Hornchurch v Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier – Match Report – 21/8/21

Hornchurch                                                                        1

Nash 14

Cray Wanderers                                                               2

Yila 27, Okosieme 74

Cray Wanderers continued their winning start to the 2021-22 season with an impressive victory at FA Trophy holders Hornchurch coming from a goal down to win with goals in each half from Jamie Yila and Ejiro Okosieme.

Both sides won their opening games and it was a fast paced, entertaining match which flowed in the first half before becoming a more tactical game in the second but there was plenty to keep the large crowd entertained.

Hornchurch went in front in the 14th minute when Liam Nash fired in from Chris Dickson’s flick on but Cray pulled level in the 27th minute when Anthony Cook’s cross was cleared out to Jamie Yila who crashed home his second goal of the season.  Cray went in front in the 74th minute when Andy Drury’s free kick was glanced into the net expertly by Ejiro Okosieme and Cray were able to see out the win after Jack Turner made a tremendous save to deny Charlie Ruff.

Cray were looking to build on the momentum of the fine 3-1 win vs Lewes last Saturday and made one change to the starting lineup with Sadik Balarabe coming in for Lee Lewis. The Wands did have the returning Dean Beckwith and Charlie Allen on the bench after missing the Lewes game. Hornchurch won 2-0 at Horsham on the opening day of the season with two Nash goals and they made one change with Ellis Brown in for Lewwis Spence.

Hornchurch buoyed by their excellent recent form started the game in confident mood and came close to scoring in the opening minutes with Chris Dickson inside the area was denied by a fine tackle by Okosieme at the expense of a corner.

Cray though showed their qualities going forward and Jamie Yila found space to turn and shoot from the edge of the area and fired just fractionally wide of the right post.   Then Sadik Balarabe down the right made a strong run forward and from 20 yards hit a shot just wide of goal.

Hornchurch though went in front in the 14th minute when Joe Christou’s thrown in down the right was flicked on by Dickson in the area to the far post where Nash volleyed the ball past Jack Turner and into the net.

It was close to being 2-0 shortly after but Nash fired into the side netting down the left but Cray showed they were still in the game as Andy Drury’s free kick down the left was played into the box and Okosieme just couldn’t apply a touch to divert the ball into the net.

The game continued to go from end to end and Nash who was a constant threat during the first half broke down the left again and was denied by a smart stop from Turner to prevent a second Hornchurch goal.

Cray though had stayed in the game well and drew level in the 27th minute when Balarabe found Cameron Brodie down the right and his cross into the box just couldn’t get a touch from Adam Coombes and went out to the left to Anthony Cook and his cross was cleared out to Yila who fired in a terrific finish from just inside the area wide of keeper Noah Phillips and into the bottom right corner.

The half continued to be open and from a corner to the far post, Remi Sutton saw an effort blocked while at the other end the excellent Cameron Brodie fired over the bar. Hornchurch continued to threaten and Ollie Muldoon and Charlie Ruff combined to set up Dickson who shot wide while Brodie shot over from 25 yards from Yila’s pass.

The last action of the first half saw Cray come close again when Balarabe combined with Brodie to break into the area but his attempted shot was met by a fine block from Rickie Hayles.

H/T:  1-1

There was a change for the Wands at half time as Charlie Allen replaced Balarabe and the game became more of an attritional affair for much of the half and an intensity to the match which saw four bookings but still a high quality game.

Hornchurch looked to continue on the front foot and a fine cross from the right to the far post sought out Nash who looked to connect with a shot but the ball just went away from goal.

At the other end, Cray’s best moment came when Allen set up Brodie inside the area but his shot looked to be deflected off Coombes straight to Phillips.

There were bookings for Brodie, Allen, Harvey Brand and Charlie Ruff as the second half continued by Hornchurch came close to going back in front when Dickson down the left of the area saw his shot pushed out with a one handed save by Turner.

In the 74th minute, Cray went in front when after Cook was fouled, from a free kick down the left, Drury’s ball into the box was met by a firm header from Okosieme who steered the ball past Phillips and into the bottom right corner.

Three minutes later, Hornchurch nearly drew level but Turner excelled once again when he made a terrific stop to deny a fine volley from Ruff and managed to push the ball away.

The Urchins continued to seek an equaliser and Sutton found Nash who drove a shot into the side net down the right and then Sam Higgins set up Nash whose shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Cray though were defending very well and came close to breaking away and scoring a third when the Yila down the right broke into the area and his cross-shot just went across goal with no-one to get on the end of it.

However with four minutes of injury time added Cray were able to see out the remaining minutes and pick up an excellent three points and make it two wins out of two for Danny Kedwell as Cray Wanderers manager.

However, Cray defensively second half were superb with Okosieme and Freddie Cray in the centre like rocks to deny chances while Brand and Joey Taylor down the right and left stuck to their tasks well against a very good Hornchurch side. Also a special mention for Fjord Rogers who came for the last 18 minutes and won every header including in his own box clearing the ball. Yila was outstanding again as was the combative but skilful Brodie and Andy Drury seldom gave the ball away and showed his considerable experience during the spells when Hornchurch were on top and Turner is another in the long line of top class keepers at Cray Wanderers over many years.

The Wands now head for a week off before a Bank Holiday weekend double header at home to Worthing on Saturday followed by a trip to Margate on Monday and can do so in good heart.

Cray Wanderers:              Jack Turner, Harvey Brand, Ejiro Okosieme, Freddie Cray, Joey Taylor, Cameron Brodie (Dean Beckwith, 83), Andy Drury, Anthony Cook, Jamie Yila, Sadik Balarabe (Charlie Allen, H/T), Adam Coombes (Fjord Rogers, 72): Subs: Anis Nuur, Martin Onoabagbe

Booked:               Brodie, Allen, Brand

Hornchurch:       Noah Phillips, Mickey Parcell, Remi Sutton, Jordan Clark, Rickie Hayles, Ollie Muldoon, Joe Christou, Liam Nash, Ellis Brown (Sam Higgins, 75), Charlie Ruff, Chris Dickson (Charlie Stimson, 83): Subs:  Finley Thackway, Sakariya Hassan, Harry Gibbs

Booked:               Ruff

Referee:              Toby Enstone

Assistants:          Michael Butcher, Joseph Dann-Pye

Att: 502