Cray Wanderers vs. Ramsgate – Bostik League South-East –Sunday 25th November, 2018
Cray Wanderers 0
Photos kindly provided by Jon Hilliger
Cray Wanderers kept their unbeaten start to the season intact but had to settle for a point following a goalless draw against Ramsgate at Hayes Lane. The point moved Cray ten points clear at the top of the table but had to do so with ten men from the 37th minute after Tom Phipp was sent off.
After fourteen games Cray are still to taste defeat and is their best start from the start of a season since 1957-58. There weren’t a great deal of good chances in the game but Bradley Pritchard was denied by a top drawer save from Luke Watkins and Cray were generally on top but Phipp’s dismissal for a foul on Jack Penny before half time changed the dynamic of the game. Ramsgate had a couple of opportunities second half and Aaron Milbank had the ball in the net but was disallowed for offside while Ben Mundele, Junior Dadson and Jay Leader came close late on to a winner.
There was one change to the side with fought hard to win in Guernsey last weekend with Archie Johnson coming in for Junior Dadson with Ben Mundele playing more forward. Ramsgate were unbeaten in seven league games and were going to be tough to break down.
Cray started the game in very spritely fashion and sought an early advantage and down the right Barney Williams cross to the far post was nodded across by Bradley Pritchard which was missed by Wilberforce Ocran with his back to goal and the ball was cleared out to Pritchard who fired wide of goal.
Then from a corner down the left, Sean Roberts ball into the box met the head of Jay Leader and his header was cleared away by George Crimmen.
In the 13th minute came the best early opportunity when after a throw in down the left the ball came to Mundele who played the ball across which was met by Pritchard whose well struck shot from 12 yards produced a superb stop by Luke Watkins pushing the ball one handed over the bar for a corner. From the corner, Mitchell Nelson headed wide of the left post.
Then just after the quarter hour mark Johnson’s fine pass found Ocran down the left and his cross was deflected into the path of Pritchard who curled a shot wide of the left post from ten yards.
Ramsgate saw little of the ball early on but gradually weathered the storm and Oliver Gray hit a speculative shot wide from distance.
Their first real chance came with the award of a free kick 20 yards from goal and from a clever routine, Jack Penny set up Tom Chapman for a shot which went under the wall and was claimed by Nick Blue.
A ball played in from Williams towards Ocran in the area was blocked but the flag was raised for an offside. Then Ramsgate had a decent opportunity when Chapman played the ball out to Millbank down the right and his cross shot was gathered by Blue.
The game then went through a bit of a lull until the 35th minute when Mundele’s cross was pushed away by Watkins and from the right Federico’s ball into the box towards Ocran was headed out by Jacob Mensah to Mundele who off balance pulled a shot wide of the left post.
In the 37th minute Cray were reduced to ten men when just shy of 40 yards from the Cray goal Tom Phipp went in with a challenge and caught Penny slightly late and was shown the red card.
Before half time Millbank shot wide for Ramsgate from 12 yards while Cray substitute Freddie Parker just couldn’t connect with a Federico right wing cross.
Then three minutes into added on time Federico set up Mundele with the best chance of the half and from the edge of the area fired just over the crossbar.
Half Time: 0-0
The second half began more quieter than the first although Ramsgate carved out an early opening with Crimmen’s ball into the area finding Charlie Dickens whose near post shot was saved but a foul was spotted in the build up.
Cray probed for an opening but Ramsgate were defending well and there were few alarms early in the half with Nelson hitting a shot wide. This was followed by a Barney Williams right wing cross finding the head of Parker but couldn’t divert the ball on target.
Mundele was having a fine game down the left and set himself up with a chance when he cut inside and his first effort was blocked by Jake Mackenzie and following up drove a shot wide of the left post. Then Cray thought they should have been awarded a free kick just outside the area when Parker found Pritchard who looked to have been pushed over by Mackenzie but no foul was given.
For Ramsgate, Penny down the right curled in a shot into the arms of Blue as they sought to make their man advantage tell. Then the Rams had the ball in the net when after a decent passing move, Chapman inside the area rather than shoot, played the ball across to Millbank who scored but the flag was raised for offside.
Then MacKenzie set up Millbank who drove in a right wing cross-shot which was deflected behind for a corner. Ramsgate continued to press and from a left wing corner, from Penny the ball came to Rory Smith which was blocked inside the area. Then a fine ball from Millbank found Smith who shot just over the top.
As the game entered the last ten minutes Cray had a good spell looking to claim a winner and Mundele did well to keep the ball in play down the left and cut to the edge of the area and put a fine ball into the area which just needed a touch to divert into the net but whistled across goal and behind.
Cray were unlucky not to score when Karl Dent found Junior Dadson down the right, took on a couple of defenders and from just inside the penalty area saw a shot saved by the feet of Watkins.
For Ramsgate, Smith shot wide from 25 yards but the last opportunity of the game came to Cray when after Mundele won a corner down the left, Dent’s cross to the far post found Jay Leader who on the volley grazed the top of the crossbar and over the top.
Cray had played well enough and certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game and Ramsgate had battled well and would have been very happy to take a point from the game. With the sides below Cray in the league table drawing on Saturday the Wands maintain a ten point lead at the top although Hastings have a couple of games in hand.
Cray have a mini break next Saturday due to the Thamesmead Town game no longer taking place so have a chance to recharge before taking on Phoenix Sports at Hayes Lane on 8th December. To go into December unbeaten is no mean feat and Cray can look back on a satisfactory first four months of the season.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Barney Williams, Archie Johnson (Karl Dent, H/T), Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Tom Phipp, Sean Roberts, Bradley Pritchard, Wilberforce Ocran (Freddie Parker, 40), Ben Mundele, Jerome Federico (Junior Dadson, 74): Subs: Malik Solebo, Zak Henry
Sent Off: Phipp 37
Ramsgate: Luke Watkins, Jake Mackenzie, George Crimmen, Jacob Mensah, Luke Wheatley, Oliver Gray, Tom Chapman, Charlie Dickens (Tijan Adama, 73), Aaron Millbank, Rory Smith, Jack Penny: Subs: Connor Sanders, Niall Salisbury, Wesley Hennessey, Matt Bone
Booked: Dickens, Crimmen
Referee: Alexander Emery
Assistants: Samuel Ingrey, David Joseph