You wait 13 matches for a draw, and then 2 come along together. This was the proverbial 0-0 massacre as Forest did everything short of getting the ball in the net.
Jamie Marrable was the Rovers’ hero. The young keeper, on loan from East Thurrock, used most parts of his anatomy to keep the ball out of his net. Indeed, one of his punched clearances concussed defender Nana Badu.
Forest started strongly, and in only the second minute a good build up involving Chris Cashman and Hasan Kardal ended with Papa Kanyuku heading just wide.
Soon after a long clearance from Cashman just out-paced Kardal, and then Dewayne Clarke had a shot blocked and a minute later Kanyuku just failed to connect with a cross.
On 12 minutes Great Wakering forced their first corner, but this provided a comfortable catch for Gavin King, who enjoyed a fairly untroubled evening as Forest camped out in the home side’s half for much of the game.
Before there were 15 minutes on the clock Marrable made a further two important saves, picking out a cross from Kanyuku, and seconds later scrambling a Clarke cross shot out for a corner. There was little respite as Cashman and Carlos Brown rained long balls into the area, and on 20 minutes Simon Tickner headed a Marvin walker free kick against the bar, the ball came out to Kanyuku, but his deft cross was headed just wide by Clarke. A fine cross by Paul Armand was met by Kardal, but again Marrable spread his body to block the forward’s shot. Walker cut in from the right, but his shot from 20 yards was well saved.
On 28 minutes Kardal beat the offside trap to meet a pass from Kanyuku, but again Marrable turned his shot aside for a corner. Minutes later Marrable punched a dangerous corner clear and in doing so floored Badu. Soon after Panayiotis Panayiotoy tried to get on the end of a cross, but was judged by referee John Lodge to “have left his foot in” the challenge and was booked.
Badu fouled Kardal, and from the resulting free kick the ball went to Ian Barnes who, on one of several forays into the attack, shot just wide. The half ended with Marrable saving yet another Kardal shot, and then Brown sending a cross shot just over the bar.
The second half was a repeat of the first, but Forest were becoming more anxious as chances went begging. Kardal shot wide and Kanyuku sliced his shot when well placed. Karem Bashkel, on for Kardal, was soon in action having a shot saved, and on 70 minutes Panayiotoy had a header saved. Bashkel was booked for obstructing Marrable’s clearance.
Tickner, Clarke and Bashkel all went close, and then with 10 minutes left Wakering countered, but Michael Shelley headed wide. This was the limit of the home side’s ambition, as they seemed content with just a second home point of the season.
Walker seemed to have won it for Forest in the 87th minute, but Marrable somehow got fingertips to his screaming shot to turn the ball over the bar.
So the game ended 0-0, the same as the corresponding fixture last year. It seemed as if there was a force field in the Wakering goal, which somehow kept the ball out. So Forest go on to their longest trip into Kent on Saturday where they will hope to return from Sittingbourne with 3 points.
Great Wakering Rovers:- Marrable, Badu (Heffer 58), Beale, Walshe, Wornham, Scopes (Dosser 86), Harrison, Reade (Sammons 48), Trenkel, Shelley and Harris. Subs not used: Brown and Pitts.
Waltham Forest: King, Barnes, Cashman, Tickner, Armand (Henry 80), Brown, Kanyuku, Panayiotoy, Clarke, Kardal (Bashkel 57) and Walker. Subs not used: Bastian, Guei and Duncan.