By Chris Jones
Ryman Div One North
Waltham Abbey 1 v 1 Grays Ath
JARED Small rescued a point for Blues ten minutes from time, as both sides struggled to play attractive football on difficult pitch at Capershotts.
With Craig Pope suffering with flu, captain Lee Flynn switched to right back, with Junior Baker again partnering Ryan Kirby at the centre of defence. Jack West was again unavailable due to work commitments, which meant Jared Small and Joe Sweeney started the match together up front. One-time Blues goalkeeper Jake Whincup lined up in goal for the hosts.
The home side had their midweek match at home to Romford postponed due to standing water on the pitch, and the recent weather had clearly affected the now heavy pitch.
Blues started the brighter of the two sides, with Joao Carlos, Kenny Beaney and Small all having good chances inside the opening half hour.
The home side came back into the match before half time, with Dean Green’s shot blocked by Beaney, whilst Loren Maxwell should have done much better as he shot wide with just the keeper to beat.
Abbey’s top scorer James Peagram opened the scoring just after the hour mark, and it was a goal worthy of a much higher level. He collected the ball on the right hand side before cutting in past Danny Bunce. As he approached the area, he unleashed with a curling left foot effort which gave George Kamurasi no chance in the Blues goal.
Hakan Hayrettin made a double change with Brian Moses and Jake Hall replacing Joe Sweeney and Luke Marshall respectively.
Maxwell and Green again wasted glorious opportunities to score, as Kamurasi stopped both with excellent saves.
Those misses proved to be crucial, as Jared Small scored his first goal since his return to the club ten minutes from time. Beaney was the creator as he picked out an accurate ball inside Chris Sargant in the left back position, and Small finished well into the bottom left hand corner.
Former striker Junior Baker went close late on to giving the visitors all three points, but his shot went straight into the hands of Whincup.
Ilford are Blues’ next opponents on Tuesday evening at Rush Green, and they lost 1-0 at Cricklefields to Paul Vaughn’s Tilbury. The Dockers got back to winning ways after having gone four games without a win since Blues’ win at Chadfields.