BetVictor Isthmian Premier – Saturday 17th August, 2019
Cray Wanderers 0
Corinthian Casuals 0
All Photos: Kindly provided by Jon Hilliger
Cray Wanderers still seek their first league win of the 2019-20 season following a goalless draw against Corinthian Casuals at Hayes Lane. Both sides had made slow starts to the season and despite plenty of endeavour there were few chances in a rather tense game although Cray had a good spell in the last ten minutes and could have won the match with Bradley Pritchard, Charlie Allen and Tom Murphy going close.
Cray began the game with one point from their opening two games after the agonising late defeat to Folkestone Invicta on Wednesday night. Corinthian Casuals had lost both their opening games by 1-0 at Haringey Borough and at home to Merstham on Tuesday night so were awaiting their first goal of the season.
For Tony Russell’s side there was one change to the starting lineup with Aaron Rhule starting in place of the injured Andre Coker.
On a thankfully, dry and sunny day compared to the unseasonal weather to start the season, the game had the look of maybe one goal was going to win the match with both sides perhaps a little lacking of confidence and the match took a good fifteen minutes to really get going with Corinthian Casuals perhaps shading the early exchanges but there were no chances to speak of.
There was an early blow for Cray when Tom Phipp went down with possibly a hamstring injury while shepherding a ball behind for a goalkick and was replaced after just 10 minutes by Charles Etumnu who fitted in at the back alongside Mitchell Nelson.
The first burst of excitement took place in the 20th minute, when Jerome Federico did well down the right to cut to the byline and lay the ball into the area to Freddie Parker who drilled a low shot which was saved by the legs of keeper Dan Bracken making his 400th appearance in goal for Corinthian Casuals.
This led to a bit more excitement and Casuals threatened with Kevat Serbonij firing a shot wide of the left post from 25 yards. Then at the other end a ball was worked from midfield up to Joe Taylor who held the ball up superbly and looked to cut inside and curled a shot over the crossbar.
On 29 minutes, Corinthian Casuals had the ball in the back of the net when Serbonij found Hamilton Antonio down the right and his ball across was tapped in by Oliver Sitch but the flag was raised for offside and the goal was ruled out.
Cray looked to get things going and Taylor saw a shot blocked on the edge of the area while at the other end, the lively Serbonij was unlucky to see a curling shot fly just over the top while perhaps looking to see Lewis Carey off his line.
Then Corinthian Casuals were awarded a free kick some 30 yards from goal and from the free kick, Coskum Ekim’s shot went straight into the arms of Carey.
Cray came close when Barney Williams found Federico down the right and his ball found Pritchard who swept the ball across and Aaron Rhule just couldn’t apply a touch.
There were a couple of near things before the break with good work down the left for Cray involving the impressive Lee Lewis who found Parker who slipped a ball through to Taylor who from just inside the area fired a shot wide of the right post.
This was followed by Corinthian Casuals going close when Antonio played a ball down the left through to Michael Dixon who from inside the area drove a shot towards the near post and the ball was parried behind by Carey for a corner.
At the end of a fairly edgy first half there were no goals and plenty to play for after the break.
Half Time: 0-0
The second half saw both looking sides looking to get forward to get the goal that would most likely win the game but the final ball was lacking and the game went through something of a lull in terms of chances in the first half hour of the second half.
Cray, were awarded a free kick twenty five yards from goal following a foul on Federico and Parker’s shot was deflected behind for a corner. Then the excellent Tom Carlse and Pritchard combined to play in Taylor down the left and found Federico who drove a shot across goal and behind.
Just after the hour, Cray won a corner down the right and Parker’s cross was met at the far post by the imperious Mitchell Nelson and his ball into the box was headed away by Jack Strange. Then the ball came to Lee Lewis who fired a shot well wide.
Corinthian Casuals had a fair amount of the ball but their final pass was letting them down and Carey didn’t really have a great deal to do in the second half.
The second half was looking like it was going to drift towards an inevitable draw until the last 12 minutes when the game picked up momentum with Cray having a great late spell of pressure. Firstly, Pritchard, Tom Murphy and Taylor combined to set up Federico who found space but from 20 yards fired a shot wide.
Then perhaps the best chance of the game when Taylor down the right played in Charlie Allen who whipped over a fine cross into the area where Bradley Pritchard from 7 yards met the ball with a diving header but the ball went straight to the grateful Bracken.
Cray then won a corner down the right and Lewis’s ball into the box was headed out to Murphy who met the ball on the volley from 20 yards which went fractionally wide of the right post. Shortly after from a free kick, Murphy curled a shot over the crossbar.
The Wands came fractionally close to winning the game in stoppage time when down the left, Carlse found Murphy who sent over a fine cross into the box where Allen got to the ball just in front of a defender and steered his shot just wide of the right post and it looked like it wasn’t going to be Cray’s day.
In the end despite a late corner at the other end, Cray just couldn’t get the breakthrough to win the game and the match finished in a 0-0 draw which gives the Wands two points from their opening three matches. Perhaps, the team are just not getting the rub of the green in front of goal right now and injuries to Jay Leader, Andre Coker and now Tom Phipp are also unfortunate at this early stage of the season.
Certainly not a classic by any means but there were some good performances from Cray players particularly Nelson at the back, Charles Etumnu did well coming into the game so early and Carlse, Williams and Lewis had fine games too.
The Wands though are back in action on Wednesday night with the brought forward league game against Margate at Hayes Lane so the games are coming thick and fast at the moment and another dramatic evening is in store.
Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Barney Williams (Capt.), Tom Carlse, Mitchell Nelson, Tom Phipp (Charles Etumnu, 10), Lee Lewis, Bradley Pritchard, Jerome Federico, Aaron Rhule (Tom Murphy, 69), Freddie Parker (Charlie Allen, 74), Joe Taylor: Subs: Karl Dent, Joe Vines
Corinthian Casuals: Dan Bracken, Juevan Spencer, Hakeem Adelakun (Mu Maan, 71), Andrew Mills, Jack Strange, Coskum Ekim, Mathias Bakare (Maxwell Oldham, 65), Hamilton Antonio, Michael Dixon, Oliver Sitch (Reyon Dillon, 72), Kevat Serbonij: Subs: Josh Uzun, Jack Tucker
Referee: Kane Dempster
Assistants: Jak Hill, Billy Wood