Leaders end Romford’s run

PUBLISHED: 20:25 28 November 2015 | UPDATED: 20:25 28 November 2015

Romford manager Paul Martin (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Romford manager Paul Martin (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

©TGS Photo +44 8450 946026

Ryman North: Romford 2 Cray Wanderers 3

Jake Giddings put Romford ahead against Cray (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Jake Giddings put Romford ahead against Cray (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Romford’s unbeaten run ended at three games, as they were denied a late draw by top-of-the-table Wanderers at Ship Lane.

The hosts took the lead just after the halfway mark in the first half, when a clumsy goalkeeping error by Nick Blue allowed Boro midfielder Jake Giddings the easiest of tap-ins.

But Boro would find themselves behind just five minutes later as two quick-fire headers from Michael Frieter and Nathan Fox turned the match around.

Cray then added a third on the stroke of half time through Aryan Tajbaksh’s 35-yard effort and a fairly even second half was finished by a Romford second, when Chinedu McKenzie smashed home from close range.

Chinedu McKenzie netted a late second for Romford against Cray (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Chinedu McKenzie netted a late second for Romford against Cray (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

But the Wanderers defence saw off a late Romford onslaught to collect the win and move eight points clear of Hornchurch at the top of Ryman North.

The home side almost took the lead inside three minutes when a perfectly weighted corner by George Woodward was met by a towering Matt Frew, who managed to direct his effort on goal, only to see it cleared off the line by a defender.

A physical affair then ensued, as several strong challenges from both sides yielded no cards, but it was evident that both sets of players were beginning to get impatient.

Chances were few and far between for the opening 25 minutes, with the game clearly turning into a midfield battle. Nevertheless, the deadlock was broken in the 27th minute through a howler from the visiting goalkeeper.

Woodward floated in a free-kick from 45 yards out which managed to evade everyone, but Blue was unable to take the bouncing ball under his control, allowing Giddings to slot home the rebound.

Romford’s lead lasted just 70 seconds, though, as straight from the restart Wanderers won a free-kick on the right and the inspired Grant Basey whipped in a delicious ball which found Frieter unmarked and free to head home the equaliser from five yards.

The visitors began to control the game after that and it took an additional three minutes for them to take the lead.

Basey again was the provider, this time from a corner, as his drilled cross was guided home at the near post by centre-back Fox.

Cray extended their lead just prior to the break when Tajbaksh, who had been finding pockets of space all afternoon, received possession 35 yards out from captain Sean Roberts.

Tajbaksh calmly turned before discharging a right-footed shot that nestled in the bottom right corner as Cray returned to their dressing room with a deserved 3-1 lead following a long spell of dominance.

The second half followed along similar lines, with Romford still failing to find any magic in the final third.

McKenzie did well along the right byline to pinch the ball from between the legs of a defender, but his attempt to find an open Lee Weemes at the back post was intercepted by the goalkeeper.

Wanderers almost made it 4-1 in the 57th minute, but Richard Wray was a match for James Duckworth’s curling effort.

The match then turned sloppy, with both teams giving away possession easily in the middle of the park, and neither keeper was called upon for the majority of the second period.

A Woodward free-kick and a smart block from Blue to deny McKenzie were the only two chances of note prior to the final five minutes.

But in the 85th minute Romford almost halved the deficit as Weemes held the ball up brilliantly before slicing the defence open with a pass to substitute Tom Potter.

However, the left-back slotted the ball past the onrushing Blue, but wide of the left hand post, all but ending the home side’s chances of salvaging a draw.

Boro did get one goal back in added time, with McKenzie superbly controlling a fierce Robbie Farrell cross before firing it into the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season.

But it was not enough to replicate last week’s amazing comeback at Witham and ensured they would be left empty handed this time.

Romford: Wray, Zanelli (Potter 46), Woodward, Frew, Olafunmisle, Cossington, Giddings (Taylor 76), Barry (Farrell 65), Weemes, McKenzie, Stanley.

Unused subs: Reynolds, Gooch.

Cray: Blue, Osifuwa, Basey, Fox, Payne (Dent 60), Roberts, Tajbaksh, Frieter, Hunter (McCollins 83), Bremner, Duckworth.

Unused subs: Powell, Vines.

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