Pre-Season Friendly – 27/7/18
Chatham Town 1 (Vines 81)
Cray Wanderers 2 (Phipp 18, Dadson 90)
Cray Wanderers produced perhaps their best performance of pre-season with a 2-1 win at Chatham Town. Chatham were unbeaten in their five pre-season games but Cray dominated the first half taking the lead with Tom Phipp’s classy header and then coming close to adding to their lead on a number of occasions. The home side levelled nine minutes from the end with ex-Wands forward Paul Vines scoring a well taken strike but Cray won the game with a goal on the stroke of full time scored by Junior Dadson.
The long heatwave was interrupted in the hours before kick off with a burst of thunder and showers which made the very impressive playing surface perfect for a good game of football. Chatham looked confident to begin with but Cray created the first chance of the game when Aaron Rhule down the left who was in superb form throughout the half played a ball across to Karl Dent who in turn laid the ball off to Michael Power who stabbed his shot wide of goal. Then Marcus Evans shot deflected behind off Tom Phipp.
A goal looked likely for Cray and came in the 18th minute when a trialist playing at left back put over a pinpoint cross into the heart of the penalty area when Tom Phipp rose to deftly place a header into the bottom left corner of the net.
Cray then proceeded to dominate the rest of the half with Junior Dadson coming close with a left wing cross-shot which the keeper got a slight touch to and the ball went behind for a corner. This was followed by another Rhule cross into Power but his effort was blocked by the keeper.
The Wands continued to attack well whilst looking secure at the back and Sean Roberts found Rhule again down the left but his shot was pushed out well by the busy home keeper. Then Dent’s right wing cross was glanced wide by the impressive Mitchell Nelson.
Finally before half time Rhule who did pick up a slight knock was unlucky with a snap volley which the keeper did well to make a fine one handed save pushing the ball over the bar. Then Dent saw an effort blocked and Power shot into the side netting. Then Dadson came close with a shot from Rhule’s pass which the keeper got a hand to but a defender had to clear almost off the goal-line.
Cray meanwhile had kept Nick Blue relatively quiet and Cray deserved to be ahead at the break.
Half Time: 0-1
The second half was rather less flamboyant in terms of attacking from Cray as Rhule went off but Cray looked composed and still looking to play good football. The first chance of the second half came to Cray with Dent’s corner finding Dadson but he volleyed over the top. Then a decent passing move ended with Roberts finding Dent who fired wide of goal.
Chatham forced a couple of corners and came into the game more after the hour mark but never really threatened until the last quarter of an hour when the game came alive once again.
Firstly, from a free kick out on the right, a great ball in from the no 8 was glanced only fractionally wide of the left post by the no 6 and was a real let off for Cray.
With nine minutes to go, Chatham levelled with a fine piece of finishing from Paul Vines who had a good blood and thunder battle with Marcus Evans. The no 11 worked his way down the right, rode a couple of challenges and found Vines down the right of the area who turned past Evans and with a crisp finish fired into the bottom left corner of the net.
This seemed to rouse Cray up again and almost went back in front when Dent saw an effort blocked by a combination of defender and goalkeeper.
Cray were very unlucky not to score when Power was played through down the right of the area and his well struck shot came back off the underside of the crossbar.
It looked like a draw would be the final outcome but with the game entering the 90th minute, Cray grabbed a winner. Freddie Parker who held the ball up so well when he came up found Dent who played a ball into Dadson, who turned a defender, made space for himself and from 12 yards fired under the keeper to win the game deservedly for Cray.
This was a very good performance from Cray this evening despite one or two enforced changes during the game but after a couple of games on rather indifferent playing surfaces, the zippy, sleek and green pitch suited Cray’s game and was a very enjoyable way to spend a Friday night.
Cray now go into their final two pre-season matches against Bostik League sides, at Canvey Island on Tuesday and then wrapping up at Chipstead next Saturday.
Team: Nick Blue, Barney Williams (Trialist 2), Marcus Evans, Mitchell Nelson, Trialist (Joe Vines), Sean Roberts (Freddie Parker), Tom Phipp, Karl Dent, Junior Dadson, Aaron Rhule (Bradley Pritchard), Michael Power