Cray Wanderers 0-1 Potters Bar Town
Cray Wanderers 0-1 Potters Bar Town

Cray Wanderers first Sunday league game of the season ended in defeat as Potters Bar Town edged a game between two sides scratching for a bit of early season form. 

In a game which saw each side have a penalty kick saved and Cray reduced to ten men it was a solitary first half Devonte Abansibia strike which won the game for the Scholars.   

After bright starts to the season both teams had hit a dip in form with Cray in 12th place having the lost the previous three games in league and cup while Potters Bar had lost the last four games and lied second bottom.  Cray were looking to bounce back from Saturday’s FA Cup defeat and put in a much better performance and were perhaps unfortunate not to get a share of the spoils and just didn’t have the rub of the green in front of goal.

There were a couple of additions to the Cray Wanderers side from the team which lost to Sutton Common Rovers. Into the side came loanee Bailey Akehurst, Ejiro Okosieme, Lee Lewis, Anis Nuur and Adam Coombes in place of Harvey Brand, Joey Taylor, Nicky Bailey, Fjord Rogers and Danny Kedwell. Another new signing Tariq Turay was on the bench. Potters Bar had made a handful of changes to the side which lost at Stowmarket in the FA Cup and had a new signing make his debut in centre forward Joseph Boachie.

On a warm afternoon Cray began the game with purpose and a throw into the box was flicked on but Adam Coombes just couldn’t get a connection to the ball to fire in a shot but Potters Bar posed the greater threat in the opening minutes.

In the 5th minute in Potters Bar Town’s first serious sortie forward they were awarded a penalty when Samson Esan played the ball through to Boachie down the left who cut into the area and was adjudged to have been brought down by Freddie Cray for the award of the penalty. However, from the spot Esan’s well struck kick was brilliantly pushed away two handed by Jack Turner.

Four minutes later Potters Bar threatened again when down the right, Ryan Young’s cross to the far post found Esan but his near post shot was saved well by the legs of Turner.

In the 13th minute came the breakthrough for the Scholars when a good ball from midfield found Devonte Aransibia breaking forward and from just inside the area showed composure to stroke the ball into the net.

This provoked a reaction from the Wands who came close to levelling two minutes later when Anthony Cook found a little space down the right hand side to hit a shot from just shy of 25 yards which thudded back off the crossbar with keeper Hafed Al-Droubi well beaten.

The game was going through an end to end stage but also there was a competitive edge and Cameron Brodie was booked for Cray in the 16th minute. Cray were beginning to carve out chances and the lively Archie Burnett was found by Anis Nuur and his shot was pushed out by Al-Droubi but was well held at the second attempt with Coombes looking to follow up.

Then a good passing move saw Nuur and Akehurst down the left combine and the ball to the near post found Cook who turned and fired a shot against the left upright and was deflected behind for a corner.  

Potters Bar were dangerous on the break especially down the left and won a couple of corners  and Boachie volleyed wide but just before the half hour Cray went close when from a Cook corner down the right the ball to the far post found the impressive Okosieme but his shot was blocked almost off the line by the Potters Bar defence.

The game then just went through a little lull going into the latter stages of the half but before the break Cray threatened again and Brodie and Cook combined to set up Burnett who fired over the top. Then Brodie shot just wide. Then on the stroke of half time Nuur found Burnett down the right and he set up Brodie whose shot deflected over for a corner.

Half Time: 0-1

 The second half began with Cray looking to get back into it quickly and Adam Coombes saw a shot deflected off Pascal Dwight for a corner.

However, once again it was Potters Bar who just appeared that quicker out of the traps in the second half and after soaking up pressure were awarded a free kick just outside the area when Boachie was brought down by Okosieme and from the free kick, Scott Shulton’s shot was pushed out well by Turner and the ball was cleared away.

Cray thought they had drawn level in the 62nd minute when down the left Cook found Akehurst and his ball into the area was headed powerfully into the net by Adam Coombes but the linesman flag was raised and the goal was ruled out.

However, a minute later Cray had the chance to draw level when substitute Tariq Turay down the left broke into the area and was brought down by Pascal for a penalty kick.  From the spot, similar to the earlier effort, Cook’s strike was met by a very strong save from Al-Droubi and it is rare in a game you see two penalties met by such great saves. 

Cray continued to seek the goal they needed and Brodie fired wide from distance but in the 71st minute was given his marching orders by referee Robert Clausen when he brought down Esan outside the area and made the Wands task that bit harder.

Potters Bar almost took advantage of the extra man and Aransibia came close to scoring his second when he found his way inside the box but Turner did well to make a sprawling save to push the ball away. Then Aransibia found Boachie who curled a shot off target wide of the left post.

In the 78th minute Cray came close once again and from a shot free kick down the left, Turay’s ball into the box was headed over by Dean Beckwith.

Potters Bar were able to manage the game in the final few minutes and came close to scoring a second with a breakaway from a Wands free kick, the ball came to substitute and top scorer Ben Ward-Cochrane who seemed destined to score but Turner made a terrific save with his chest and the chance was gone.  For Cray, Lee Lewis shot wide from 30 yards.

 In the end despite Cray pushing forward to score it was Potters Bar who held on for the win and Cray now go into Tuesday’s trip to in-form Corinthian Casuals on the back of four defeats in a row including three at home so perhaps a change of scenery may help just get over the early season blip.  All in all this was a much better performance from Cray than a week before and perhaps just need a deflected shot to go in or a bit more of a lucky bounce in front of goal just to get them going but certainly not for the want of trying.

Cray Wanderers: Jack Turner, Lee Lewis, Dean Beckwith, Ejiro Okosieme, Bailey Akehurst, Freddie Cray, Cameron Brodie, Archie Burnett (Nicky Bailey, 74), Anis Nuur (Tariq Turay, 59), Anthony Cook, Adam Coombes (Fjord Rogers, 79).

Subs not used: Harvey Brand, Martin Onoabagbe.

Sent Off: Brodie 71 (2 cautions), 

Booked: Okosieme, Burnett 

Potters Bar Town: Hafed Al-Droubi, Dwight Pascal, Corey Parchment, James Budden, Kieron Cathline, Nathan Livings, Ryan Young, Scott Shulton, Joseph Boachie (Ben Ward-Cochrane, 79), Samson Esan (Ruben Carvalho, 88), Devonte Aransibia.

Subs not used: Keegan Cole, Luke Tingey, Jaden Sharman.

Scorer: Aransibia 13

Referee: Robert Claussen

Assistants: Ronald Albert, Dele Sotimirin

Att: 169

Pictures:Jon Hilliger/