Cray Wanderers vs Carshalton Athletic
Isthmian Premier – Saturday 11th November, 3 pm
Cray Wanderers 1
Luke Read own goal 15
Carshalton Athletic 0
Photos to follow
Cray Wanderers made it back to back league wins after a hard fought victory against Carshalton Athletic at Hayes Lane in a thoroughly entertaining game with Cray withstanding Carshalton pressure in the second half.
The decisive moment in the game came early with the only goal coming in the 15th minute when a Frankie Raymond corner was helped on by Alfie Evans towards Gary Lockyer but Luke Read, looking to clear, hooked the ball towards goal and in off the crossbar. Both goalkeepers made key saves during the second half but in particular Shaun Rowley who denied Dan Bassett and three times, Tom Beere to help preserve the three points and the second league clean sheet of the season. Despite the win, Cray remained 17th in the league table but moved on to 16 points.
On a bright afternoon which began mild but ended extremely chilly this is always an exciting fixture with both teams coming into it with confidence after 3-1 league wins last weekend. The Wands had won in midweek in the London Senior Cup but from the side which won at Wingate & Finchley last Saturday, into the team came Emmanuel Kwartchey in place of Anthony Cook and that was the only change with Cameron Black completing the second of his two game suspension. Carshalton Athletic came into the match in 5th place and Peter Adeniyi named an unchanged side to the one which beat Folkestone Invicta last Saturday.
After an impeccably observed period of silence for Remembrance Weekend, Cray began purposefully winning a couple of early corners in the first ten minutes but Carshalton dominated possession without really causing too many alarms.
The Wands looked to have a bit more cutting edge and Gary Lockyer began the match impressively and came close to scoring when from a ball in from the right his overhead kick had to be pushed past the left post by Will Huffer.
This led to the game’s only goal as from the corner down the left by Frankie Raymond, Alfie Evans helped the ball across and Luke Read ahead of Lockyer turned the ball against the bar and into the net.
The Robins continued to press and Bradley Williams shot down the right and was charged down by Jack Holland. Then in the 25th minute, Matt Everitt cut inside from the right and curled a shot towards goal which hit the top of the crossbar.
The game began to get competitive around the half hour mark and there were four bookings in the first half although not an overly physical game, just full of honest graft and endeavour.
In the 33rd minute, the impressive Lockyer almost scored a second goal when he found space and lifted a shot fractionally over the crossbar.
The Wands defence had been superb in the first half and soaked up the Robins pressure but just before half time, ex-Wand cut to the right byline and his ball across for Bunmi Babajide was put behind by Holland. From the corner the ball eventually came to Tommy Bradford who set up Everitt for a shot that was well held by Rowley.
The second half began with Carshalton pretty much on top with possession aside from a Yahya Bamba shot blocked but the Wands back line were impressive with Holland and David Ijaha getting in blocks and winning headers and in the midfield, Ellis Brown, Alfie Evans, Frankie Raymond and Nyren Clunis put in incredible shifts and covered every inch of the Hayes Lane carpet.
Just after the hour, Carshalton began to create more openings and Bassett set up substitute Tom Beere for a shot that was blocked by David Ijaha, possibly in the face with Carshalton claims for a penalty turned down.
Then Beere broke into the area and his effort was blocked and came to Bassett who fired over the top.
In the 69th minute, Beere put Bassett in down the right of the area but Rowley made a fine sprawling save to tur n the ball aside well. Then Babajide down the left set up another ex-Wand, Andre Coker who shot over from a good position inside the area.
Chances for Cray were few and far between in the second half but in the 72nd minute had an opportunity to put daylight between the teams when Brown played a great pass over to Bamba down the left who from just inside the area saw his attempted shot blocked by a brave save from Huffer but the ball ran loose and Lockyer set up Bamba for a shot that came back off the right post.
After this, it was pretty incessant Robins pressure. Firstly, Beere hit a shot from 25 yards that Rowley did well to push behind as swerving viciously. Then a combination of Babajide and Coker down the left looked to set up Bassett but found the side net.
Then, Bassett down the right of the area set up Beere again who was once again denied by a fine stop from Rowley, perhaps his best of the night pushing the ball out. Then Bassett fired narrowly wide of the left post.
Still, Carshalton poured forward and with three minutes to go, Bradford put Beere in down the left of the area and again Rowley made a sprawling save to claw the ball away.
Cray battled hard all afternoon and with six minutes additional time added on were able to withstand any more pressure and picked up a huge win with a terrific team performance and certainly were tested to the limit.
Often in a long, hard season picking up points in games like these are hugely satisfying as Cray had to show resolution and tenacity against a top 5 side that will pick up a lot of points and play some superb passing football.
There were many fine Wands performers and was a complete team display and will now hope to keep producing similar performances to continue to rack up points and move away from the bottom four.
Cray are next in action on Saturday in the FA Trophy at Weston-super-Mare before a double header of home games vs Dulwich Hamlet and Whitehawk to end November.
Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Emmanuel Kwartchey, David Ijaha, Jack Holland, Jamie Mascoll, Alfie Evans (Anthony Cook, 70), Frankie Raymond, Ellis Brown, Nyren Clunis, Yahya Bamba, Gary Lockyer (Sam Wood, 88): Subs: Alex MacAllister, Antonio Dembele, Nathan Binnie
Booked: Evans 28, Ijaha 29, Raymond 39, Rowley 71, Kwartchey 81
Carshalton Athletic: Will Huffer, Bradley Williams, Lexus Beeden, Abdul Sankoh (Tom Beere, 30), Matt Everitt (Sean O’Brien, 79), Luke Read, Kwaku Frimpong (Andre Coker, 53), Tommy Bradford, Mark Marshall, Danny Bassett, Bunmi Babajide: Subs: Jerry Puemo, Paris Hamilton-Downes
Booked: Sankoh 22, Coker 59, Williams 74
Referee: Kane Dempster
Assistants: Mohammed Uddin, Abdul Olol