, 87), Kai Redgrave (Ernold Haxhiu, H/T), Solomon Baugh, Anwar Motawafiq, Jamie Reynolds, Nnamdi Nwakuchu (Dejon Noel-Williams, 39): Subs: Christos Djamas, James Meehan
Booked: Orafu 5 mins, Mbayo 90
Referee: Adam Merchant
Assistants: Jordan Crichlow, Declan Wyatt