Cleaver cuts down Redbridge
PUBLISHED: 08:13 06 March 2016 | UPDATED: 08:13 06 March 2016
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Ryman North: Redbridge 1 Great Wakering Rovers 2
Jacob Cleaver returned to haunt former club Redbridge and send them to another defeat at Oakside.
Cleaver, whose goals helped Motormen avoid relegation three years ago, struck eight minutes from time to earn all three points for Great Wakering and leave his old club in deep trouble at the bottom of the table.
Redbridge had fallen to a 5-1 defeat at leaders Sudbury a week earlier, having conceded four times in the second half and seen Billy Drake sent off.
And there was barely 50 seconds on the clock when the visitors opened the scoring as Jay Nash cut inside a Redbridge defender and saw his effort beat Calum Chafer, despite the young keeper getting his hands on the shot.
Billy Johnson went close to a second for Rovers soon after, but his shot from the edge of the box flew just over Chafer’s crossbar.
And the visitors had another chance, breaking upfield swiftly after a Redbridge free-kick to put Nash in on goal, but his shot was too close to Chafer, who saved.
Redbridge went close when a free-kick evaded everyone in the box, before Nash fired too high again for the visitors.
And Rovers were inches away from a second when John Bradley’s strike from outside the box came back off the angle of post and crossbar.
Motormen were forced to replace Aaron Matthews with Jordan Cornelius, but they were back on terms when Carlos Espirito-Santos came inside from the byline and fired low into the bottom corner of the net on 36 minutes.
Rigers Kabashi fired over for Motormen, after Joe Gent had sent an effort straight at keeper Adam Seal just before the home side’s equaliser.
Gent was also denied by a superb tackle in the box as Motormen looked to get their noses in front before half time.
But they had a let-off before the interval as Wakering sent a free-kick into the box that caused panic among the home ranks and penalty appeals were ignored by the referee.
The visitors went close from another set-piece early in the second half, but after that scare Redbridge enjoyed more of the play as conditions deteriorated.
The hosts forced a string of corners, but Seal produced a couple of key saves and Santos blazed a good chance over.
Then Rovers went close to regaining the lead when Gordon fired a 25-yard drive past a flat-footed Chafer but inches wide.
Motormen were undone for a second time with only eight minutes remaining, though, as Nash unselfishly teed up Cleaver to fire home the winner.
Nash had a chance to settle it with a third, but fired straight at Chafer, who then pushed another effort from him behind for a corner.
Redbridge turn their attentions to the London Senior Cup on Tuesday as they welcome Hendon for a semi-final tie.
Tooting are due to host Harrow in the outstanding quarter-final tie, with the winners hosting Dulwich.
Redbridge’s Essex Cup quarter-final tie with Tilbury, postponed again in midweek despite being switched to Chadfields, is now scheduled for Tuesday, March 15.
Redbridge: Chafer, Sackey, Matthews (Cornelius 18), Burgess, Good, Belindir, Gent, Kabashi, Portway, Coxi-Sebastfao, Espirito-Santos. Unused subs: Dorgu, Sidhu, Eaton, Freund.