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.  


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.

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 new loanee signing Bailey 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. This was followed by a Cook corner down the right played to the far post which found the impressive Okosieme but his header was blocked almost off the line by the Potters Bar defence.

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 and on the stroke of half time Nuur found Burnett down the right and he set up Brodie whose shot deflected over for a corner.

Potters Bar were quicker out of the traps again 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 pushed the ball out.

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.  

Despite a much improved performance from last Saturday's FA Cup defeat this was a much better display from Cray Wanderers but just lacked that rub of the green in front of goal.


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: Harvey Brand, Martin Onoabagbe  

Att: 169