Carshalton Athletic vs Cray Wanderers 

Isthmian Premier – Saturday 3rd February – Match Report

Carshalton Athletic 1

Bell 89

Cray Wanderers 2

Brown 27, 59

Pics:  Ozay Booth

Cray Wanderers made it back to back league wins for the first time since November after a fine and resolute away performance against an in-form Carshalton Athletic side at Colston Avenue.  Two well taken goals in each half from Ellis Brown taking his tally for the season to seven helped Cray on the way to three points and held on after Joseph Bell headed Carshalton back in the game in the final minute.

The win moved Cray back up to 16th in the league table on 31 points and completed a league double over Carshalton for the second time in three seasons.

Cray were looking to build on last Saturday’s home win against Wingate & Finchley and Neil Smith named an unchanged side with Rhys Murrell-Williamson, returning to the Wands on the bench.  Carshalton had lost only one of the last nine games and in 7th place, three points off the playoffs and had won at Lewes on Tuesday night and there was one change with Mark Marshall coming in for Kweku Lucan.

The game began at a fairly sedate pace with Cray having the first shooting chance in the 3rd minute from a free kick to the left of the area from which Gary Lockyer fired over the top.

There weren’t too many chances in the first half but Cray came close when Yahya Bamba down the left broke close to the by line and hooked the ball past Aaron Jones into the six yard box for Gary Lockyer but the ball was cleared.  Carshalton who were the third leading scorers coming inot the game won three corners back to back but the defensive line of David Ijaha and Tom Bonner were outstanding and well helped by full backs Emmanuel Kwatchey and Sam Wood and kept Shaun Rowley well protected.

In the 27th minute the Wands went ahead when Joseph Bell’s pass back was latched onto by Ellis Brown who down the right of the area deftly placed a shot wide of Aaron Jones and into the net for a composed finish.

Carshalton looked to get back into the game and from a free kick just outside the box Mark Marshall drove a shot wide of the left post.

For Cray before half time, Lockyer fired another free kick over the bar and Yahya Bamba hit a shot from outside the area which Jones got his hands to and behind for a corner.

As the teams went off at half time there was an altercation in the tunnel which seemed a bit out of keeping of what had been a fairly straight forward first half.

HT:  0-1

The second half saw Cray continue on the front foot and almost scored a second when Alfie Evans saw a well struck shot pushed out by Jones.  Then from a free kick down the left, Frankie Raymond’s ball to the near post was steered wide by the impressive Lockyer.  This was followed by Raymond shooting over the top.

Carshalton had a bit more possession and looked to attack down the flanks but in the 59th minute Cray went two nil up when Rowley’s clearances was helped on by Lockyer and Brown got past the Carshalton back line to blast a shot into the top right hand corner for another finish taken with great aplomb.

Carshalton almost pulled a goal back straight away when down the left ex-Wand Dan Bassett who was well marshalled for most of the game found space inside the area but Rowley did well to block with his legs. Then down the left Tommy Bradford found Bradley Williams whose shot was blocked for a corner.

Cray continued to defend well although Carshalton came close when Oluwabunmi Babajide down the right flashed a ball across goal but no-one could apply a touch at the far post.

The Wands almost added a third when down the right, Evans and Lockyer combined to set up substitute Anthony Cook who shot wide of the right post.

In the last minute Carshalton pulled a goal back when from a corner down the left, Bradley Williams’ ball to the far post was headed in by Joseph Bell to set up a tense finish and prevent another clean sheet for Rowley.

Cray came close in stoppage time to scoring when Anthony Cook cut inside from the left to the right of the area and his shot was met by a fine one handed save by Jones.

In the end though Cray came through the final minutes well and overall deserved the victory and for the second straight Saturday defeated a team competing for the playoffs built on hard work, a strong team ethic, great defence and quality in the final third as shown by Brown’s two goals.  Carshalton are a good side and will win more games than lose for the rest of the season so this was an excellent win 

The Wands now have reached 31 points and have a nine point buffer from Cheshunt and Margate and next head to another form side in Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday 6th February but can do so with confidence and the defeat at Billericay Town now seems a distant memory.

Carshalton Athletic: Aaron Jones, Charlie Kennett, Joseph Bell, Luke Read, Lexus Beeden, Bradley Williams, Kwaku Frimpong, Mark Marshall (Kweku Lucan, 68), Danny Bassett, Ibrahim Olutade (Tommy Bradford, H/T), Oluwabunmi Babajide: Subs:  Matt Everitt, Sean O’Brien, Paris Hamilton-Downes

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Emmanuel Kwatchey, David Ijaha, Tom Bonner, Sam Wood, Alfie Evans, Tom Beere (Anthony Cook, 76), Frankie Raymond, Ellis Brown, Yahya Bamba, Gary Lockyer:  Subs:  Rhys Murrell-Williamson, Cameron Black, George Brooke, Charlie Paye:

Booked: Raymond 32, Cook 84

Referee:  Jordan McRitchie

Att: 480