Cray Wanderers continued their winning start to the 2021-22 season under the new management of Danny Kedwell with an impressive victory at FA Trophy holders Hornchurch coming from a goal down to win with goals in each half from Jamie Yila and Ejiro Okosieme after Liam Nash gave the home side an early lead.

Both sides won their opening games and it was a fast paced, entertaining match which flowed in the first half before becoming a more tactical game in the second but there was plenty to keep the large crowd entertained.   

Cray were looking to build on the momentum of the fine 3-1 win vs Lewes last Saturday but Hornchurch buoyed by their excellent recent form started the game in confident mood and came close to scoring in the opening minutes when Chris Dickson inside the area was denied by a fine blocked tackle by Okosieme at the expense of a corner. 

Cray though showed their qualities going forward and Jamie Yila found space to turn and shoot from the edge of the area and fired just fractionally wide of the right post.   Then Sadik Balarabe down the right made a strong run forward and from 20 yards hit a shot just wide of goal.

Hornchurch though went in front in the 14th minute when Joe Christou’s thrown in down the right was flicked on by Dickson in the area to the far post where Nash volleyed the ball past Jack Turner and into the net.

It was close to being 2-0 shortly after but Nash fired into the side netting down the left but Cray showed they were still in the game as Andy Drury’s free kick down the left was played into the box and Okosieme just couldn’t apply a touch to divert the ball into the net. The game continued to go from end to end and Nash was denied by a smart stop from Turner to prevent a second Hornchurch goal.

Cray though had stayed in the game well and drew level in the 27th minute when Balarabe found Cameron Brodie down the right and his cross into the box just couldn’t get a touch from Adam Coombes and went out to the left to Anthony Cook and his cross was cleared out to Yila who fired in a terrific finish from just inside the area wide of keeper Noah Phillips and into the bottom right corner.

Before half time twice Cameron Brodie fired over for Cray Wanderers and Balarabe inside the area was denied by a fine tackle from Rickie Hayles while at the other Chris Dickson also fired over the top.

At the start of the second half Hornchurch looked to continue on the front foot and a fine cross from the right to the far post sought out Nash who looked to connect with a shot but the ball just went away from goal.  At the other end, Cray’s best moment came when Allen set up Brodie inside the area but his shot looked to be deflected off Coombes straight to Phillips.  Hornchurch came close to going back in front when Dickson down the left of the area saw his shot pushed out with a one handed save by Turner.

In the 74th minute, Cray took the lead when after Cook was fouled, from a free kick down the left, Drury’s ball into the box was met by a firm header from Okosieme who steered the ball past Phillips and into the roof of the net.

Three minutes later, Hornchurch nearly drew level but Turner excelled once again when he made a terrific stop to deny a fine volley from Ruff and managed to push the ball away.

The Urchins continued to seek an equaliser and Sutton found Nash who drove a shot into the side net down the right and then Sam Higgins set up Nash whose shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Cray though were defending very well and came close to breaking away and scoring a third when the Yila down the right broke into the area and his cross-shot just went across goal with no-one to get on the end of it.

However with four minutes of injury time added Cray were able to see out the remaining minutes and pick up an excellent three points and go into third place in the Isthmian Premier League table.  Cray are next in action on Saturday 28th August at home to Worthing, 3pm kick off.


Cray Wanderers:    Jack Turner, Harvey Brand, Ejiro Okosieme, Freddie Cray, Joey Taylor, Cameron Brodie (Dean Beckwith, 83), Andy Drury, Anthony Cook, Jamie Yila, Sadik Balarabe (Charlie Allen, H/T), Adam Coombes (Fjord Rogers, 72): Subs: Anis Nuur, Martin Onoabagbe

Att: 502