Bucks battle ends all square thanks to Kretzschmar stunner

Max Kretzschmar

Max Kretzschmar

First published in Sport Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

MAX Kretzschmar scored a stunning 30 yarder as Wanderers came from two down to draw tonight’s pre season friendly at Chesham.

The Southern League side twice took advantage of slack defending from Blues to go into a two goal lead through Ryan Blake and Mark Bell.

But Wanderers netted twice in the space of a minute as firstly Sido Jombati crashed home a header and then Kretzschmar scored a beauty to tie the game up again.

From there Blues had the better of the game after being given a rude awakening, with trialist Hogan Ephraim impressing with his skill, pace and work ethic in attack but being unable to find the killer finishing touch.

The goal glut from both sides was unexpected, coming after an opening quarter played at a fast and furious pace more in keeping with a competitive match that failed to result in a clear chance.

For a long time it looked as if the main talking point of the game would be when Blake left Stuart Lewis crumpled in a heap with the most robust tackle of all the challenges flying in with just quarter of an hour gone.

And it was the villain of the piece who made the first telling contribution, putting the hosts in front from the first opportunity of the game. Blake took control of a channel ball, easily shrugged off the challenge of Tommy Fletcher and confidently slotted past coach Barry Richardson, who was on goalkeeping duty.

Simon Thomas, back for a second spell with Chesham, almost doubled the lead a minute later but Callum Driver – one of three trialists in the side – made a good block to foil him.

Fellow trialist Ephraim blasted high and wide before just failing to get onto the end of a incisive pass from the third man hoping to land a deal with Blues, midfielder Will Hudson.

But Chesham doubled their advantage as Ashley Smith – a community officer at Wanderers – was given the benefit of the doubt when he looked to have fouled Matt Bloomfield. Play was allowed to continue and Smith played in Bell to tuck home the second.

The goal owed more to some lacklustre defending from Wanderers than anything else, and Thomas ought to have made the scoreline even more embarrassing as he was able to hold off Fletcher but pulled his near post shot wide.

It was the shot in the arm Blues needed as Sam Wood had an effort blocked by the considerable frame of veteran defender Darren Purse.

Then they pulled level as, out of nowhere, they scored twice in a minute.

Firstly Jombati headed a precise free kick delivery from the left into the net in off the underside of the bar, before Ephraim – who’d floated in the set piece – then stole possession from the resulting restart and laid the ball off for Kretzschmar to smash a glorious effort from 30 yards into the top corner of the net.

Barely any time had elapsed before Bloomfield broke the offside trap but hammered wide and Junior Morias brought a sharp reflex stop from Shane Gore at his near post as a flurry of chances came the visitors’ way just before the half time break.

It wasn’t long before Blues were back on the attack in the second half as Kretzschmar slashed wide after good work down the right from Ephraim and Bloomfield, before half time substitute Joe Jacobson did superbly to keep a first time volley low on the ground and the Welshman was unlucky to see it skid inches wide of the upright.

The game slowed and stuttered from its earlier frenetic pace as a number of substitutions followed, with one of the replacements, Paul Hayes, placing an effort just the wrong side of the post.

The former Charlton man thought he had put Blues in front as Gore couldn’t hold Ephraim’s shot from the edge of the box and Hayes was on hand to tap home, but a late linesman’s flag came to Chesham’s rescue.

Ephraim’s poked effort after another intelligent spell of passing started by Driver and involving Peter Murphy was touched wide by an at-full-stretch Gore as the ex QPR men edged ever closer to the goal his all-round play warranted.

Wanderers: Richardson, Driver, Fletcher, Doherty (sub Pierre), Jombati (sub Jacobson), Morias (sub Hayes), Bloomfield (sub Murphy), Lewis (sub Kretzschmar), Wood, Hudson (sub Evans), Ephraim. Substitutes not used: Ainsworth, Horlock.

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