Enfield Town v Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier – Friday 15th April, 2022

Match Report

Enfield Town                                                 3

Cray Wanderers                                            3


Cray Wanderers ended a four game losing run with a well deserved point at promotion contenders Enfield Town and moved up one place to 20th in the Isthmian Premier league table at least until after Saturday’s games. 

With a recent spate of goalkeeping injuries, the Wand had to call up U18s keeper Nathan Boamah for his senior debut and produced an outstanding performance with a number of terrific saves including a one handed push over from a Lyle Della-Valde free kick and can look back with pride with his performance.

Neil Smith’s side had to show remarkable resolve after twice falling behind in the first half through a Jake Cass brace but each time levelled within two minutes with Sam Wood and Richie Danquah scoring to make it 2-2 at half time.  Cray went ahead in the 66th minute when Soul Kader scored his first goal with an accomplished finish after Chris Dickson’s flicked effort was deflected into his path.  Enfield though who needed a point to confirm a playoff place applied a lot of pressure in the last ten minutes and drew level two minutes from time when Cass completed his hat-trick at the far post from a Bilal Sayoud corner.

Cray were looking to get back to winning ways for the first time since March 12th but would have to expect to do it the hard way against an Enfield Town side which had won six in a row before last Saturday’s defeat at Brightlingsea Regent.

From the side which were beaten by Hornchurch on Sunday there were three changes with Nathan Boamah coming in for the injured Max Huxter, Richie Danquah for Denzel Willliams and Soul Kader for Kyel Reid.  There were two changes to the Enfield Town lineup with Jonathan Muleba coming in for Ryan Kirwan and Lyle Della-Verde for Lewis Taaffe.

The last three meetings between the sides had produced 21 goals so an average of 7 a game and certainly this was another 6 goal thriller with both sides having something to play for.  Cray got off to a good start and in the 2nd minute Chris Dickson worked his way into the area and his cross-shot was parried by Nathan McDonald and following up Jamie Yila saw a shot blocked.  

Enfield began to pressurise and in the 12th minute were awarded a free kick 25 yards out to the right of the area and Lyle Della-Verde curling shot was heading for the top right corner but Boamah made an outstanding one handed save to push the ball over the bar for a corner.  Shortly after from a cross into the box Sam Youngs header was well claimed by Boamah.

 For Cray, Yila curled a shot over the bar and the Wands won a series of corners and from one of these came close again when Dickson set up Yila with his back to goal and his overhead kick was pushed over well by McDonald.

Despite this period of play, Enfield took the lead in the 28th minute when down the left top scorer Mo Faal was adjudged to have been tugged back inside the area and a penalty kick was awarded. From the spot, Cass stroked home his shot into the bottom right corner.

 Two minutes later though out of nothing Cray were level when down the right of the area Sam Wood received the ball and from 12 yards showed great accuracy to fire a shot past McDonald and into the net.

As the half went on again Cray had the edge and Yila curled a shot over the bar and down the right Anthony Cook squared the ball across from close to the by line and was blocked with Cray claims for a handball declined.

 From there, Enfield went back in front in the 43rd minute when Della-Verde out on the right played a terrific ball out to Cass down the left and from just outside the area curled a superb shot wide of Boamah and into the net.

 Once again though Cray were not down for long and on the stroke of half time were level once again when from a free kick down the left the ball was swung into the area and Richie Danquah rose to meet the ball with a towering header which hit the back of the net and his first goal for the club and send the teams in at half time all square.

HT:      2-2

 The second half began in the same manner and Cray came close to going in front for the first time when from a corner down the left the ball into the box was met by the head of Yila but nicked off the head of an Enfield defender and over the bar for a corner.

 At the other end Enfield attacked and Della-Verde’s ball across from the right was touched wide by the onrushing Cass.

 The game then went through a brief lull although from a Wands free kick down the left the ball came to Chris Dickson but his shot was blocked.

 The long throw-ins down the left from Lee Chappell were a key element to the Enfield game and from one the ball was flicked across in the box and put behind for a corner.

 In the 66th minute, Cray went in front when a ball was played forward for Dickson who flicked the ball towards the area, took a deflection off Rian Bray and into the path of Soul Kader who showed composure to draw the keeper and slot under McDonald and into the net for also his first goal for Cray Wanderers.

Shortly after Kader could have scored again with a half volley which went wide of the left post but Enfield were beginning to apply pressure and Faal who has 32 goals for the season down the left saw a near post shot saved by the legs of Boamah.

 Enfield brought on Lewis Taaffe who scored twice when the sides drew 4-4 at Hayes Lane in January also off the bench and Bilal Sayoud who scored for Wingate & Finchley against Cray in September and this seemed to spur on Enfield for a relentless spell of pressure for the last ten minutes.

 Another throw-in from Chappell down the right was flicked across the area by Youngs and then from a free kick Taaffe’s shot was deflected and came to Manny Maja who turned a shot over the bar.  Then Percy Kiangebeni setup Cass for a shot which was deflected across goal and behind for a corner.

This was followed by another top draw save from Boamah who reacted superbly to deny Faal who was set up by Maja and the 17 year old keeper turned the ball round the post for a corner.  From the corner, Sayoud’s cross was headed over by Youngs who then hit a shot wide from out on the left.

 The pressure was definitely building and with two minutes to go from another corner down the right, Sayoud’s ball to the far post was turned in by Cass for his hat-trick and to tie the game once again.

 Cray had had to soak up a lot of pressure and Enfield came closest to winning the game in the four minutes of added on time when Taaffe set up Cass and his goal bound shot was met by a smart one handed save by Boamah when it looked like the ball was going past him and was able to get down to smother the ball to make it a quadruple of key saves during the game.

 In the end the game finished in a draw which was the least Cray deserved for their efforts and showed determination and intestinal fortitude to twice come back and look to repel a lively Enfield attack.  The point which many supporters would perhaps have taken before the game moves Cray albeit possibly briefly into 20th place level on points with Merstham who play Bognor Regis Town on Saturday on 33 points and a point ahead of bottom placed Leatherhead who are at home to Folkestone Invicta. 

 There were many fine performances from the Wands players today, Wood, Kader, Yila, Danquah, Kaiser and Hanfrey were strong at the back but many people commented that Nathan Boumah’s debut was the best they had seen from a debutante and the future is bright for this young keeper who drew praise from supporters from both clubs for his display.  The point for Enfield means they are confirmed for the playoffs and could be travelling to Hornchurch whom they have beaten twice this season.

 For Cray though, a massive game on Wednesday night against East Thurrock Unitedg awaits but at least now after the grit and determination shown against Enfield ended the losing run can now go into the game with renewed confidence.

 Enfield Town:                        Nathan McDonald, Jonathan Muleba (Lewis Taaffe, 74),  Lee Chappell, Scott Thomas (Percy Kiangebeni, 31), Rian Bray, Jerry Gyebi, Manny Maja, Sam Youngs, Jake Cass, Mo Faal, Lyle Della-Verde (Bilal Sayoud, 75): Subs: Ryan Kirwan, Nathan Smith

Scorer:           Cass 28 pen, 43, 88

 Booked:         Chappell

Cray Wanderers:  Nathan Boamah, Kasim Aidoo, Ethan Kaiser, Richie Danquah, Tom Hanfrey, Jedd Smith, Anthony Cook, Sam Wood, Jamie Yila, Saul Kader, Chris Dickson:

Subs:  Harvey Browne, Kyel Reid, Narcis-Florin Filip, Luca Albon, Joe Smith

Scorers:         Wood 30, Danquah 45, Kader 66

 Booked:        Yila

 Referee:  Michael Smith

Assistants:  Fadi Masour, Ahmad Rafique

 Att:  782