East Thurrock United vs. Cray Wanderers – Match Report

Isthmian Premier – Saturday, 1st January 2022


East Thurrock United                                                           1

Cray Wanderers                                                                    3


Cray Wanderers began 2022 with an encouraging victory at East Thurrock United in a game with importance at the lower end of the Isthmian Premier table. This meant a winning debut as interim manager for Grant Basey after taking temporary charge on New Years Eve.    

Cray who were 21st at the start of the game, came out of the traps quickly and deserved the lead given by Cameron Brodie’s rasping shot and his first league goal for the Wands in the 9th minute.  East Thurrock though who were one place above Cray in the table levelled just after the half hour with Ben Wyss’s close range finish.

 The second half could have gone either way and Bailey Vose had to be alert to deny Alex Hernandez early in the half but Cray went back in front with a customary exceptional strike from Anthony Cook from 25 yards for his 10th goal of the season in the 63rd minute. Vose made another great save from Jake Thompson’s header but Cray put a bit of daylight between the teams with another quality finish this time from Jai Reason in the 76th minute and Cray held out for their fifth league win of the season.   

 Despite the managerial change since last Monday, there were not too many changes to the Cray Wanderers lineup at the Rookery from the side which played Margate, Into the team came Kasim Aidoo and Jamie Yila in place of Dean Beckwith and Jack Hanson and the vast majority of the team remained although midfielder Stefan Wright who was signed on New Year’s Eve after being released by Sevenoaks Town was on the bench.  For the Rocks, there were three changes to the side beaten at Brightlingsea on Monday with ex-Wand Martin Onoabaghbe, Fahad Nazor and top scorer Alex Hernandez coming in for Joseph Heath, Jake Gordon and Emmanuel Okunja.

From the start the early signs were encouraging and in the opening minute Kyel Reid looked to curl in a shot from outside the area which went just over the top.  Shortly after Chris Dickson and Anthony Cook combined to set up Reid down the right of the area who cut inside and his shot along the ground was held by Arthur Janata.

 In the 9th minute Cray went in front Reid down the right put a ball across which seemed to be overhit to Jamie Yila who found Kasim Aidoo and his ball from the left was cleared out to Cameron Brodie who with space to shoot from 22 yards hit a cracking shot which flashed into the top left hand corner.

 Cray continued to look sharp in the first quarter of an hour and Dickson flashed a shot on the half volley wide and had an element of control early on.

 The game then went through a scrappy phase and East Thurrock gradually fought their way back into the game.  Firstly, Hernandez on the turn shot wide of the right post. Then, from a free kick on the right edge of the area, Thomas Stagg’s shot was held by Bailey Vose.

 In the 31st minute, East Thurrock drew level when Onobaghbe played a pass out to Callum Robinson down the left and he put a fine ball towards the near post and into the six yard box to Ben Wyss who applied a clever finishing touch to make it 1-1.

 This gave East Thurrock more confidence but the half just began to peter out with the last real half opening falling to Cray when from a corner down the right from Reid, the ball was punched out by Janata and the impressive Jai Reason picking up the ball shot over the bar.

 H/T:  1-1

 The second half began with East Thurrock perhaps just shading the game and came close to going in front when down the left, Hernandez broke into the area and was denied by quick thinking from Vose who did well to block the shot with his legs.

 Cray looked to show their class upfront and Ethan Kaiser played a ball through towards Chris Dickson who advanced on goal but Janata did well to come and smother the ball.

Another chance for East Thurrock came when Janata played a ball forward which reached Hernandez and attempted to lob Vose but landed just over the bar. At the other end Jamie Yila down the right looked to get the better of Jake Thompson and as he attempted a near post shot Janata did well again to block for a corner.

 In the 63rd minute Cray went back in front with another superb goal after some good passing. Vose received the ball from a cross and found Yila  and Dickson and switched to the right to Reid who once again combined with Yila and Dickson to set up Anthony Cook who from the left 25 yards out blasted in a shot which gave Janata no chance and crashed into the back of the net.

 The game became lively in the last twenty minutes. Firstly, substitute Stefan Wright almost made a scoring start on his debut when down the left of the area shot fractionally wide of the right post.

 East Thurrock were definitely not out of it and a free kick out on the right from Jake Gordon was accurately swung in and Thompson got in a free header which was pushed over the bar brilliantly by Vose who then had to push away a cross from the right.

 That proved a key save as in the 76th minute Cray just took the sting out of the game and the ball was worked across from the right and came to Reason who from just inside the area placed a shot with accuracy wide of Janata and into the net.

 There were chances for both teams near the end and Reason played a great ball through to substitute Erald Desa down the right of the area but his shot was blocked by Janata.  East Thurrock with four minutes of added on time looked to reduce the arrears and came close first during a goal mouth scramble which had to be cleared and then were unlucky when another Robinson cross into the box found Ollie Miles who cracked a shot off the underside of the crossbar and out.

 In the end Cray held out for their third win on the road this season and this is a hard place to come and win and did well in the second half to turn up the heat when they had to and scored three high quality goals.   The bench team of Grant Basey, Gary Alexander and Peter Lodge were hugely vocal and can be pleased with the attitude and discipline of the players in what was a high stakes match.  Bailey Vose is a top quality goalkeeper who has impressed in his first few games, the defence looked composed while Cameron Brodie and Jai Reason were superb in midfield and put in a huge amount of graft and craft.

 The games come thick and fast in January and the Wands are at home to 5th placed Enfield Town on Monday, 3rd January (3 pm) and can do so with more confidence on the back of a win to start the year.

 East Thurrock:          Arthur Janata, Ben Wyss, Callum Robinson, Tom Barton (Ben Search, 76), Jake Thompson, Ehizojie Onoabaghbe, Fahad Nazor (Jake Gordon, 66), Johnny Ashman (Ollie Miles, 78), Oliver Spooner, Thomas Stagg, Alex Hernandez: Subs: Joseph Heath, Emmanuel Okunja    

 Scorer:           Wyss 31

 Booked:         Nazor 

 Cray Wanderers:  Bailey Vose, Freddy Barton, Ethan Kaiser, Tom Hanfrey, Kasim Aidoo, Cameron Brodie, Jai Reason, Anthony Cook, Kyel Reid (Stefan Wright, 63), Jamie Yila (Erald Desa, 80), Chris Dickson (Emanuel Oduguwa, 83): Subs: Kayden Lewin-Thomas, Eniola Hassan   

 Scorers:         Brodie 9 mins, Cook 62, Reason 75

 Referee:  Paul Stratton

Assistants:  Andrew Crossley, Andrew Simmonds        


Att:      269