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First Team Match Reports 2016 / 17 Season

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:: East Grinstead Town 2, Herne Bay 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
An injury time winner from Herne Bay’s Danny Williams denied Grinstead a valuable point as their disappointing home form continued despite being two goals up inside the first ten minutes.

Grinstead have now only picked up five points from the nine home games compared to fifteen on the road.

It all looked relatively comfortable against a Herne Bay side who were coming into the game on the back of a 3 match winning streak.

Skipper Callum Emptage gave Grinstead the lead on 6 minutes after heading home a Laste Dombaxe corner from close range. Four minutes later they had doubled the lead. This time it was a Dombaxe free kick headed home from close range by George Benner.

It should have been three on seventeen minutes. Alex Gaggin played in Marcus Elliott but with just keeper Jack Delo to beat he could only drag his shot wide of the far post.

That would probably had been game over but Herne Bay made the most of their lifeline. A long ball over the top from Jack Delo was controlled by Danny Williams, he beat Benner, waltzed to the edge of the penalty area and from the resultant cross Jerome Roseje converted into his own net with Mark Lovell lurking behind him.

Grinstead nearly extend their lead again shortly afterwards. Debutant Jack Richards picked up the ball some 30 yards out and hit a great strike that cannoned off the top of the crossbar.

Just after the half hour mark Herne Bay were back on level terms. A disputed free kick was swung in by Chris Elliott, goalkeeper Chris Haigh could only palm the cross into the path of Joe Nelder who rolled in Danny Williams to tap into an empty net.

Both defences tightened up in the second half as chances were at a premium. Herne Bay had a good opportunity to take the lead when Joe Nelder was put in down the left however Haigh was equal to his effort.

Herne Bay were slightly the more dominant as the half wore on although keeper Haigh was rarely troubled and at the other end the Grinstead strike force failed to impose themselves on the Herne Bay rearguard.

As the game looked to be petering out for a draw Herne Bay snatched the winner in injury time. Grinstead switched off from a throw on, Adam Woolcott swung over a cross which was met by Danny Williams who glanced his header home to snatch his second of the game.

Team Haigh, Emptage, McIntyre, Dombaxe, Benner, Roseje, Thomas (Chapman), Gaggin (Stanton-Cockle), Salako, Elliott, Richards. Subs not used: Mici, Ogaluna, Howlett.

Attendance: 104

Match report by Stewart Ward

:: East Grinstead Town 2, Pagham 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps were their own worst enemies at East Court on Tuesday as they bowed out of the Sussex Senior Cup.

Opponents Pagham are flying high at the top of the Southern Counties League and have been scoring goals for fun but Grinstead gave them a helping hand with some generous defending.

Matt Longhurst’s side have now conceded 12 goals in a week and eradicating the concession of soft goals is a priority for Grinstead’s manager.

Longhurst elected to give some of his fringe players a run-out with under-21s right-back Chris Ogunlawa making his debut while Travis Gregory returned to the bench after a month out with injury.

Wasps started well and Alex Gaggin tested James Binfield in the Pagham goal, but the visitors gradually worked their way into the contest and went in front on 22 minutes.

Callum Overton flicked a long ball onto ex-Wasp Kieron Pamment and his low cross was swept in by Scott Murfin, who was criminally left unmarked in the six-yard box.

If that was a poor goal to concede Pagham’s second six minutes later was just as bad. Ruben French’s pass down Wasps’ left-hand side found Overton in acres of space and he ran into the box before driving a low shot past Chris Haigh from an angle.

It could have been worse when Joe Shelley hit the post in the 38th minute but Grinstead did rally in the second half.

They were given a helping hand – literally – on 53 minutes when Lloyd Rowlatt kept Michael Salako’s goalbound header out with his right arm and was shown a straight red. Marcus Elliott fired the resultant penalty into the top corner to make it 2-1 and for the next 20 minutes Wasps dominated.

They equalised in the 68th minute from an exquisite chip into the far corner by Louis Stanton-Cockle, one of several Grinstead players whose second-half performance was unrecognisable from their first-half display.

At 2-2 there only looked to be one winner but Wasps had one more defensive howler left. Left-back Jordan Warren made ground down the left without being challenged and when his cross came in Pamment was able to steer his shot past a helpless Haigh.

Wasps threw bodies forward in the closing stages to no avail and they can now concentrate on climbing the Ryman League table, starting at home to Herne Bay on Saturday when centre-half Jerome Roseje – unavailable against Pagham – will return to the squad.

Grinstead: Haigh, Ogunlawa, McIntyre (sub: Fitchett 80), Thomas, Benner, Stanton-Cockle, Dombaxe, Chapman, Gaggin, Elliott, Salako.

Attendance: 50
Match report by Bruce Talbot

:: Godalming Town 2, East Grinstead Town 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Matt Longhurst’s young squad showed commendable character on Saturday as they bounced back from last Tuesday’s 7-2 home drubbing against Whyteleafe to claim a deserved win against struggling Godalming.

When the sides met in the League Cup in September Godalming had twice come from behind before winning on penalties and once again they fought back from 2-0 and 3-1 down to make the last five minutes more uncomfortable than they should have been for the visitors, although Wasps thoroughly deserved their sixth League win of the season which lifts them to 16th in the Ryman South table.

With Tashi Kwayie recalled by parent club Tonbridge after a successful loan spell, Longhurst bolstered his forward line by signing the experienced Michael Salako and Salako marked his debut with the first Grinstead goal.

He led the line impressively while the returning Noel Mbo was also on the scoresheet. Wasps were still without striker Travis Gregory and midfielder Leo Mazzone through injury but James Fitchett returned to the squad after five weeks out, having played for the under-21s at Greenwich Borough last Thursday.

Godalming keeper Oneal Garnes saved at full stretch in the ninth minute to keep out Laste Dombaxe’s shot after good work by Salako but Grinstead’s early pressure was rewarded on 18 minutes. Dombaxe found Will Thomas on the edge of the box and when Garnes parried his shot, Salako was first to react to score.

Salako then set up Mbo for a shot which Garnes saved and in a lively first half Mbo, Dombaxe, Callum Emptage and Marcus Elliott also went close while Grinstead keeper Chris Haigh made a decent save at his near post to deny Hicham Abdellah.

Grinstead seemed to be in control five minutes into the second half when Mbo’s pass allowed Dombaxe to volley sweetly past Garnes and make it 2-0.

But Godalming were back in it nine minutes later when Chris Wales was unchallenged inside the box as he beat Haigh from close range.

Grinstead regained their two-goal advantage in the 67th minute when Mbo tapped in after Godalming failed to clear a corner to get the goal his hardworking performance deserved.

But even with a 3-1 lead Wasps were unable to see the game out comfortably. Ryan Zidyana got a second for the hosts with nine minutes left and in the closing stages Grinstead were forced onto the defensive. Garnes came up to add his presence as they won a succession of late corners but the visitors held firm to complete a win their overall performance definitely merited.

Team: Haiigh, Emptage, McIntyre, Chapman, Benner, Roseje, Thomas (sub: Stanton-Cockle 65), Dombaxe, Salako (sub: Gaggin 65), Elliott, Mbo Unused subs: Arif, Ogunlawa, Fitchett.

Attendance:101

:: East Grinstead Town 2, Whyteleafe 7 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps have been on the end of some drubbings at the hands of Whyteleafe during their Ryman League tenure. In their debut season at this level they conceded 17 goals in three matches and the Surrey side showed no mercy again at East Court on Tuesday night as Grinstead let in seven goals at this level for the first time.

The visitors were helped by a shocking defensive performance from the Wasps as Leafe exposed a creaking offside trap and feasted on non-existent tackling and marking at set pieces to run riot. Two well-taken goals by Tashi Jay Kwayie would have been little consolation to manager Matt Longhurst, who will hope to have Travis Gregory and Noel Mbo back for Saturday’s important game at lowly Godalming.

There had been little in the game in the first 20 minutes with both sides giving the ball away but when Whyteleafe broke the deadlock in the 26th minute it was the first of four goals in 21 minutes either side of the break for the rampant visitors.

Fuller Roseje gave away a free-kick on the right and when the ball was swung into the six-yard box by Alex Penfold, John Scarborough was left unmarked to tap in at the far post.

Wasps conceded another poor goal again in the 34th minute when Scott Day climbed to plant a free header past Chris Haigh from inside the six-yard box.

The home side were all over the place at the back and let in a third two minutes later. A long ball over the top released Ibrahim Akindi and the midfielder sped away from the defence before firing a powerful low drive past Haigh.

And with four minutes of the half remaining Haigh’s heavy touch allowed Akindi to collect possession and chip the advancing keeper to make it 4-0.

Apart from a drive from Will Thomas and George Benner’s header from a corner, which flew just wide, Wasps offered little in the first half.

And it got worse for the hosts five minutes into the second period when Roscoe DSane had space to fire a low, powerful drive which beat Haigh at his near post.

Longhurst brought on Alex Gaggin and Kurtis Cumberbatch and Cumberbatch helped create what was the best goal of the night when Grinstead pulled one back in the 61st minute. His pass found Kwayie who picked his spot into the far corner with a superbly-struck right-foot effort from the edge of the box.

But five minutes later it was 6-1. DSane broke through Grinstead’s flimsy offside trap and confidently side-footed past an exposed Haigh for his second of the contest.

With 11 minutes to go Kwayie scored his second of the night with a finish as accomplished as his first. Finding space just inside the box, he struck another right-footer that beat Brannon Daly off the underside of the bar.

However, Whyteleafe had the last word when right-back Liam Collins picked his way through more flimsy marking and beat Haigh with a lovely finish inside the far post in the 85th minute.

Grinstead: Haigh, Emptage, McIntyre, Chapman (Cumberbatch 52), Benner, Roseje, Thomas, Dombaxe, Kwayie, Elliott, Stanton-Cockle (Gaggin 52).

Match report by Bruce Talbot

:: East Grinstead Town 2, Phoenix Sports 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Grinstead crashed out of the FA Trophy after a disappointing performance against Ryman North side Phoenix Sports.

The Wasps never really got going as an attacking force and were thankful for a couple of penalty decisions to give them a sniff of an unlikely victory.

Grinstead started quite brightly and looked the more dangerous and nearly took the lead on 12 minutes when Laste Dombaxe hit the outside of the post from 30 yards out. Phoenix looked vulnerable at the back at this point but the Dombaxe effort was as good as it got in the first half as Grinstead unusually looked for the long ball over the top, bypassing the midfield, and were easily dealt with by the Phoenix back line.

Phoenix also struggled to carve out chances despite having the majority of the possession. Vences Bola headed just wide before a Russell Bedford volley hit the outside of the post as they finished the half in the ascendancy.

The visitors took the lead early in the second half. The dangerous Christie Pattison latched onto a through ball, after Grinstead goalkeeper Chris Haigh hesitated, to notch the opener.

The lead only lasted five minutes. Defender Jack Barry miskicked his clearance and controlled the ball with his hand and the referee David Hutton did not hesitate in pointing to the spot. Marcus Elliott fired home the resultant penalty.

Five minutes later and Phoenix had taken the lead through another penalty. Haigh was adjudged to have felled Vence Bola after getting in behind the Grinstead defence. Skipper Ryan Bedford made no mistake from the spot.

The third penalty of the game also came five minutes later. A free kick from inside their own half was looking for George Benner who the referee adjudged to have been pulled down by his marker. Again Elliott confidently scored from the 12 yard mark.

Both sides went looking for the winner but Grinstead were still struggling to create anything from open play and it was Phoenix who scored what turned out to be the winner. Substitute Dajon Golding found himself in acres of space on the left, cut inside the Grinstead penalty, and with no one coming to engage him shot past the exposed Haigh.

Grinstead huffed and puffed for a late equaliser and with the last kick of the game, the ball came to Benner inside the penalty area but he could only smash his shot way over the crossbar.

Team: Haigh, Emptage, McIntyre, Chapman, Benner, Roseje, Thomas (Stanton-Cockle), Dombaxe, Kwayie, Elliott, Jalloh (Howlett). Subs not used: Arif, Gaggin, Ogunlawa.

Attendance: 95

Match report by Stewart Ward

:: East Grinstead Town 1, Walton Casuals 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Grinstead followed up their midweek victory over Dorking Wanderers with an entertaining draw against a dangerous Walton Casuals side on Saturday.

It shows how far the Wasps have come in the last few weeks when a draw against one of the better sides in the division is now viewed as two points lost rather than one gained, but it was a good point against a Casuals side who always looked dangerous going forward and were resolute in defence.

Grinstead started brightly, Noel Mbo headed over from a Marcus Elliott Cross after 5 minutes before they took the lead on 14 minutes. Laste Dombaxe who had an impressive game in the middle of the park headed down to Will Thomas who hit a sweet volley from the edge of the box comfortably beating Denzell Gerrar in the Casual’s goal.

Casuals responded well with some quick incisive attacking play as they looked to play in their midfield runners with balls over the top. Dan Summers, who had an afternoon to forget, somehow completely missed his header at the back post but chances were at a premium as both defences stood firm.

Following a good cross from Callum Emptage, Marcus Elliott scuffed his shot wide of the far post before Casuals had a gilt-edged chance to go level two minutes before half time. Another long through ball was inadvertently headed into the path of Kiernan Hughes-Mason who was clear on goal, Chris Haigh stood firm however and blocked the Hughes-Mason effort.

Hughes-Mason had another good chance early in the second half again denied by Haigh and then another Thomas effort from the edge of the box was tipped over acrobatically by Gerrar. Tashi-Jay Kwayie shortly after saw his back header tipped round the post by Gerrar.

Casuals levelled up on 67 minutes. A clumsy foul by Fuller Roseje allowed Dominic Ogun to curl a free kick past the wall and Chris Haigh in the Grinstead net.

Both sides went looking for the winner. Gabriel Odunaike headed just over from close range for the visitors and then Summers received the ball in a good position in the box but shot well wide.

Grinstead weren’t without their own chances, Dombaxe shot well from the edge of the box that flew just wide and from a Thomas cross, Jay-Kwayie completely missed his header from close range.

Team: Haigh, Emptage, McIntyre, Chapman (Stanton-Cockle), Benner, Roseje, Thomas, Dombaxe, Kwayie, Elliott, Mbo (Gaggin). Subs not used: Anderson, Ogunlawa, Howlett

Attendance: 129
Match report by Stewart Ward

:: Dorking Wanderers 1, East Grinstead Town 2 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps’ resurgence continued as they claimed their fifth win in their last six league and cup games to knock Dorking Wanderers off the top of Ryman Division One South.

Goals in each half from Laste Dombaxe and Tashi Jay Kwayie put Matt Longhurst’s team 2-0 in front and although Billy Medlock reduced the deficit to set up a tense last 15 minutes the visitors protected their lead diligently to climb to 15th in the table.

Longhurst had claimed before the game that his side were in a ‘no lose’ situation against the table-toppers because no one was expecting them to get anything, but his players clearly relished the challenge.

Defender George Benner lifted a shot on the turn onto the roof of the net early on and although Dorking saw plenty of the ball Wasps were a threat on the break and they took the lead in the 18th minute when Kwayie made room on the right-hand side of the box and his low cross was turned in by Dombaxe, who had made an unchecked run from midfield.

Dorking had their best spell before half-time and James McShane and Kev Terry wasted good opportunities.

It was clear that the next goal would be crucial and the hosts began the second half looking like they would get it, but Grinstead held firm and increasingly threatended on the counter. Will Thomas dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box and Dombaxe ought to have scored his second when Marcus Elliott’s shot deflected into his path but he lifted his effort over the bar from close range.

However, Grinstead doubled their lead in the 65th minute. Elliott did well down the right to find Kwayie who produced a superb side-foot finish into the bottom corner from 18 yards that gave Dorking keeper Slavomir Huk no chance.

Dorking rallied and Tom Tolfrey should have at least hit the target with a half-volley when he found some precious space in the box. They did pull one back when Chris Haigh, whose performance in goal had been pretty faultless, mis-judged the flight of Tolfrey’s header and allowed it to bounce back off the bar to Medlock, who had a tap-in to make it 2-1.

Haigh atoned with a good low save from Tolfrey but Dorking’s expected push for an equaliser never really materialised and it was Wasps who might have scored again in the closing stages with Elliott and Noel Mbo close to exploiting space in behind the home defence.

After five minutes of stoppage time – the referee had signalled three – the Grinstead players could celebrate their best win of the season so far.

Team: Haigh, Emptage, McIntyre, Chapman (Stanton-Cockle), Benner, Roseje, Thomas, Dombaxe, Kwayie (Howlett), Elliott, Mbo (Gaggin). Subs not used: West, Ogunlawa

Attendance: 142
Match report by Bruce Talbot

:: Chipstead 1, East Grinstead Town 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
A goal on the stroke of half time by Marcus Elliott was the turning point as Grinstead recovered from going a goal behind, after a first half where the hosts could easily have taken an unassailable lead.

Grinstead throughout the half struggled to deal with the pace and directness of Chipstead’s top scorer Raheem Sterling-Parker as he looked to add to his already impressive goal tally. Grinstead did start quite brightly but until the closing stages, the rest of the half belonged to the home side. Sterling-Parker was denied by a smart stop by Chris Haigh before Callum Mclean shot straight at Haigh after a poor throw out by the keeper.

Sterling-Parker gave Chipstead the lead on 23 minutes. Again he outpaced the Grinstead defence before wrong footing Haigh with a reverse shot from the edge of the area. The striker continued to cause Grinstead problems, he was denied by a last ditch tackle by George Benner and was then thwarted by Haigh again after beating Leo Mazzone inside the penalty area as he looked to extend the lead.

Grinstead though somehow survived and started to see more of the ball in the latter stages of the half. Tashi-Jay Kwayie was denied by an acrobatic stop from Shiekh Ceesay from an attempted lob before Sterling-Parker and then Mclean were denied following a scramble in the box.

In first half injury time injury time the game turned on its head. Laste Dombaxe hit a great curling free kick from the edge of the box that bounced off the underside of the bar and onto the line and Marcus Elliott, who was quickest to react, volleyed home the loose ball.

Grinstead's tails were up and with the introduction of Alex Gaggin and Louie Stanton-Cockle they started to dominate. Three minutes into the second half they had taken the lead. Another Dombaxe free kick was only half cleared enabling Gaggin to shoot through a crowd of players into the far corner. Dombaxe then went close with a header that was directed straight at Ceesay.

On 64 minutes Grinstead extended their lead. A long ball forward was spilled by Ceesay under pressure, enabling Elliott to turn home the loose ball from the edge of the area.

Grinstead were now fully in control and with Sterling-Parker having to be replaced with an injury, Chipstead’s attacking threat diminished and it was Grinstead who could have extended their lead with both Jay-Kawayie both being denied by good saves from Ceesay.

Team: Haigh, Emptage, McIntyre, Chapman, Benner, Thomas, Mazzone (Stanton-Cockle), Dombaxe, Kwayie(Sharman), Elliott. Mici (Gaggin). Subs not used: Ogunlawa, Peauroux

Attendance: 74
Match report by Stewart Ward

:: East Grinstead Town 0, Horsham 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Two goals in the last five minutes sealed a somewhat flattering Ryman League victory for the visitors as Wasps suffered only their second defeat in their last eight games.

Grinstead had looked the side more likely to break the deadlock when Tony Nwachukwu lobbed Horsham in front five minutes after coming on as a 61st-minute substitute.

Will Thomas went close to equalising in the 81st minute when the substitute’s well-struck drive from 20 yards was pushed out by Josh Pelling, but instead of a strong finish Nwachukwu grabbed an opportunist second goal in the 85th minute when he scored at the second attempt after Chris Haigh had pushed out his first shot.

Then in the closing moments Scott Kirkwood raced clear to fire inside the far post to make it 3-0.

It was one of those nights for Wasps. Already without Noel Mbo, who was required by parent club Gillingham, they lost fellow striker Travis Gregory inside the first ten minutes to an ankle injury which meant he left the ground on crutches.

Thomas had to come on for Jake McIntyre in the 23rd minute but Wasps created the better chances despite the changes in the first half.

Pelling made an instinctive save with his legs to deny Tashi-Jay Kwayie after sub Alex Gaggin had set him up. Pelling also kept out a shot from Marcus Elliott and Laste Dombaxe wasn’t far away when he let fly from 20 yards.

Grinstead started the second half on the front foot too. Kwayie made space on the edge of the box to fire just wide and two minutes after coming on Jake Howlett nearly became an instant hero as Horsham somehow survived a scramble inside their box which saw Gaggin denied by a goal-line clearance before Howlett smashed the loose ball against the underside of the bar.

Perhaps Wasps sensed it wasn’t going to be their night. Horsham, well organised and strong at the back, grew in confidence after Nwachukwu had taken advantage of some slack defending with an exquisite lob over the helpless Haigh from the right-hand corner of the box to break the deadlock.

Apart from Thomas’s effort, Wasps struggled for a response in the final third of the game although they didn’t really deserve to concede two further goals in the closing stages as they pushed forward and left space at the back which Horsham ruthlessly exploited.

Grinstead: Haigh, Emptage, McIntyre (sub: Thomas 23), Chapman, Benner, Roseje, Mazzone (Howlett 61), Dombaxe, Gregory (Gaggin 12), Elliott, Kwayie. Unused subs: Sharman, Mici.

Attendance: 136
Match report by Bruce Talbot

:: East Grinstead Town 4, Three Bridges 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
A home tie against Ryman North leaders Phoenix Sports is the reward for Wasps in the next round of the FA Trophy after a comfortable victory over local rivals Three Bridges.

In front of a healthy crowd of 141, from the moment Grinstead took the lead on 17 minutes the result never looked in doubt with Grinstead keeper Chris Haigh a virtual spectator.

Manager Matt Longhurst had clearly done some homework on their opponents as Grinstead operated a different style of play to the one that defeated Sittingbourne last weekend. They continually looked for the long ball into the channels to turn the Bridges defence utilising the pace of the Grinstead front three and on 17 minutes it worked to perfection.

Mitchell Chapman delivered a long ball into the right channel to Travis Gregory who picked out Noel Mbo with a perfect cross enabling the 17 year old to steer the ball home from close range for his first goal for the club.

In truth the first half was a scrappy affair although Grinstead were always in the ascendancy, Gregory was denied by a smart save from Martin Grant in the Bridges goal and Laste Dombaxe tested Grant with a couple of free kicks toward the end of the half.

Grinstead upped the ante in the second half and started to totally dominate as the visitors struggled to keep them at bay. Marcus Elliott tested Grant from distance before heading a pinpoint cross from Jake McIntyre just over. George Benner was then denied by a goal line clearance from Mitchell Clark and Mbo nearly doubled his tally only to be denied by the far post.

The pressure finally told on 66 minutes and the second goal was a carbon copy of the first. Benner delivered a ball into the channel for Mbo, who this time turned provider for Elliott to tap home from close range.

Grinstead were now totally in charge as Bridges tired, enabling Grinstead to break through their defence at will. The third came with ten minutes remaining. Chapman produced a slide rule past down the right hand side which substitute Tashi-Jay Kwayie latched onto and supplied a composed finish past Grant.

The rout was complete with two minutes remaining. A great cross from Emptage was met by Gregory who got the goal his efforts deserved with a close range effort to round off a fine victory.

Team: Haigh, Emptage, McIntyre, Chapman, Benner, Roseje, Mazzone, Domabaxe (Thomas), Gregory, Elliott (Gaggin), Mbo (Kwayie). Subs not used: Howlett, Mici

Attendance: 141

Match report by Stewart Ward

:: East Grinstead Town 2, Sittingbourne 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps kept their first clean sheet of the season with a thoroughly professional performance against Sittingbourne.

This was their second win in four days. The side is now looking more settled, with only one change made to the starting line up against South Park with Laste Dombaxe unavailable and they are now looking more potent in attack and solid defensively.

Grinstead started the match on the front foot and had three headed chances in the first 20 minutes that all flew over from the front three of Travis Gregory, Marcus Elliott and Noel Mbo. Grinstead were defending stoutly and restricted the visitors to a couple of long range efforts through Tom Brunt and Stefan Wright whose efforts were also too high of the target.

In a tight game it was a brilliant run by Jake McIntyre that opened up the Sittingbourne defence to give the Grinstead the lead. He beat three players down the left before cutting in and crossing to the near post where the other full back Callum Emptage had make great strides to meet the cross at the near post and scramble the ball home past Ben Bridle-Card.

Sittingbourne responded well, former Grinstead player Tom Carlse drove a good chance straight at keeper Chris Haigh, and shortly after headed over from a Conrad Lee free kick before Wright stung the hands of Haigh as they finished the half in the ascendancy.

Lee prevented Grinstead extending the lead early in the second half when he cleared off the line following a goalmouth scramble but chances were at a premium as both defences were on top.

Haigh was called into his first serious bit of action when Miles Cornwell found some space in the box on the 70 minute mark but the young Grinstead keeper pulled off a smart save to prevent the Sittingbourne striker.

Two minutes later and it was another piece of individual brilliance that extended the lead for the Wasps. Substitute Tashi-Jay Kwayie collected Haigh’s clearance on the half-way line, strode forward and with a well hit shot from the edge of the box hit a low drive past the outstretched arms of Bridle-Card.

Grinstead were relatively comfortable at this stage but had substitute Connor Wilkins found the target when well placed with eight minutes left, the remaining minutes could have been more uncomfortable. As it was they saw out the rest of the game with no further scares to notch another thoroughly deserved three points.

Team: Haigh, Emptage, McIntyre, Chapman, Benner, Roseje, Thomas (Gaggin), Mazzone, Gregory (Arif), Elliott, Mbo (Kwayie). Subs not used: Howlett, Goulter.

Attendance: 96

Match report by Stewart Ward

:: South Park 2, East Grinstead Town 4 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps produced their best performance of the season to climb out of the Ryman League relegation zone thanks to an excellent attacking performance.

Goals from Marcus Elliott – his fifth in as many games – and Will Thomas had Grinstead 2-0 in front after 18 minutes.

Kieran Lavery pulled one back early in the second half but Grinstead were always a threat on the counter-attack with their pace and Laste Dombaxe and man of the match Travis Gregory added further goals before Joe Jackson pulled one back with virtually the last kick of an entertaining contest.

At times, particularly in the first half, there was a real edge to the contest and four Grinstead players were booked in a nine-minute spell either side of half-time.

But there was no doubt that the visitors deserved to win. The pace of Gregory, Elliott and Noel Mbo caused South Park problems throughout and home keeper James Wastell made some good saves to prevent further goals, particularly in the second half.

The opener came on 15 minutes. Mbo’s shot was blocked by Wastell after he had raced clear of the home defender and he had the presence of mind to square the loose ball to Elliott, who hooked it home.

Three minutes later Thomas scored a cracking second with a volley from the left-hand edge of the box after Mbo’s cross from the right wasn’t cleared.

Gregory went close twice before the break with shots which Wastell blocked but both sides needed half-time to cool fraying tempers as Callum Emptage, Jake McIntyre, Jerome Rossje and Mbo all found themselves booked.

Wasps anticipated a South Park onslaught at the start of the second half but debutant goalkeeper Chris Haigh was well protected by his back four although there was little he could do when Lavery pounced from close range to make it 2-1 after a goalmouth scramble.

The home side had the momentum but Wasps stood firm and as South Park committed more men forward they began to look dangerous on the break, particularly through Gregory whose pace, awareness and skill tormented the home defence.

Wastell denied him again with a smart save then substitute Tashi Kwayie somehow diverted an inviting cross from Elliott wide of goal but Wasps duly got a third goal in the 78th minute. Gregory was the creator with a lovely pass into the path of Dombaxe who fired into the far corner for his first Grinstead goal.

Elliott is Wasps’ designated penalty taker but he graciously allowed Gregory to claim the goal he deserved in the 88th minute from the spot after Asa Rixon-Nicholls had brought down Elliott in the box. That made it 4-1 and although Dan Moody hit the bar with a volley and Jackson scrambled in a late second for the hosts, they could have no complaints about the outcome of an excellent 90 minutes.

Wasps: Haigh, Emptage (sub: Batchelor 72), McIntyre, Benner, Roseje; Gregory, Dombaxe, Chapman (sub: Mazzone 65), Mbo (Kwayie 45); Elliott, Gregory.

Attendance: 78
Match report by Bruce Talbot

:: Hythe Town 3, East Grinstead Town 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps failed to extend their unbeaten run to four games at Reachfields, although they gave high-flying Hythe plenty of problems particularly in the first half.

But having levelled through Marcus Elliott, they conceded a second goal just before the break which gave the hosts important momentum for the second half.

They made the game safe with a third goal but there were still lots of encouraging signs in the performance of his young team for manager Matt Longhurst.

Alfie May was a constant menace for the visitors and the Hythe midfielder created the opening goal on 14 minutes when his left-wing cross was headed powerfully home by Kenny Pogue, with Connor O’Hara, the third different keeper used already this season by Grinstead, given no chance.

But Wasps rallied. Travis Gregory was a constant threat down the flanks and his pinpoint cross enabled Elliott to head a 32nd minute equaliser past Joe Mant.

However, the lead lasted just six minutes when May reacted quickest to Giorgio Russo’s right-wing cross to make it 2-1.

Laste Dombaxe nearly levelled just before the break with a free kick which just missed the left-hand post and early in the second half Dombaxe appeared to be pushed inside the penalty area but Grinstead claims for a spot-kick were waved away.

O’Hara was by now struggling with a calf strain which meant he was unable to kick and Hythe went further ahead in the 68th minute when Frankie Sawyer’s shot was blocked but he was able to tee up Pogue for a second header to make it 3-1.

Dave Cook hit the post for the hosts but another goal would have been harsh on Wasps who worked hard throughout.

Grinstead: O’Hara, Emptage, McIntyre, Mazzone, Benner, Roseje, Thomas, Dombaxe (sub: Chapman 72), Gregory, Elliott (sub: Howlett 83), Kwayie (sub: Mbo 69) Unused subs: Gaggin, Batchelor.

Attendance 206

:: East Grinstead Town 2, Corinthian Casuals 2 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps stretched their unbeaten run to three games with a hard-fought but deserved point against a Casuals team who started the game third in Ryman League South.

The visitors showed why they are so handily placed in the first half which finished with Grinstead somewhat fortunate to be level.

But Manager Matt Longhurst made a couple of changes at the break which enabled his side to compete. Last Dombaxe, who had been sent off on his debut, came on to give Wasps a foothold in midfield and Callum Emptage looked much more settled with his switch to right-back.

As a result, Grinstead spent much of the second half on the front foot and although Casuals goalkeeper Danny Bracken wasn’t over-worked, he did make a superb save low down with his right hand in the 58th minute to keep out Alex Gaggin’s drive.

Travis Gregory failed to find the target on a couple of occasions from good positions while Dombaxe wasn’t far away with a free kick from just outside the box and a late effort from 20 yards.

In contrast Casuals offered little in the second half in an attacking sense in contrast to the first half when the strength and pace of their front players caused Grinstead lots of problems.

The hosts didn’t help themselves with some poor defending. They went behind in the 19th minute when Shaun Brown was left unmarked to guide a header from Mahrez Bettache’s cross past Hafed Al-Droubi.

To their credit Wasps responded within six minutes. Striker Marcus Elliott met Reece Batchelor’s deep cross with a header which Bracken did well to push out but only into the path of Tasha Jay-Kwayie and the young striker, who is on loan from Tunbridge Angels, tapped in.

But Casuals were soon back in front when Serbony turned inside the box and his ball across the face of goal gave Juevan Spencer a tap-in.

If anything the visitors looked like adding to their lead before the break but instead Grinstead were given a lifeline a minute before half-time when Marcus Elliott was clipped by Jamie Byatt just inside the box and Elliott got up to find the bottom corner with his penalty.

It was just the confidence boost Grinstead needed and their second half performance will have given Longhurst and the Wasps’ supporters belief that they can start climbing the table.

Grinstead: Al-Droubi, Batchelor (Dombaxe 45), McIntyre, Emptage, Benner, Roseje, Thomas, Gaggin (Mazzone 61), Gregory, Elliott (Mbo 75), Kwayie. Unused subs: Dixon, Hewlett.

Attendance: 88
Match Report: Bruce Talbot

:: East Grinstead Town 2, Godalming Town 2 (Godalming won 6-5 on penalties) :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps went out of the Alan Turvey Ryman League Cup after a dramatic defeat on penalties.

Callum Emptage looked to have won the tie for Grinstead seven minutes from the end of normal time when he converted an excellent low left-wing cross by substitute Chad Goulter.

But the visitors levelled a minute from time through Rory Sellick’s deflected volley to take the tie to penalties.

Both Williams Pearuoux and debutant Fuller Roseje saw their penalties saved by Godalming keeper O’Neal Garnes while Leo Mazzone hit the post and although Hafed Al-Droubi saved two spot-kicks for Wasps, Nick Medcraft converted the 16th penalty of the shoot-out to send Godalming through.

The outcome was harsh on Wasps who had the better chances, despite falling behind in the ninth minute when Darren Wheeler converted a penalty after a foul by Roseje.

Leo Mazzone levelled in the 18th minute with a well-struck drive from 25 yards and Jack Howlett, another debutant who owed his place in the starting line-up to the late arrival of Marcus Elliott, nearly made an instant impact with a close-range header in the 30th minute which Garnes clawed to safety.

Five minutes later Jame Fitchett’s probing cross was somehow missed by three team-mates in the six-yard box while Garnes made another good save before the break to keep out Will Thomas’s shot.

There were fewer attempts on goal in a scrappy second half but Grinstead did most of the pressing and looked to have been rewarded by Emptage’s good finish.

But Godalming had other ideas – and then kept their nerve in the penalty shoot-out.

Grinstead: Al-Droubi, Batchelor (sub: Pearuoux 66), McIntyre, Emptage, Roseje, Bangura, Thomas, Mazzone, Gregory, Howlett (sub: Elliott 61), Gaggin (sub: Goulter 75). Unused subs: Fitchett, Chapman.

Attendance: 62
Match Report: Bruce Talbot

:: Chatham Town 2, East Grinstead Town 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps enjoyed one of the best results since promotion to the Ryman League after coming from 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go to stun Chatham.

Former Grinstead manager Tony Beckingham, who is now in charge of the Chats, wasn’t there to see a turnaround which even the most diehard Wasps fan could hardly have envisaged when Josh Jackson made it 2-0 to the host in the 62nd minute.

Luke Medley had the opportunity to add to his first-half penalty four minutes later but fired over from an excellent position.

Instead, Wasps pulled one back in the 69th minute when Marcus Elliott netted confidently from the penalty spot, giving Henry Newcombe no chance in the Chatham goal after the referee had spotted a push inside the penalty area. Five minutes later Grinstead levelled when Will Thomas finished off a fine move down the left when he turned on the edge of the box to hit a low drive past Newcombe.

Ross Morley went close to restoring Chatham’s advantage but fired over after goalkeeper Hafed Al-Droubi’s punch had dropped at his feet.

It was to prove a costly miss. With three minutes to go Alex Gaggin did well down the left and when his cross came in Elliott reacted quickest to fire past Newcombe and complete an unexpected turnaround.

The game had been far more entertaining than looked possible on a rock-hard pitch on which ball control was difficult.

Grinstead started brightly with Suliaman Bangura and Williams Peauroux going close before Regan Payne spurned their best chance of the half in the 24th minute. Played in by Travis Gregory’s excellent pass, Payne controlled the ball well but his shot was too close to Newcombe who made the save.

Newcombe also denied Elliott before Chatham were awarded a contentious penalty in the 38th minute. The referee initially looked to award a corner after a defender blocked the ball on the line but changed his mind after his assistant had spotted a handball. Medley scored from the spot and when Jackson doubled Chatham’s lead from a suspiciously offside position the hosts were in control.

But Grinstead showed great spirit and the confidence boost will help their climb up the table.

Grinstead: Al-Droubi, Batchelor, Gbanie, Emptage, Fitchett (sub: Chapman 46), Bangura, Thomas, Peauroux (sub: Mazzone 66), Gregory, Elliott, Payne (sub: Gaggin 52) Subs not used: Benner, Healey.

Attendance: 152

:: Hastings United 2, East Grinstead Town 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps are still looking for their first Ryman League points of the season after their second defeat in 48 hours over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Matt Longhurst's side produced an improved performance after losing 3-0 at home to Carshalton and better sides than Grinstead will find it tough to take points off Hastings, who are one of the promotion contenders, on their own patch.

The main positive for Grinstead was an excellent debut by Steffan Cox, who was available after completing a suspension hanging over from last season.

Cox was full of energy throughout down the right-hand side and created the best moments of danger for Wasps, but they could never really mount concerted pressure on the home goal.

They weren't over-extended at the other end a great deal either, particularly in a subdued opening third when defender George Benner's header from Jake McIntyre's free kick was the only time either goalkeeper was seriously tested.

When the deadlock was finally broken on 32 minutes Grinstead were left cursing the sort of misfortune that often besets teams low on confidence. Sam Cruttwell's cross was flicked on by Jay May and Grinstead defender Suliaman Bangura, in trying to clear under pressure from Frannie Collin, stabbed the ball into his own net.

Cox tested the home goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley three minutes after the break with a low shot after good work by Leo Mazzone but Sam Cole went even closer for Hastings when his volley hit the top of the crossbar.

The hosts doubled their lead after 66 minutes when May swept forward from just inside his own half, held off two challenges and steered his shot past debutant goalkeeper Pawel Szemelej, the third keeper Wasps have used this season.

And that was that. Grinstead huffed and puffed but United saw the game out comfortably enough.

Team: Szemelej, Emptage, McIntyre (sub Gaggin 56mins), Dombaxe, Benner, Bangura, Cox, Botterill (sub Peauroux 71mins), Elliott, Mazzone, Thomas (Batchelor 69mins) Unused subs: Joseph, Fitchett

Attendance: 383

:: East Grinstead Town 0, Carshalton Athletic 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Grinstead's disappointing start to the season continued against unbeaten and top of the table side Carshalton Athletic on Saturday.

Despite losing three on the bounce it was Grinstead who started brightly and put the visitors on the back foot without testing Alex Kozakis in the Carshalton goal but with their first real attack Carshalton took the lead on 19 minutes.

A nice ball from Mickel Miller put in Brendan Murphy Mcvey in the inside channel and from a tight angle his shot squeezed under the body of Hafed Al-Droubi.

Carshalton now started to dictate play and nearly doubled the lead when Sekou Kaba latched onto a pin-point through ball, his shot beat Al-Droubi but Callum Emptage was on hand to clear off the line.

On the half-hour mark Grinstead had a good chance to draw level, Elliott found some space just inside the box only to shoot high and wide when well placed.

Carshalton continued to impress and top scorer Miller should have increased the lead after a Tommy Bradford cross found him unmarked 6 yards out but he screwed his shot horribly wide.

Three minutes before half time and Carshalton did double their lead, Miller outmuscled Emptage down their left, hit a pinpoint cross for Bradford who shot back past Al-Droubi with a smart finish.

Again Grinstead started brightly at the start of the second half, but the game was really over as a contest on 54 minutes. A free kick from Tommy Bradford from the edge of the box went in off the underside of the crossbar for his second of the game.

This prompted a couple of substitutes from Grinstead who changed formation going three at the back and Williams Peauroux added some quality in the middle of the park. The changes did improve Grinstead but by this stage Carshalton appeared to have settled with what they had and Grinstead task became an impossible one when debutant Laste Dombaxe was sent off for a two-footed challenge with ten minutes remaining.

Grinstead did fashion out one more chance when Elliott screwed a close range header wide from a Tunde Dixon cross before Kingsley Aikhionbare was denied a fourth for Carshalton in the dying minutes.

Team: Al-Droubi, Emptage, Dixon, Thomas, Bangura, Fitchett(Peauroux), Dombaxe, Gaggin (Mazzone), Elliott, Arif (Joseph), Batchelor. Subs not used: McIntyre, Benner.

Attendance: 117
Match report: Stewart Ward

:: Herne Bay 1, East Grinstead Town 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
It is seven years since Wasps won a game in the FA Cup and that record failed to improve on Saturday, although Matt Longhurst will have been wondering all the way back from the Kent coast how his side didn't at least get themselves a replay against their Ryman South hosts.

The Grinstead boss had to overcome problems before kick off. Goalkeeper Hafed Al-Droubi came in for his debut after Milan Stojasvlevic left the club after making two appearances to join Dorking Wanderers. Then Aidan Hayes was injured in the warm-up and Will Thomas had to come in.

Sam Hasler crashed an early free-kick against the post and the hosts certainly began confidently, buoyed by their midweek win over Hastings in the league.

Callum Emptage headed Danny Walder's free kick off the line but Grinstead gradually settled, and although they didn't create too much themselves Wasps restricted Bay to few clear-cut openings in a half spoiled by a swirling wind.

But three minutes after the break Herne Bay broke through. Wasps failed to deal with Connor Saunders' long throw into the box and Danny Williams' volley looped over Al-Droubi.

Grinstead re-grouped and were twice denied an equaliser by the wood work as they pressed for much of the remainder of the second half.

On 50 minutes Marcus Elliott's astute pass put Alex Gaggin away but his low drive bounced back off the inside of the post with keeper Jack Delo beaten.

Then midway through the second half Bay defender Liam Quinn headed against his own crossbar under pressure from Steffan Joseph.

Thomas and Emptage both tested Delo in the closing stages and although Stuart Zanone had the ball in the net only to be denied by the offside flag, it was Bay who were more grateful to hear the full-time whistle and confirm their place in the next round.

Grinstead: Hafed Al-Droubi, Callum Emptage, Suliaman Bangura, Will Thomas, James Fitchett (sub: Reece Batchelor 75), George Benner, Alex Gaggin (sub: Trevor McCreadie 62), Dave Botterill, Stefan Joseph (sub: Alex Ariff 70), Marcus Elliott, Tunde Dixon Subs not used: Mohammed Yusuf, Jake McIntyre, Adrian Todd

Attendance: 172

:: East Grinstead Town 2, Dorking Wanderers 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Grinstead missed out on their first points of the season after a narrow defeat against one of the pre-season favourites Dorking Wanderers on Tuesday evening.

Dorking finished second last season and were always going to provide a tough test for this new look Grinstead side and although Grinstead gave a good account of themselves it was a victory that Dorking deserved thanks to their quick incisive attacking football particularly in the second half.

Dorking started brightly and nearly took the lead on seven minutes. Matt Briggs who gave full-back a Tunde Dixon a torrid evening beat the defender for pace only to be denied by the legs of Milan Stojasvljevic who had a fine game in the Grinstead net.

Two minutes later and Grinstead took a surprise lead. A quick break involving Trevor McCreadie and Alex Gaggin resulted in Williams Peauroux finding some space on the edge of the box to curl home past Slavomir Hulk.

Grinstead were now more than a match for their opponents and Trevor McCreadie, who started well, saw his shot from the edge of the box saved low down by Hulk.

The hosts were relatively comfortable at this stage but a temporary lapse in concentration allowed Dorking to equalise on twenty six minutes. Some smart interplay allowed Jerome Beckles some space to fire past Stojasvljevic from just inside the area.

Dorking’s pace continued to cause Grinstead’s back line problems and when the prolific Tom Tolfrey out paced George Benner, Grinstead were thankful for another smart save from Stojasvljevic and from the follow up James Mcshane fired high and wide.

Dorking took the lead seven minutes into the second half. A quick break down the left ended with a pinpoint cross to McShane who slotted home from close range. Dorking were now playing with a great deal of confidence and Grinstead were struggling to keep them at bay and only a world class save by Stojasvljevic from another McShane effort prevented Dorking from going further ahead.

Grinstead took advantage of this close call and drew level in the 61st minute. Stefan Joseph got clear of his marker and although he missed the chance to shoot he showed great awareness to set up Gaggin on the edge of the box who drilled past the Dorking defenders on the line.

They weren’t on level terms for long however. Briggs again was give the freedom of the park down the right hand side to enable him to slot past the exposed Stojasvljevic. Five minutes later Tolfrey fired over from close range and Briggs was denied again by Stojasvljevic as Dorking finished the stronger.

Team: Stojasvljevic, Emptage, Dixon, Hayes (McIntyre), Fitchett, Benner, Peauroux (Thomas), Botterill, Joseph (Arif), Gaggin, McCreadie: Subs not used: Batchelor, Proni

Attendance: 91
Match report by Stewart Ward

:: Molesey 2, East Grinstead Town 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
There is always optimism at the start of a new season and that’s even more the case for Wasps, who have rebuilt their squad and seemingly strengthened it for their third crack at the Ryman League.

And although there’s still a long way to go, there was obvious disappointment in deepest Surrey on Saturday after a goal in each half condemned Matt Longhurst’s new-look team to defeat.

Grinstead had five debutants in the team and they started well, particularly down the right through the pacey Reece Batchelor.

But following their first foray into Grinstead’s box Molesey took a controversial lead in the 12th minute. The ball came off one of the home side’s players who was stationed on the line and in an offside position. It came out to Ross Chalke who scored and the goal stood despite protests from Grinstead.

Batchelor and Jordan Clarke looked lively for Wasps and skipper Dave Botterill tested Liam Clarke in the Moles’ goal with a header but the hosts had the best chance of the half when Chalke’s shot brushed the outside of the post.

Clarke went close nine minutes into the second half, forcing a goalline clearances from a free kick after defender Tunde Dixon was fouled but the hosts continued to carry the greater goal threat.

Chalke met Joe Nwoko’s cross with a firm header which was well saved by Milan Stojasvljevic but on 57 minutes Nwoko ran through a gaping hole in the heart of Grinstead’s defence and gave the keeper no chance to make it 2-0.

Longhurst brought on all three subs to try and get a way back into the game but Molesey saw the game out comfortably and Wasps finished with ten men after substitute Regan Payne was stretchered off deep into stoppage time with s leg injury which will need further assessment over the next few days.

Longhurst said: “We froze on the occasion a little in my opinion and some of the younger players must settle and remain confident in their ability.

“Having said that its one game and it's a long season and we won't press the panic button.”


Grinstead: Milan Stojasvljevic, Callum Emptage, Tunde Dixon, Will Thomas (sub: Regan Payne 57), George Benner, James Fitchett, Osman Proni (sub: Aidan Hayes 57), Dave Botterill, Trevor McCreadie, Jordan Clarke (sub: Stefan Joseph 72), Reece Batchelor Subs not used: Alex Gaggin, Jake McIntyre.

Attendance: 77
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