Bostik League South – 14/4/18
Cray Wanderers 8
Dawson 9, Scott 16, 88, Rhule 32, Leader 42,
MacDonald 57, 81, Dadson 67
South Park 0
Cray Wanderers practically confirmed a playoff place after a devastating attacking display produced eight goals against South Park at Hayes Lane.
On the first real game for months played in sunshine Cray took the lead early on through Lea Dawson’s header after nine minutes and from here Cray put their foot on the accelerator and scored three more goals before half time through Brandon Scott, Aaron Rhule and Jay Leader.
In the second half after a decent start from South Park, Cray scored a fifth goal when Charlie MacDonald lofted a lovely deft chip over keeper Thomas Miles in the 57th minute. Ten minutes later, Junior Dadson made it 6-0 tapping in from Karl Dent’s cross and then Dent set up MacDonald for his second nine minutes from the end. With two minutes to go, Scott notched his second to complete the rout.
From the side which drew at VCD Athletic last Saturday there were two changes to Tony Russell’s side with Michael Freiter, Kyron Farrell and Brandon Scott coming in for Karl Dent, Zak Henry and Junior Dadson.
South Park had played as recently as Thursday night and Malcolm Porter’s side began quite brightly and had the first couple of shooting opportunities both falling to 22 goal Jack Mazzone, first firing over from 30 yards from Josh Gallagher’s layoff. Then Mazzone hit a strike which was patted down by Nick Blue.
The game was then held up for a couple of minutes as the goal frame at the seated end of Hayes Lane had to be adjusted as was deemed out of position.
Cray started to get their game going and after nine minutes took the lead. Barney Williams saw a cross into the area turned behind for a corner. From the left wing corner, Kyron Farrell’s cross to the back post was turned in by skipper Lea Dawson from three yards.
The pace of Aaron Rhule and Brandon Scott down the wings was causing South Park all sorts of problems and Scott made a run forward and was brought down twenty five yards from goal for a free kick. Farrell bent the free kick round the way but was claimed by Thomas Miles.
Two minutes later in the 16th minute, Rhule got away down the left and into the area and cut the ball back across to the far post to Scott who finished well from six yards to make it 2-0. This was a landmark goal as this was the 100th league goal of the season, the first time in the Isthmian League years that Cray have scored a century of league goals.
This was followed by another Rhule cross finding Scott at the far post but this time the ball was headed wide. Then Rhule was having an excellent first half put over another cross which was headed wide of the right post by Charlie MacDonald.
In the 32nd minute, Rhule got the goal his performance deserved when he picked up a short pass from Michael Freiter and accelerated down the right, saw off the challenge of Dan Moody and from the edge of the six yard box lashed a shot high into the net for the third Cray Wanderers goal.
Cray then won a corner down the right won by MacDonald and Farrell ball to the back of the area found Dawson who teed up Scott from the edge of the penalty area who fired over the bar. Then Freiter got away down the left and put the ball across to Scott who was denied by a blocked save from Miles and the loose ball fell to Ben Mundele but his effort was put behind for a corner.
It was from that corner in the 42nd minute that Cray scored the fourth goal. Farrell’s right wing corner was met by Mitchell Nelson who diverted a header into the path of Jay Leader who turned the ball into the net from six yards.
There was still time before half time for Cray to almost score a fifth when Scott was put through and seemed certain to score but was denied by a good save from the legs of Miles. South Park were looking very leggy and Cray had ended the half playing some excellent football.
Half Time: 4-0
Cray brought on Karl Dent at half time for Williams and almost scored again early in the second half when Scott’s cross from the right found MacDonald but saw his effort cleared off the line by James McElligott.
South Park then had a little flurry to keep Cray on their toes. Firstly, Dylan Merchant found Mazzone who hit a crisp volley that went over the bar.
Then another intricate move saw Moody hit a first time shot from 25 yards which Blue did extremely well to push over the bar for a corner.
For Cray, Scott was denied a second goal by another smart save from Miles from MacDonald’s layoff while for South Park, Moody set up Kieran Lavery who saw a low drive saved by a sprawling Blue.
Blue then became provider for the fifth Cray goal in the 57th minute with a pass forward which caught out the South Park defence and MacDonald latched onto the ball and into the area and from ten yards gently lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net.
Then Cray almost scored a great goal when Leader found Rhule down the left and his perfect cross was met by the head of MacDonald but Miles made a great save pushing the ball out and as Dent followed up his effort was blocked and cleared away.
South Park almost pulled a goal back when Mazzone set up McElligott whose shot was well held by Blue.
That was the last real threat from the visitors and Cray dominated the last quarter of the game. In the 67th minute Cray scored an excellent well worked sixth goal that must have included around 20 passes and ended with Scott putting Dent away down the right and his ball across to the far post was steered in by Junior Dadson who had only been on the field for four minutes.
Dadson then cut in from the left and hit a fine shot which Miles got down well to save. Then the keeper who had a very good game despite the scoreline turned Dadson’s effort behind from Zak Henry’s pass. Then from a free kick down the right, Dent’s cross was headed wide by Nelson.
Nine minutes from time, Cray scored a seventh goal which started again from Blue’s ball out which was flicked on by MacDonald to Dent who played in MacDonald who tucked the ball into the net impressively for his second.
MacDonald then set up Dent for a shot which Miles held before two minutes from time Cray scored an eighth goal when Dent found MacDonald inside who unselfishly laid the ball back to Scott who blasted home from eight yards to complete a very satisfying afternoon for Cray.
The Wands remain third on goal difference from Greenwich Borough and both have a nine point lead over Walton Casuals who are seventh in the table who lost at Thamesmead Town. Casuals have a game in hand over Cray but the two sides meet next Saturday but Cray have a vastly superior goal difference of +64.
This was a tremendous performance against a side that can make life very difficult for opponents but came up against a Wands side in top form. You could have made a claim for a number of players for being man of the match today, from Rhule especially in the first half, Scott, Farrell, Nelson and Leader amongst others but MacDonald was at times unplayable and a great finisher and creator of chances and got the verdict in the end..
With two more league matches still to play this still has the promise of being a great season even though the two automatic promotion places have now been filled and is likely to be highly dramatic.
Cray Massive Man of the Match – Charlie MacDonald
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams (Karl Dent, H/T), Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Michael Freiter (Zak Henry, 53), Kyron Farrell, Charlie MacDonald, Aaron Rhule (Junior Dadson, 63), Brandon Scott: Subs: Marcus Evans, Craig Holloway
South Park: Thomas Miles, Dean Lovegrove (Kieran Lavery, H/T), Jordan Bird (Isa Adebayo, 59), Luke Elliott, Dylan Merchant, Daniel Stone, James McElligott, Josh Gallagher, Jack Mazzone, Dan Moody, Ben Senior (Sam Renfry, 65): Subs: Chris Smith
Referee: Ryan Whitaker
Assistant Referees: Daniel Proctor, Harry Phillips