Cray Wanderers vs Hastings United

Isthmian Premier – Monday 1st January, 2024 – Match Report

Cray Wanderers                                      0

Hastings United                                      0

Photos:  Ben Keayes

Cray Wanderers picked up another point over the Christmas/New Year season against a promotion contender after a goalless draw against Hastings United at Hayes Lane.  The draw saw Cray move up to 15th in the Isthmian Premier League table and a third clean sheet in a row for the first time since 2011.

The game was something of a war of attrition with the third game over the festive period and there were few goal scoring chances and in the end both defences were on top with Cray worthy of a point.

Cray were looking to build on the 2-0 win against Enfield Town on Friday night and from the side which began the game, into the side came Anthony Cook for the injured Jack Holland.  Cray were 16th at the start of play on 23 points,

This was the third successive home game after the August Bank Holiday game between the sides was switched to Hastings and the visitors were playing their third successive away game and were 7th in the table on 35 points.

Hastings began the game in a confident mood and created perhaps the best chance of the match in the 2nd minute when John Ufuah’s cross from the left swung to the far post and was headed wide from eight yards by Tommie Fagg.

Five minutes later, David Rodari who has scored seven in the last three games saw a shot from the edge of the area deflect off Cameron Black and over for a corner.  From the right wing corner from Jack Bates into the area Fagg turned the ball wide of the left post.

The game then evened up for a while after and Cray came close following a free kick down the left from Frankie Raymond towards the far post and David Ijaha who had another superb match at the back headed over.

Chances were few and far between after as two well drilled defences came out to play.  For Hastings following a free kick out on the right from Bates was glanced off target by Rodari. Then a throw in to the box from Ollie Black was cleared out to Ufuah who shot over the top.

For Cray another Raymond free kick came to Ijaha which was charged down then the Wands had a little flurry before half time from Emmanuel Kwatchey crosses into the box and had a half chance when Cameron Black’s ball into the area was held up Tayo Olyebola and came to Gary Lockyer who shot wide but the flag was raised for offside.

In stoppage time Hastings felt they had a shout for a penalty when Jack Dixon went down in the area but the referee who had a good view of the incident waived away the claims.

HT:  0-0

For Cray at the start of the second half, Alfie Evans came on for Sam Wood and looked to get on the front foot and a Raymond free kick from the right to the far post found Lockyer but couldn’t get a firm connection and went behind.

Hastings then had a concerted spell of pressure from throw in’s and a couple of corners and Bates drove a shot across goal and behind.

Then Rodari made a run down the left and into the area and pulled over a ball into the box for Fagg whose effort was blocked by the Wands defence.

For Cray, Jamie Mascoll’s ball in the box for Anthony Cook was put behind for a corner and then at the other end Bates saw an effort blocked by Lockyer and then a Ollie Black cross was put behind for a corner.

The match seemed to drifting towards a draw but Cray began to exert pressure in the last fifteen minutes and Anthony Cook came close with a shot just past the left post.

Then Kwatchey’s ball found Ijaha who set up substitute George Porter for a shot which went over.  This was followed by Alfie Evans finding space and his shot from outside the area was well held by ex-Wand Charlie Grainger.

In the 83rd minute, a Lockyer flick set up Mascoll for another shot from distance which went wide but Hastings applied pressure in the last few minutes.

Firstly, Dixon saw a shot blocked and then a throw-in from Ollie Black into the box for Fagg saw a curled effort to the left post deflected behind for a corner.

Then in the third minute of four added on minutes, Fagg’s ball from the right to the far post came to Rodari but Shaun Rowley pushed the ball behind for a corner.

In the end the game finished in a draw and although not a classic was a competitive and compelling game at times but overall both defences were excellent and there weren’t too many goal scoring chances or shots on goal at either end.

Once again David Ijaha and Cameron Black were excellent at the back. Shaun Rowley made it three successive clean sheets and his handling and composure under pressure was excellent. It was a good, solid team effort against a Hastings side that will surely have a say in who goes up this season and the Wands picked up five points from the festive home games despite not being at full strength.

The point moved Cray up to 15th on 24 points and play the fourth straight home game on Saturday against in-form Lewes before embarking on four away games in a row going into January.  

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Emmanuel Kwatchey, David Ijaha, Cameron Black, Jamie Mascoll, Anthony Cook, Frankie Raymond, Ellis Brown (George Brooke, 89), Sam Wood (Alfie Evans, H/T), Tayo Oyelabe (George Porter, 74), Gary Lockyer:  Subs:  Cameron Thompson, Antonio Dembele

Booked: Kwatchey 52, Cook 69

Hastings United: Charlie Grainger, Sam Okoye, Tommy Penfold, Sam Gale, Ollie Black, Adam Lovatt, Jack Dixon, Jack Bates (Kian Moynes, 74), Tommie Fagg, Davide Rodari, John Ufuah (Freddie Legg, 66):  Subs:  JJ Walker, Will Harley, Daniel Hull

Booked: Lovatt 16, Dixon 45, Black 59, Legg 70, Gale 75

Referee: Tommy Breen

Assistants: Thomas Nicholls, Abdul Olol


Att: 311