Ryman League Division One North: 20/10/15
Cray Wanderers 4 Frieter 18, Tajbakhsh 45+2, 60, Bremner 73
Haringey Borough 2 Sambu 20, Griffiths 26
Cray stayed five points clear at the top of Ryman North as two second half goals helped the Wands defeat Haringey Borough at Hayes Lane. Cray certainly had to work hard to claim the three points against a lively Borough side who belied their lowly league position to take the lead in the first half after Mike Frieter had put Cray in front. Two goals from set pieces gave the North Londoners the lead before two superb goals from Aryan Tajbakhsh and a poachers effort from Leigh Bremner saw Cray pick up another vital three points.
Cray who were involved in another six goal thriller at the weekend, made one change to the starting lineup from Saturday’s game with Bury Town. An injury to Lewis Tozer meant the welcome return for Karl Dent in midfield.
The teams had played out a goalless draw as recently as 22nd September and this game was in stark contrast to that evening as both teams played good football and a fine match ensued.
Cray created the first opening of the game when Tajbakhsh played the ball out to the right to Dent who sent a fine ball over to the back post but James Duckworth’s header went wide.
Haringey looked a better side going forward than they did in the earlier meeting and Saleem Masri had a shot from 30 yards which was going wide but was gathered by Nick Blue. Shortly after a hashed clearance fell to Ishmail Kamara who with time scuffed a shot wide from the edge of the box.
Duckworth was presented with an opportunity when played through on goal but couldn’t quite get the ball to sit up for him and the ball was cleared. For Borough, another long range effort from Dan Aristidou went well over.
A goal in the game seemed likely and the Wands went ahead after 18 minutes when Tajbakhsh played a defence splitting pass which narrowly beat the Borough offside trap through to Frieter who with time showed great composure to run on and calmly slot the ball home from just inside the area for his second goal in successive games.
Any thoughts that this would lead to a comfortable victory were quickly dispelled when Borough levelled two minutes later. Haringey were awarded a free kick some 25 yards out on the right hand side. An excellent ball in from Leroy Griffiths was glanced home by Jorge Sambu whose header beat Blue into the bottom left corner.
Cray had to make a change when Frieter went off injured and was replaced by Leigh Bremner. Cray were probably still reorganising when Haringey went ahead in the 26th minute. This time a free kick centrally placed from 25 yards was hit with some venom by Griffiths and gave Blue no chance as the ball flew into the net.
The rest of the half saw Cray have the bulk of possession and despite being behind the feeling was that Cray would get chances as the game progressed. From a free kick out on the right, Ade Osifuwa’s ball in to the box was flicked on to Ben Payne and his shot perhaps lack a bit of power and keeper Ashley Harris was able to gather. With half an hour on the clock, a Leigh Bremner strike was deflected for a corner. A corner from Basey found its way out to Payne who laid the ball out to Dent who shot across goal and narrowly wide.
Haringey were getting pushed back towards the end of the half with their only half chance falling to Aristidou who latched on to a bad pass but turned a shot well wide of goal.
With half time approaching, Cray were awarded a free kick out on the left. Duckworth’s ball in came to Tajbakhsh whose close range header was turned round the by post by Harris for a corner.
With the game in the second minute of stoppage time at the end of the half, Cray levelled after a throw in led to an eight pass movement which led to Duckworth playing the ball out to Tajbakhsh who from the right edge of the penalty box curled in an absolute beauty which sailed into the top left corner of the net.
Half Time: 2-2
The non stop action continued in the second half although the game did go through a scrappy ten minute spell before the game burst back into life.
Cray were looking good going forward and a cross from the left from Dent was turned wide for a corner. Basey’s right wing kick found Bremner who got to the ball but planted a header wide of the right post.
To their credit Haringey kept bombing forward in particular the lively Macauley White who made a good run forward to the edge of the area and his low shot was palmed round by Blue.
One thing this Cray team do not do is panic and always look to play their unique brand of football and on the hour the Wands took the lead with another excellent goal to add to the vast array already amassed this season. Good combination play between substitute, Uche Ibemere and Karl Dent in the midfield saw the ball go out to Tajbakhsh once again who this time from 20 yards fired home an unstoppable shot which crashed into the bottom left corner to send the Wands fans ecstatic.
Borough were by no means beaten and came close to scoring again when White made a strong run forward and laid the ball through to Anthony McDonald whose shot was half hit and Blue was able to save.
More good work from Bremner down the right hand side saw him set up Omone Sodje who found himself a shooting chance from ten yards but his shot came back off a post and away to safety.Cray went further ahead in the 73rd minute when a superb cross from the left from Roberts fell to Sodje whose header was pushed out by Harris but Bremner following up from about two yards out got the final touch to nudge the ball into the net possibly via a defender for a goal his performance deserved.
After this Cray were able to breathe that little bit easier for the first time in the evening and as the game wore down, Borough threatened to get another goal when Nana Asamoah shot wide, then Sambu fired over from ten yards.
For Cray, Ibemere had the ball in the net but was disallowed for offside before fittingly Borough created the last opening of the game when McDonald pulled a shot wide of goal when well placed.
In the end, Cray were able to claim a vital victory which keeps the momentum going and the points total ticking along. Cray are now on the road for the next four games and can go on this run with great confidence after four very good performances. Certainly on this evidence it would be a surprise if Haringey were to go down as they looked a much better side than perhaps thought so this was a very good victory for Cray in the end.
Cray’s next fixture is the long trip to Dereham Town on Saturday as this tremendous adventure for Tony Russell’s side continues.
Cray: Nick Blue, Ade Osifiuwa, Grant Basey, Sean Roberts, Ben Payne, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Ben Payne, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Aryan Tajbakhsh, Karl Dent (Dane Moore,
73), Onome Sodje, James Duckworth (Uche Ibemere, 56), Michael Frieter (Leigh Bremner, 25): Subs: Ray Powell, Adrian Garcia
Haringey: Ashley Harris, Ben Adams, Macauley White, Jorge Sambu, Rakim Richards, Dan Walker (Capt.), Dan Aristidou, Saleem Masri (Nana Asamoah, 75), Leroy Griffiths, Ishmail Kamara (Jerome Martelli, 44), Theo Davis (Anthony McDonald, 59): Subs: Dan Ailey, Michael Kharshiladze