Isthmian League Premier Division Sat 17 February Cheshunt Stadium
Cray Wanderers
  • Bamba (83')

It was late heartbreak for the Ambers as they were defeated 1-0 in a well-matched fixture at Theobalds Lane on Saturday. A late goal from Cray Wanderers’ Yahaya Bamba was enough to separate the two sides.

Craig Edwards was forced into making changes for this fixture at Theobalds Lane. Bert White came into the team with Joe Rose injured & Woody Williamson in Croatia with Scotland u19s. Striker Alfie Pendlebury came straight into the team for his debut. Solomon Baugh, Taylor Miles, and Nathaniel Orafu also came back into the starting line-up. Jamie Reynolds was forced to sit out after seeing red away at Bognor Regis last weekend and Isiah Noel Williams absent with a back injury.

There was a lively opening to the game with tackles flying in but there were no really big chances. The first chance of the game fell to the hosts, debutant Alfie Pendlebury brought down a ball in from the left from Chevron McLean. He controlled it beautifully, but his effort was comfortably collected by Shaun Rowley.

Cheshunt went agonisingly close to taking the lead. A ball in behind found Vas Vasiliou one on one with the keeper. His effort had beat the keeper, but it somehow hit the post. Solomon Baugh was first to the rebound, but he too could only hit the woodwork as his effort cannoned off the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Tom Bonner had the first big chance for the hosts, he had a free header at the far post after a corner in from Frankie Raymond from the left. Bonner headed just wide of the near post, a huge let off for Cheshunt after a positive start. Cray did have the ball in the net from the following corner, but the linesman had flagged for an offside in the build-up.

A ball in behind from Cray almost found the impressive run of Yahya Bamba but debutant Bert White came out comfortably and beat the forward to the ball.

HT: 0-0

Cheshunt thought they had won a penalty as midfielder Nathaniel Orafu was brought down in the attacking third. However, the referee deemed it being just outside the penalty area. From the resulting freekick, Vasiliou’s cross picked out Billy Bates at the far post, but his header went just wide of the mark.

The game then became very stop and start in the second half with injuries to both teams, leading to an additional seven minutes to be added later. Billy Bates was down for a while, but he was able to continue for the rest of the match.

Top scorer Gary Lockyer went close for the visitors as his strike from distance went very close to going in the top corner. Cheshunt went up the other end as Nathaniel Orafu put a very dangerous ball into the front post, but Pendlebury couldn’t get there to turn it in.

In the next attack, Solomon Baugh put Vas Vasiliou in behind, his skilful run allowed him to put a great ball into the box. However, the ball was cleared before Pendlebury could get his head on it.

The chances continued at both ends. Lockyer brought down a long ball and made space for a shot after some brilliant footwork. His shot was down to White’s bottom left corner, but he saved comfortably.

The Cheshunt defence was finally breached with just under ten minutes to go as Cray Wanderers took the lead. Gary Lockyer’s pass found Yahya Bamba who took his shot early with a low strike from the edge of the box finding the back of the net.

Vas Vasiliou dug out a cross from the left onto the head of Pendlebury, but he couldn’t keep his header down. Cray were close to making it two as Gary Lockyer’s attempted chip over Bert White went over the crossbar.

Cheshunt piled on the pressure in the seven minutes of added time, substitute Tomas Mendes had a near post flick blocked on the line  & Vas Vasiliou went close as his low effort was held by Shaun Rowley. Vasiliou also had a freekick with just seconds to go but this time went way over the bar.

FT: Cheshunt 0-1 Cray Wanderers

Attendance: 338