Pitching In Isthmian Premier – Tuesday 6th October, 2020

Potters Bar Town 3

Ward-Cochrane 8, 38, Gogo 17

Cray Wanderers 0

Wanderers long unbeaten run in 2020 finally came to an end as Potters Bar Town produced a fine performance to stop the Wands run at 17 unbeaten from 1stJanuary with three first half goals giving Cray just too much to do to keep the record going in the second half.

The Scholars got off to a flyer and went ahead with a strong run and finish from Ben Ward-Cochrane in the 8th minute. Cray had been very resilient during the unbeaten run falling behind a number of times but never had been two nil down and after 17th minute a fine individual goal from Thomas Gogo put Cray two behind.

Another Ward-Cochrane strike in the 38th minute put a seal on the scoring and although in the second half Cray dominated the possession and opportunities Potters Bar just had enough knowhow defensively to see out the win.

As it turns out the damage wasn’t too great as Cray moved down one place in the league table to 3rd and a point behind leaders Bowers & Pitsea.

Cray had been in ruthless form themselves at the weekend at Moneyfields in the FA Cup scoring six goals and from the side that started the match into the side came Barney Williams for Ben Mundele and Jason Banton for Jerome Federico after missing the previous two games with injury. Bradley Pritchard was one of the substitutes after coming off in the Fisher game on 23rd September. Potters Bar had won their previous league game 3-0 at home to Cheshunt and by all accounts somewhat unlucky to bow out of the FA Cup on Sunday against Concord Rangers losing 2-1.

The match started with Cray looking confident and playing the ball around nicely but it was the Scholars who took the lead in the 8th minute when Ben Ward Cochrane broke forward and cut in from the left and hit a crisp low strike from the edge of the are past Lewis Carey and into the bottom right corner of the net.

Cray had bounced back many times before and Charlie Allen with a lobbed effort couldn’t quite catch out keeper Fred Burbridge from 25 yards and then Rhys Murrell-Williamson saw an effort blocked. This was followed from a free kick out on the right of the area, Freddie Parker played a ball to the near post and Joe Taylor had one of few glimpses of the goal all evening but couldn’t quite get a firm connection to the ball and went wide.

In the 17th minute Potters Bar scored again this time with a terrific run from the heart of midfield by Thomas Gogo who broke to 20 yards from goal and arrowed a superb finish into the bottom left corner of the net.

Cray looked to get a foothold in the game but perhaps just couldn’t create that one chance to reduce the arrears and Allen fired wide from distance but chances were few and far between in the first half.It was nearly three nil to Potters Bar when Ward-Cochrance found Samson Esan down the right of the area whose shot was pushed round the left post superbly by Lewis Carey.

That was just a temporary reprieve as in the 38th minute, Keegan Cole and Esan combined to set up Ward-Cochrane who buried a low shot into the top right corner of the net and gave the Wands a mountain to climb at half time.

The second half saw the introduction of Bradley Pritchard from the start and after Potters Bar had shown their attacking teeth first half, they showed good stoic defence in the second half to repel Cray’s attacking forays.

The home side did almost score a fourth when down the right Ryan Young’s looping cross-shot hit the top of the crossbar and then Gogo put a ball across the box which was well claimed by Carey.

Cray began to exert more pressure as the second half went on and down the left, Ben Mundele found Jason Banton who found space and hit a shot from 25 yards which Burbridge did well to hold. Then combination play between Banton and Taylor saw the ball come to Barney Williams whose rasping drive was parried away by Burbridge.

Twice Cray saw efforts from Jason Banton go over the top and them maybe the nearest to a goal when Mundele from the right touchline cut inside and charged forward and hit a curling shot which was deflected narrowly wide of a post for a corner.Cray continued to at least get on the scoresheet and Pritchard found Banton whose snap shot was held by Burbridge at the second attempt.

Potters Bar though were defending intelligently and James Budden and Kieron Cathline in central defence were soaking up what was thrown at them and were a well drilled unit who will pick up a few wins especially at home this season.

Cray huffed and puffed to get back in it and had a couple of free kick situations which came to nothing and the last real shooting chance fell to Parker who took a pass from Pritchard down the right and his curled effort took a slight deflection which took the ball past the left post.

In the end Cray ran out of time to get anything from the game but there could be no real argument that Potters Bar had played well and took their chances and played as well as any team has against Cray during 2020.

Despite the defeat and the disappointment of the losing of the unbeaten record, there is much pride at the run the team put together and often after a defeat the desire to make amends immediately leads to greater togetherness in the team. Although not Cray’s night, credit to Potters Bar for the win and allowed few if any chances for Joe Taylor and showed good attacking and defensive qualities.

Cray remain third in the table behind Bowers & Pitsea and Worthing and next meet in form Bishop’s Stortford on Sunday at least giving Tony Russell at least a day extra rest after a pretty hectic start to the season and a busy October to come in the league, FA Cup and FA Trophy.

Potters Bar Town: Fred Burbridge, Luke Tingey, Joe Payne, Keegan Cole, Kieron Cathline, James Budden, Ryan Young, Thomas Gogo, Ben Ward-Cochrane (Charlie Ruff, 86), Samson Esan (Ken Charles, 75), Nana Kyei (Charley Barker, 70): Subs: Nathan Livings, Mason Tunbridge

Booked: Cole, Tingey

Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Barney Williams (Lee Lewis, 70), Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Tom Carlse, Tom Phipp (Ben Mundele, 54), Charlie Allen (Bradley Pritchard, H/T), Rhys Murrell-Williamson, Jason Banton, Freddie Parker, Joe Taylor: Subs: Martin Onoabaghbe, Roman Hall

Booked: Nelson

Att: 186