Ryman League Division One South – 23/11/16
Cray Wanderers 2
Haynes 19, 74
Gill 33, Batchelor 73
Cray Wanderers moved back up to seventh place in the Ryman South table after another entertaining contest with Horsham ended in a 2-2 draw.
In a very open game that seemed to fly by in an instant Cray started the game very well and took the lead through Danny Haynes thumping drive before the twenty minute mark. Horsham slowly got into the game and levelled before they took the lead against the run of play in the 73rd minute. A minute later Haynes scored again with a fine header but despite a lot of late pressure, Cray couldn’t grab a winner.
The Wands had to dig deep to win their last match against Chipstead on Saturday from two goals down but for this game were without three key players. Nick Blue picked up a leg injury against Chipstead and was replaced by Leyton Orient and England youth goalkeeper Sam Roach. Ben Mundele couldn’t recover sufficiently to the knock he picked up on Saturday and Ade Osifuwa came in for him. Brandon Scott had a trial game with Fleetwood Town so was absent and Sherwin Stanley took his place. The other changes were Sean Roberts for Jai McKinlay with Sol Taiwo switching to centre back and Dane Luchford who helped instigate the Cray fightback coming in for Lee Prescott.
The game started at a fairly brisk pace with Cray on the front foot. The Wands were awarded an early free kick on the edge of the box but Stanley’s shot went well over.
Horsham who started the game in mid table were quite competitive and neat with their passing but Cray began impressively and were unlucky not to score when Karl Dent did well to dispossess a Horsham defender and laid the ball out to Haynes on the right of the penalty area and his strike at the near post was pushed round for a corner by keeper Josh Pelling. From the right wing corner, Jey Siva’s cross was met by Lea Dawson whose header hit Pelling in the face and the ball was cleared.
Before the quarter of an hour mark, Cray came close again when the impressive Luchford down the right set up Dawson who in turn teed up Haynes who drove a shot narrowly wide.
Then out on the left a fine cross by Jey Siva was met by Stanley but could only direct his header over the bar. This was followed by a low cross from Luchford out on the right which led to a desperate clearance.
A Cray goal was coming and duly arrived in the 19th minute and was well worth waiting for. The buccaneering Osifuwa up from the back swept the ball out to Luchford out on the right and he played a ball across to Haynes who rifled home an unstoppable strike from fifteen yards into the net for his fifteenth goal of the season.
Cray had deserved to be in front but were unable to build on that lead and Horsham showed good character to hang in the game and gradually fought their way back into the game.
The first attempt on goal from Horsham came when Tom Lawley hit a fairly tame shot from thirty yards which Roach got down to save comfortably.
However, somewhat out of the blue Horsham equalised with a well taken goal when Lawley found Ollie Gill on the edge of the penalty area and hit a crisp low strike wide of Roach to make it 1-1.
The Wands started to get a bit nervous before half time and Horsham grew a bit in confidence. They came close to taking the lead when Lawley’s strike from twenty five yards was spilled by Roach but he managed to push the ball out enough to make George Branford following up back heel the ball wide of goal.
Five minutes before half time, Cray were denied by an errant linseman’s flag when Haynes was played through only to be flagged offside. Then Horsham almost took the lead when Jay Leader was dispossessed by Lawley who strode on down the left of the area but his effort on goal was stopped by a fine one handed save by Roach and the ball was cleared.
Half Time: 1-1
There was a change at half time with Lee Prescott replacing Sherwin Stanley. The second half began much the way the first did with barely a break in play due to the pace of the game and Horsham if anything started the better with Lawley, Gill and Branford pulling the strings.
Cray though found their feet and began to create openings with Haynes down the right putting over a cross-shot which was blocked.
The Wands put together a fine passing move when Haynes, Osifuwa and Roberts involved switching the ball out to Luchford who played the ball into to Dent who turned the ball wide from six yards.
Cray came even closer a few minutes later when Taiwo whose fine long passing from the back was such a feature played the ball through to Roberts who strode through one on one but agonisingly drilled his shot narrowly wide of the right post.
In the 68th minute the Wands were unlucky again when Roberts shot was blocked and fell to Prescott who found Dent who hit a first time shot which clipped the top of the crossbar and went over. Then from a free kick out on the right, Siva’s ball into the box was headed wide of goal by Prescott.
With all this pressure, the last thing expected was a goal for Horsham but it duly came in the 73rd minute when Scott Kirkwood found Gill down the left who played the ball through to an unmarked Reece Batchelor up from the back who stroked the ball into the net.
This Wands team though have bucketloads of character and within a minute made it 2-2 when down the left, Dent found Siva whose cross to the near post was inch perfect and Haynes planted a fine header wide of Pelling.
This lead to some pretty incessant Wands attacking but they almost fell to another sucker punch when Branford combined with Louie Downley and hit a wicked swerving strike which Roach pushed one handed over the bar for a corner.
Cray kept on the attack but found real scoring chances hard to come by. Siva found Prescott who rather hurried a shot and went over the top.
Then Leader found Siva again who this time found Dent but he mishit his shot and went wide of goal.
In the end time ran out on another dramatic Wands win and had to settle for a draw. It remains to be seen in the course of a long season but the general feeling was this was a game Cray let slip away especially after such a good start but at least maintained a three game unbeaten record in the league.
Cray now go on the road for the next two matches at Molesey on Saturday and then away to fifth placed Hythe Town on Tuesday night with the Wands looking to keep well in touch with the leaders at what is still fairly early in the season.
Cray: Sam Roach, Ade Osifuwa, Jey Siva, Jay Leader, Sol Taiwo, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Sean Roberts, Karl Dent, Danny Haynes, Dane Luchford, Sherwin Stanley (Lee Prescott, H/T): Subs: Timi Osidobu, Jai McKinlay, Sean Law
Horsham: Josh Pelling, Reece Batchelor, Lewis Hyde, Matt Axell (Louie Downey, 69), Ashley Jones (Capt.), Charlie Farmer, George Branford, Daniels Sackman, Tom Lawley, Ollie Gill (Tiago Andrade, 59), Scott Harris (Scott Kirkwood, 57). Subs: Joe Smith
Referee: Connor Farrell
Assistants: Elliott Mayer, James Kerton