Cray Wanderers vs Potters Bar Town – Isthmian Premier – Saturday 11th March – Match Report

Cray Wanderers                                                      5

Bamba 28, Bassett 55, Oladipo 67,

Wood 70, Campbell 8

Potters Bar Town                                                    0

Cray Wanderers made it back to back league wins in March with the biggest win of the season to beat ten man Potters Bar Town 5-0 to move up to 8th in the league table.

Neil Smith’s side had come close through David Ijaha, Sam Wood and Yahaya Bamba before Bamba slotted Cray in front in the 28th minute from Matt Weaire’s pass.

Potters Bar who had battled hard for the first half hour were reduced to ten men in the 27th minute when Alieu Njie was sent off after a foul on Sam Wood and then deemed violent conduct to leave the Scholars with an uphill task.

Cray still had to get the job done and in the second half made it a comprehensive victory with four more goals.  Firstly in the 55th minute Dan Bassett scored his 13th of the season with a crisp strike into the top right corner from the edge of the area from Nyren Clunis’ layoff to make it 2-1.

There were four recent signings on the bench for Cray and two of them made an instant impact. Firstly, Destiny Oladipo, a striker signed from Hornchurch made it 3-0 two minutes after coming on as a substitute when he was played through by Bassett and made no mistake slotting the ball into the net from 14 yards in the 67th minute.

Three minutes later it was 4-0 with Bassett again the provider for Sam Wood who finished with some style from just inside the area for his fourth goal of the season.

Finally Cray made it five eight minutes from time with another debutant off the bench, Rio Campbell signed from Bowers & Pitsea scoring a fine individual goal cutting in from the right into the box and slotting into the bottom left to complete the scoring and a satisfying afternoon for the Wands.

Cray were looking to build on the last gasp win at Bowers & Pitsea last Saturday and there were three changes to the starting lineup with Matt Weaire coming in for Freddie Carter, Anthony Cook for Jephte Tanga and David Ijaha for Sam Skeffington. As well as Rio Campbell and Destiny Oladipo on the bench were former Dulwich Hamlet and Dundalk midfielder Taner Dogan and striker Jaheim Whyte for the second game.

Potters Bar Town had been without a win in the last six games and were 13th going into the game on 43 points, relatively safe from relegation and have reached the Isthmian League Cup final and had been beaten 0-1 by Margate at home on Tuesday night.r

After a chilly week to say the least it was unusual of late to see the game begin with sunshine and it was Potters Bar who perhaps edged the early exchanges with Cheyce Grant cutting into the area and seeing an effort blocked and then down the left Alieu Njie’s cross swept across goal.

Cray began to get into the game and in the 13th minute came close from a free kick down the right which was floated into the area perhaps aiming for Tom Derry but David Ijaha got his head to the ball and went just past the right post.

Three minutes later the Wands came closest yet when Sam Wood curled a fine shot from around 20 yards which thudded back off the left post.   Then a cross from the left by Dan Bassett to the far post was missed by Sam Wood but at the far post headed off the angle of post and bar by Yahaya Bamba and over.

Potters Bar were still hanging in the game and the hard working Lewis Smith fired well over the bar from a free kick 35 yards from goal.  Then perhaps the best chance of the afternoon for the Scholars when down the right Finlay Titchmarsh’s cross was met by a flicked header wide of the left post by Grant.

In the 28th minute Cray Wanderers took the lead when Matt Weaire’s ball was latched onto by Bamba who from the left of the area stroked the ball home from 8 yards for his fourth goal of the season.

The rest of the first half became a bit stop-start and in the 37th minute Potters Bar Town were reduced to ten men when Njie was dismissed for a foul on Sam Wood and in the aftermath seemed to gesture with his head towards Wood and was sent off and Wood was booked for his reaction to the foul.

HT:  1-0

Cray looked to add more tempo to the second half and straight away Ijaha threatened with a shot over from 30 yards from Dan Bassett’s layoff.

The Wands just needed a second goal to make things more comfortable and it arrived in the 55th minute when Bamba found Clunis whose flicked layoff put Bassett through, held off the challenge of Joe Russell and from the edge of the area hit a rasping shot into the top right corner of the net.

Bassett almost made it three shortly after when he cut into the box down the left but his near post shot was pushed out by Louis Chadwick.

Cray made the first change in the 65th minute with Destiny Oladipo coming on for Tom Derry and within two minutes got on the scoresheet from Bassett’s lay off and made no mistake from 14 yards to make it 3-0.

In the 70th minute the game was practically done and dusted when Bassett again the provider setting up Sam Wood for an emphatic finish again from just inside the area.

Potters Bar worked hard but the ten men were not really able to get the ball for any period of time and Harrison Sodje curled a shot over and Wood set up Bamba for a shot deflected to Chadwick.

In the 76th minute Rio Campbell came on for his debut and the former Swansea City youth and U21 player made an impact six minutes later when after a patient passing move, Wood switched the ball out to Jalen Jones down the right who found Bassett and then on to Campbell who cut in from the right, into the area and had the composure to drill a shot wide of Chadwick and into the bottom left.

Before the end a cross from Campbell from the right just couldn’t get a firm connection from Dajon Golding in the six yard box.

Then Sodje was unlucky to see a curling shot pushed out well by Chadwick and the final action saw Campbell’s strike held by the Scholars keeper.

In the end Cray had done more than enough to win the match and in some style and move on to 57 points, three points behind fifth placed Enfield Town in eighth place. In a tight race with as many as twelve teams in contention for just two promotion places there is plenty of football to come in the final few weeks of the season and the Wands are very much going to be part of the drama to come with seven more matches to go with the next game at Brightlingsea Regent next Saturday.

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Anthony Cook, Matthew Weaire, Jalen Jones, Harrison Sodje, David Ijaha, Sam Wood, Yahaya Bamba (Rio Campbell, 76), Nyren Clunis (Dajon Golding, 68), Dan Bassett, Tom Derry (Destiny Oladipo, 65): Subs:  Jaheim Whyte, Taner Dogan

Booked: Wood 38, Sodje 45

Potters Bar Town: Louis Chadwick, Finlay Titchmarsh, Joshua Rosuke, Calvin Dickson, Adam Martin, Joe Russell, Cheyce Grant (Sam Bajaha, 56), Alieu Njie, Uko Oji (Ike Olaiya, 63), Lewis Smith, Wilson Chingoke (Schadrac Kweme, 90)

Sent off: Njie 37

Booked: Smith 79

Referee: Nicholas Dunn

Assistants: Dane Johnson, Joshua Howard


Att:  198