Cray Wanderers 0-0 Leatherhead - We just lacked that final bit of quality, admits Cray Wanderers interim manager Grant Basey
Cray Wanderers 0 – 0 Leatherhead
|Location||Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF|
CRAY WANDERERS 0-0 LEATHERHEAD
Isthmian League Premier Division
Wednesday 19 January 2022
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane
CRAY WANDERERS interim manager Grant Basey says his side lacked that final bit of quality to score against fellow strugglers Leatherhead at Hayes Lane.
The Wands kept their first clean sheet of the season at the 29th attempt in all competitions but remain in the bottom three in the Isthmian League Premier Division table after collecting their 20th point of the season and have 18 league games remaining to avoid relegation.
Leatherhead are on their third manager of the campaign and Luke Tuffs’ second game in charge saw his charges claim a point as they remain at the foot of the table, having collected 13 points from 25 games. East Thurrock United have four more points and two games in hand followed by Cray Wanderers, who should be doing better than what they currently are with two wins in eight.
This was Basey’s fifth game in charge since taking interim charge with Gary Alexander his assistant and Cray Wanderes have beaten East Thurrock United (3-1), were held to a 4-4 home draw by Enfield Town, before losing to Bognor Regis Town (0-1) and Corinthian-Casuals (1-2), before tonight’s stalemate.
Leatherhead’s last league victory came at Potters Bar Town (4-3) on 11 December and they lost to Bowers & Pitsea (0-2), Kingstonian (2-3), Folkestone Invicta (0-3) and Worthing (0-4) since.
The Worthing game was former Ashford Town (Middlesex) manager Tuffs’ first game in charge of the Surrey outfit and both sides will have to improve in front of goal if they are to avoid relegation going by tonight’s game.
Basey said: “Disappointing night. I don’t think our quality was there tonight. In saying that, we still had some good chances. We’ve hit the bar, had a couple of one-on-ones, it’s the same thing every time, we’re not ruthless enough!
“For me, it’s always two dropped points always, when you don’t end up winning games of football but it’s another point to our tally so we’ve got to look at that as a positive but we wanted all three and we haven’t.
“Keeping a clean-sheet is a positive. We have been saying that to them for the last few weeks, that it’s really important that we get a clean-sheet because that gives you a good foundation to go on and win games of football.
“The positive is we got the clean-sheet, which was good but it’s disappointing not to have won the game but the chances we had, we should’ve at least put one away but our general all round play wasn’t good enough!”
Cray Wanderers spent most of the first half playing out from the back and often losing possession within their final third but Leatherhead lacked the quality up front to create many goalscoring chances on the artificial pitch.
“We lacked that urgency, tempo to our play, it was just a bit slow and laboured,” admitted Basey.
The Tanners created an opening after only 72 seconds when Cray Wanderers’ centre-half Tom Hanfrey gave the ball away to Joshua Bohui and slender striker Pochu Mendez-Calucane and Michael Ferndandes linked up before right-back Isaac Ogundere was fed the ball on an overlapping run and his cross was met at the back stick by Bohui, who steered his header past the near post from 10-yards.
Cray Wanderers went direct and they should have taken the lead after only 143 seconds.
Centre-half Richie Danquah found himself in the right-back position and his long ball released pacey striker Erald Desa, who burst into the penalty area and his right-footed angled drive from just outside the corner of the six-yard box was held by visiting goalkeeper Emmanuel Agboola, diving to his right.
“Listen, their keeper has done well tonight. He’s made a couple of really good saves on one-v-one situations,” said Basey.
“We were getting into some good areas but we’re just not being ruthless enough in the final third and it’s costing us.”
Leatherhead produced a slick move on the deck down the right and went close to grabbing the lead in the fourteenth minute.
The impressive Aaron Lamont swept the ball out to the right from the centre of the pitch and winger Fernandes did well to bring the ball with quality down the right channel before playing the ball inside back to his captain, who stroked a right-footed angled drive flashing across the keeper and past the far post from just inside the corner of the penalty area.
Basey said: “Listen, you could see what they were trying to do, they worked their socks off trying to get over us and then after that they went into a nice solid shape. They didn’t really want to play, they just wanted to hook things on and get us turned and they were effective on what they’ve done.”
Cray Wanderers suffered similar fate, following the first of their six corners.
Kyel Reid swung in the ball from the right and Leatherhead goalkeeper Agboola stretched high to his right to punch the ball away. It found central midfielder Luca Albon unmarked just outside the corner of the box and he cut the ball onto his right-foot and curled his shot just around the foot of the far post from 25-yards.
“I thought it was going in. I was right behind it but obviously just missed the post,” added Basey.
Anthony Cook released Desa down the right and he played the ball inside to Reid just outside the Leatherhead box and he clipped a ball towards the far post where Yila ghosted in and smashed his shot into the side netting from a tight angle.
Leatherhead called home goalkeeper Bailey Vose into making a comfortable catch following their first corner in the 33rd minute.
Lamont floated in a corner from the left towards the back post where Cameron Black came up from the back to rise above his marker to send his header into the keeper’s hands from inside the six-yard box.
Danquah was pressed by Archie Burnett inside the home side’s final third and the Bromley loanee played an intelligent 20-yard pass in behind but Bohui couldn’t get his shot on target from a very tight angle close to the by-line.
Cray Wanderers started kickstarting their momentum going into the final 10 minutes of the first-half, having switched Yila to the right-flank and Reid to the left.
The Wands ditched their playing-out-from-the-back to good effect when in the 39th minute, right-back Frederick Barton went direct with a first-time long ball along the deck which released Desa down the right and he cut into the box and from the corner of the six-yard box he drilled a right-footed shot across the keeper, who stuck out a long right leg to make the block.
“Our forward hasn’t put it away, on another day, on previous games that we’ve been playing, we should be two or three-nil up in the first-half but I keep saying to the lads we have to be more ruthless,” added Basey.
Barton threw the ball to Albon, who played a reverse pass in behind to put Yila through on goal but the angle was tight and the former Fisher winger cracked a shot against the crossbar.
When asked how he was feeling after another chance went begging, Basey replied: “Just one of frustration because I feel like we were getting into some good areas in 10 minutes before half-time. We were on the front foot, we were getting into good areas and it’s small margins. On another day that goes into the top corner, it’s just not going in at the moment. You make your own luck by working hard and fighting and competing and that’s the bare minimum, against a side that are doing exactly the same.”
Basey added: “I just told them (at half-time), it wasn’t good enough for the first 25-30 minutes in terms to our intensity to our play but I left it on a positive as it’s always important to do that. I just told them the last 10 minutes was good because it was good and we were creating chances.”
Basey handed former Walton & Hersham central midfielder Jacob Munting his debut at the start of the second half.
“I thought Jacob done well when he came on. Kyel Reid was feeling his hamstring a little bit so just wanted to make sure that we didn’t take any real risks with him and brought Jacob on,” revealed Basey.
The home side took 179 seconds to create their first chance of the second half when Albon played the ball out to Cook on the right and he cut towards the edge of the D before drilling a left-footed drive sailing high over the Leatherhead crossbar.
Leatherhead then started to play on the front foot and they should have grabbed the lead on the counter-attack in the seventh minute.
A ball over the top out of defence by Mitchel Gough was back-heeled by Mendez-Calucane into Fernandez, who twisted and turned his man on the edge of the D and floated a left-footed shot towards the top far corner, which goalkeeper Bailey Vose stepped to his right to pluck out of the air.
The impressive Burnett played a diagonal up to Ferndandes, who twisted and turned again before teeing up Burnett, who cracked a first-time right-footed screamer towards the corner, which forced a diving Bose to push the ball towards safety.
Seventeen seconds later, left-back Louie Paget’s angled drive from 30-yards, was comfortably held by the Cray Wanderers stopper.
Cray Wanderers missed a glorious chance to smash the stalemate in the 12th minute when visiting goalkeeper Agboola spilt the ball (not for the first-time) but Desa lacked composure on the edge of the box and his left-footed angled drive took a deflection and flashed past the foot of the far post.
“I thought it was right to give Erald an opportunity tonight because of the energy that he brings and the willingness to run in behind and that was evident from the terms that we got in,” said Basey.
“It was balls in behind and him chasing it down and getting into some good areas but we just lacked that final bit of quality, i.e., putting it in the back of the net.”
Vose was called into action on the hour-mark by thwarting Leatherhead, who played with more belief and momentum during the early stages of the second half.
Central midfielder Lamont played a diagonal pass over to Bohui on the left and the winger cut into the box and drilled a right-footed angled drive which forced Vose to dive to his right and parry to safety and the ineffective Mendez-Calucane’s weak shot was gobbled up by the keeper.
“Bailey’s a very good keeper and he’s done what was required of him and that’s keep the ball out of the back of the net,” said Basey.
“I said to the boys at half-time they’re going to come out and have a right go because that’s what they did in the first-half.”
With Leatherhead being the more likely team to score, Fernandes hit a speculative right-footed 35-yarder towards the top right-hand corner, only for the ball to only just clear the crossbar.
Referee Thomas Wray waved away appeals for a Leatherhead penalty after Yila’s challenge on Fernandes inside the Cray Wanderers box.
“I think it probably was a penalty so I think we did get away with that one,” admitted Basey.
“I think that evens itself out over the course of a season. We should’ve had a stonewall penalty on Saturday that we should’ve got and had one the other week that we should’ve got. Some you get, some you don’t.”
And Leatherhead’s big chance came in the 33rd minute when player-assistant manager Jermaine McGlashan whipped in a cross from the right which came out to Jethro Hanson, who took a touch in the centre and his left-footed shot took a deflection and rolled just past the foot of the right-post from 16-yards.
Cray Wanderers missed two chances inside injury-time to snatch the victory.
Cook was taken out by Black (who was to be booked by referee Thomas Way) but substitute Daniel Uchechi fed Desa down the right channel and cut into the box before flashing his low shot past the far post.
“I need to see it back again but I think we had two men just making the box in and around the six-yard box. If they square it across, I think it’s a tap-on. It’s a key moment and players need to play with their head up but I thought Erald worked his socks off throughout the whole game.”
Cook (on 99 career goals) whipped in a cross from the right-wing towards the near post for Yila to hook a half-volley towards the bottom far corner, only for Agboola to smother the ball low to his left and grab hold of it before it trickled over the goal-line.
“I think tonight was definitely one of frustration. We have missed chances but I still don’t think that we’ve done enough in our all-round game to win the game,” admitted Basey.
Peter Adeniyi brings his Carshalton Athletic side to Hayes Lane on Saturday sitting in eighth-place in the table with 39 points from 23 games and with three wins on the spin over Worthing (2-1), Kingstonian and Bowers & Pitsea (both 1-0).
“It’s another big game, as they all are now but we look forward to the challenge,” said Basey, ahead of the last of their fifth home games on the bounce.
“We’re playing at home, it’s a good opportunity to try and set our stall out and try to win a game of football. The games are coming thick and fast so it’s important that the lads rest and recover now and we go again on Saturday.
“Listen, we’ve just all got to stick together, we’ve got to keep fighting, keep competing and keep working as hard as we possibly can and that’s on a game day, in training. That’s all we can do. Everyone has to keep giving their all and have a real big push for the last 18 games of the season. There’s still a lot of points to play for, a hell of a lot of points to play for.
“It’s another big game, all my focus is now on Saturday. Carshalton are a good team but it’s up to us to come here, fight and compete and the boys will do that.”
Cray Wanderers: Bailey Vose, Frederick Barton, Kasim Aidoo, Cameron Brodie (Chris Dickson 72), Richie Danquah, Tom Hanfrey, Jamie Yila, Luca Albon (Daniel Uchechi 85), Erald Desa, Anthony Cook, Kyel Reid (Jacob Munting 46).
Subs: Emmanuel Oduguwa, Jai Reason
Booked: Jamie Yila 59
Leatherhead: Emmanuel Agboola, Isaac Ogundere, Louie Paget, Jethro Hanson, Mitchel Gough, Cameron Black, Joshua Bohui (Jermaine McGlashan 64)., Aaron Lamont, Pochu Mendez-Calucane (Jossiah Bridgeman 80), Archie Burnett (James Daley 85), Michael Fernandes.
Subs: Seth Owens, Myles Bowman
Booked: Louie Paget 67, Jermaine McGlashan 77, Cameron Black 90
Referee: Mr Thomas Wray
Assistants: Mr Hossain Tavakkoli & Mr Mahdi Elhalawany