Isthmian League Premier Division Sat 5 March Hayes Lane
Cray Wanderers
  • (pen) (42')
  • Liburd (72')

The teams sparred through the opening few minutes with Cray winning an early corner from which Cook’s cross was flicked goalwards by Jacob Munting but the ball was cleared away. The first real moment of danger for the Ambers came in the 9th minute when a cross from Barton out on the right to the far post was glanced wide by Chris Dickson.

Cheshunt though are a strong side and have been one of the few teams to win at Worthing this season and soon started to impose themselves, coming close twice within a minute to scoring when a ball forward from Taylor Miles was headed away by Joe Wright out of his area and the ball came to Beckles Richards who cut in from the right and his shot was then well held by Wright. On 12 minutes the ball was played down the left  channel to the lively Rowan Liburd whose near post shot was well pushed behind by Wright.

There was a bit of a let off for Cray in the 17th minute when Cheshunt had the ball in the net when Jamie Reynolds finished well at the second attempt down the left of the area after his initial shot saved by Wright but after consultation between referee and linesman the goal was disallowed for Liburd  who was running parallel to the play was adjudged offside, and while the ball didn’t come to him, he was adjudged to be close enough to be interfering .

Still the better chances were falling to Cheshunt and in the 23rd minute came close Beckles Richards down the right laid the ball across to Liburd who hit a snap shot which Wright got down well to save and then a minute later Reynolds found space down the left of the area and his shot was well saved again by Wright who did well to turn the ball behind.

Cray came close when down the right when Barton found Narcis-Florin Filip who set up Sam Wood for an acrobatic overhead kick from 14 yards which was on target but well held by experienced keeper Preston Edwards.

In the 42nd minute came a big moment in the game when the ball was worked towards the edge of the area and Dickson flicked the ball into the area to Cook who was shoved to the ground by Chevron McLean and a penalty kick was awarded. To make matters worse there was no ‘double jeopardy available, McLean was sent off as he was deemed the last man denying a goal scoring opportunity . Skipper, Cook who had been on 99 career goals since scoring at East Thurrock United on New Years Day picked himself up & stroked home the penalty to reach his century of goals.

Despite being down to ten men, Cheshunt were still playing well and it was not clear who was a man down. they came close in the 58th minute when Taylor Miles picked up the ball inside the D and his goalbound shot was turned round the post well by Wright. Then from a free kick, Re curled the ball round the wall and was well claimed by Wright.

The feeling was that Cray were going to need a second goal and twenty minutes into the half almost got it when Barton’s cross from the right into the area was cushioned across by Filip to Cook who fired over from 12 yards.

In the 71st minute Cray were unlucky not to score a second after a fine passing move saw Kasim Aidoo find Wood who set up Dickson for a shot from 25 yards which was well saved as Edwards turned the ball behind for a corner.   However, a minute later Cheshunt drew level when they won back possession with a high pressing game. to0                                   close to goal and Reynolds set up Liburd who hit a cracking strike from outside the area which hit the back of the net via the crossbar to make it 1-1.

Both teams sought a winner in the last quarter of an hour. For Cray who brought on Jamie Yila and Luca Albon late on, Dickson’s ball across found Filip who was denied by a defensive block from McKenzie for a corner. Then Barton just outside the area saw a shot blocked. Cheshunt came close to going in front when Reynolds set up Re inside and his shot was blocked for a corner.

Towards the end both teams pressed and Re saw a shot from 20 yards fielded by Wright who had a very good game and then a Re cross was punched away by Wright and the ball came out to Miles who drove the ball back towards goal and Danquah cleared from almost off the line.

A point a piece when reality both teams needed all three available, Cheshunt to keep pace with the play off places as they will need to win the 3 matches in hand, and Wanderers to pull clear of the relegation places.