Horsham v Cray Wanderers – Match Report

Isthmian League Premier – 26/2/22

 Horsham                                            2

Cray Wanderers                                 2

Cray Wanderers picked up a vital point in their quest to move away from the Isthmian Premier relegation places from an entertaining encounter at a sunny Horsham.

With Cray in 19th place and without a game last weekend were quick off the mark at the Camping World Community Stadium and took the lead in the 13th minute with Chris Dickson’s cool finish from Cameron Brodie’s pass.  Horsham though were lively going forward and levelled on the half hour with a far post header from Tom Day from a Tom Richards free kick. Both sides  had chances before half time but it was Horsham who went ahead in added on time when from a Lee Harding corner into the six yard box Will Miles flicked the ball into the net.   Horsham pressed for a third goal and Jack Brivio hit the crossbar but Cray levelled on 65 minutes when Sam Wood set  up Brodie down the left and his shot on goal was slightly deflected and crashed into the back of the net.

Since the last outing at Folkestone on 15th February, there were a couple of Wands debutants, goalkeeper Joe Wright and striker Narcis-Florin Filip. Another new signing defender Denzel Williams was on the bench. Wright came in for Nick Blue who was with Cray as cover for the injured Bailey Vose, Nazir Bakrin for Richie Danquah, Luca Albon for Freddy Barton, Sam Wood  for Tom Hanfrey and Filip for the injured Jamie Yila.

Horsham, in 13th place had been in good goalscoring form and made one change to the side which beat Corinthian Casuals 5-0 on Tuesday night in the Isthmian League Cup with Tom Richards coming in for Chris Sessegnon.

On a bright late February afternoon that was in stark contrast to last weekend the game got off to a very quick start with a confident Horsham going close in the first minute when Doug Tuck fired a shot just over the top.  Then in the 3rd minute, Eddie Dsane down the left fired a shot fractionally wide of the right post.

Cray though showed they had teeth and Kyel Reid played a good ball from midfield out to Filip down the left who controlled the ball well and was unlucky to see his shot blocked by Sam Howes and the follow up shot from Sam Wood just outside the area was charged down and behind for a corner.

The Wands went ahead in the 13th minute with a well worked goal as Reid found Cameron Brodie down the right who cut inside and dinked a fine pass through to Chris Dickson who chested the ball down and from eight yards rolled the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.

The game was being played at a good pace and with plenty of intensity and commitment and Horsham almost levelled when Dsane found space and his shot from the left edge of the area was met by an exceptional save from Joe Wright who tipped the ball over the bar.

There was a blow for Cray in the 29th minute when Ethan Kaiser had to leave the game with an injury and was replaced by Richie Danquah.

Cray were just adjusting to the substitution when Horsham drew level after the award of a free kick just outside the area down the left.  From the free kick, Tom Richards put over a great cross towards the far post where Tom Day rose to power home an impressive header to make it 1-1.

The Wands almost went back in front when Filip who twice had been caught fractionally offside earlier in the half was played through and from just outside the area lofted the ball towards goal but drifted just over.

Then from a free kick down the left, Anthony Cook swung in a cross-shot which Howes did well to get his hands to and went out for a corner.  Then another free kick from Cook again down the left went to the far post and Dickson turned the ball wide.

There was still time before half time for Wood to hit a clean strike which went wide but at the other end Wright excelled again when he had to push behind a close range effort from Richards.

This led to a corner in the third minute of stoppage time and from the corner down the left, Lee Harding played a fine ball into the six yard box where Will Miles stole in to guide the ball into the net for something of a cruel blow just before half time.

H/T:     2-1

The second half began with Horsham looking confident going forward and Cray just had to hang in the game for a spell  and Horsham came close to going 3-1 up when from a free kick, Richards cross was headed.wide by Harding.

The best chance of the half for Horsham was to come when a ball from Harvey Sparks fell to Richards down the right and his excellent cross into the box was met by a firm header from Jack Brivio but came back off the crossbar.   Then another header from Harding was well gathered by Wright.

Cray though were still in the game and on 65 minutes drew level when Dickson down the right found  Filip who sent over a cross to the far post to Wood who cleverly nudged the ball to Brodie who from 16 yards hit a first time shot which Howes got his hands to but couldn’t keep out with Miles looking to make a block.

There was another injury for Cray when Reid had to go off and was replaced for his debut by Denzel Williams in the 71st minute.

The game was now much more even and Filip who worked extremely hard all afternoon and the impressive Nazir Bakrin down the right helped set up a shot for Jacob Munting who came on just before the equaliser from  the edge of the area which was well fielded by Howes. Then Brodie who had another fine match did well down the left and set up Anthony Cook for a shot which was deflected behind for a corner.

Perhaps Cray’s last real chance for a winner came with the award of a free kick not far outside the area but Cook’s shot was wide of goal.

The last few minutes saw more Horsham pressure and Charlie Hester-Cook came close with a shot that went wide of goal and then Wright made a good save to push the ball away from a cross-shot.

Cray though were defending stoutly and soaked up a lot of late pressure but Horsham could have won it at the end but Sparks’ ball across from the left to the far post was inviting for Lucas Rodrigues but couldn’t get a touch and the ball went wide.

In the end the game finished in a 2-2 draw which was a decent result for Cray against a very good side who had an exceptional FA Cup run earlier in the season and there was a lot great effort expended from the Wands on the day. Wright looks a fine prospect in goal and make three very good saves and his handling excellent.  Filip although perhaps understandably slowed near the end gave an all action performance, Dickson was sharp up front and Sam Wood once again showed his experience is key to the final few weeks of the season. Brodie has been very good for some time now but so has Kasim Aidoo who deserves perhaps a man of the match mention for his performance.

Grant Basey’s side remain 19th in the table on 28 points level with Brightlingsea Regent who also drew today who have a couple of games in hand but the Wands are playing well enough to go into the final ten games of the season with confidence.

Horsham:       Sam Howes, Tom Richards, Harvey Sparks, Doug Tuck, Will Miles, Tom Day, Lee Harding (Chris Sessegnon, 64), Charlie Hester-Cook, Shamir Fenelon (Lucas Rodrigues, 85), Jack Brivio, Eddie Dsane (Rob O’Toole, 59): Subs: Charlie Harris, Tom Kavanagh  

Scorers:         Day 30, Miles 45+3

 Booked:         Harding                     

Cray Wanderers:  Joe Wright, Kasim Aidoo, Nazir Bakrin, Ethan Kaiser (Richie Danquah, 29), Cameron Brodie, Anthony Cook, Luca Albon (Jacob Munting, 64), Sam Wood, Kyel Reid (Denzel Williams, 71), Chris Dickson, Narcis-Florin Filip: Subs: Emanuel Oduguwa, Tom Hanfrey 

Booked:         Albon, Kaiser, Cook, Filip   

Referee:         Ciaran Fidler 

Assistants:    Jonathan Wilkes & Chris Britton   

Att:      819