Cray Wanderers vs Canvey Island – Isthmian Premier – Saturday 20th August, 2022

 Match Report

Cray Wanderers                      1

Billy Crook 90+2

Canvey Island                         0

Cray Wanderers notched their first three points of the season as substitute Billy Crook made an impact off the bench to glance home a Dan Bassett cross in the second minute of injury time to beat Canvey Island.

The game seemed set fair to finish goalless but after seven minutes of added on time, Crook who came on in the 82nd minute got on the end of the cross to steer the ball home from six yards.

Cray had begun the season well but had only a point to show from the first two games against new league leaders Bognor Regis on Wednesday night and over the game just had the better chances against a hard working Canvey Island side.

The performance against Bognor was such that Neil Smith didn’t feel the need to change the starting lineup although new Bromley loanee Ben Krauhaus was on the bench.

Canvey had won at Brightlingsea, impressively on Tuesday night and Brad Wellmen’s side were also unchanged so both managers were pleased with early season form.

Although not up to last Saturday’s scorching standards it was still very warm for the players out on the pitch and the game was played at a sedate pace with spurts of quality football from time to time and it was an intriguing contest at Hayes Lane.

The opening exchanges were a little cagey but Cray created the first real moment of excitement in the 6th minute when the excellent Mitch Chapman from 25 yards hit a shot which hit the top of the crossbar,

Shortly after, Tom Derry saw a shot from outside the area blocked in the area but despite appeals there was no call for a penalty from the officials.

In the 21st minute, Cray threatened with a corner down the left and Cook’s ball into the area was headed over by Chapman.

Canvey had their first real shooting chnce four minutes later when Evans Kouassi fired wide of the left post.

Cray though had a very good ten minute spell after that and down the right, Michael Ademiluyi put over a great cross which was diverted away well by the head of Reiss Chandler before  Nyren Clunis could score.  Bassett fired over from a free kick and then, Cook and Chapman combined to set up Sam Skeffington whose goalbound effort was well saved by Rhys Byrne, pushing the ball away.

Canvey Island though came into the game more before half time and came close when Danny Parish played a ball through to Kouassi who down the left turned into the box and at the second attempt saw a shot blocked well by Shaun Rowley.  Then Rob Girdlestone saw an effort deflected behind for a corner and from the right wing kick the ball came to Girdelstone whose shot was cleared off the line and out to ex-Wand Luca Albon who fired over.

H/T:  0-0

The second half began lively and Clunis down the right found Adeiliuyi who fired overf from distance.

The match went into a little lull and Canvey looked to score through Kouassi whose shot was deflected hehind for a corner.

Just after the hour Canvey had the ball in the net through Kouassi after being put being played through by Parish but the flag was raised for offside.

Then, Kouassi down the right put in a ball to the near post which deflected away by Alex Bentley who took a blow to the nose and there was a lengthy stoppage for treatment.

For Cray, Clunis hit a shot from distance which was held by Byrne and Derry hit a half volley wide before substitutes Ben Krauhaus and Gary Lockyer were introduced in the last twenty minutes.

There was a good chance for Canvey when Kouassi down the right laid the ball to the far post where Albon connected with a shot but was diverted behind for a corner.

Billy Crook was brought on in the 82nd minute and shortly after Cray were unlucky not to score when Krauhaus and Cook combined to set up Basset whose effort was superbly saved by Byrne tipping the ball over for a corner.

The game went into seven minutes of added on time and in the second minute Cray took the lead when the ball was worked out to Bassett down the left and his ball across was met by a diving Crook who from six yards diverted the ball into the net to break the deadlock.

Canvey put on a bit of pressure for the remaining minutes but couldn’t get a goal to respond and Cray held on for the win and the first three points and a clean sheet.  It took until January last season for Cray to claim the only clean sheet of the season so the Wands are looking more solid in the early weeks of the campaign.

The win moved Cray up to 11th in the table and there were some fine performances especially from Jalen Jones, Mitch Chapman, Harold Joseph, Shaun Rowley amongst others and had to work hard to break down a resolute Canvey side with Jamie Salmon outstanding for the Gulls at the back.

Cray now head to the Bank Holiday weekend double header starting with a trip Bishop’s Stortford on Friday evening followed by a Kent derby vs Margate on Bank Holiday fMonday at Hayes Lane.

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Alex Bentley, Harold Joseph, Jalen Jones, Anthony Cook, Mitch Chapman, Sam Skeffington (Billy Crook, 82), Michael Ademiluyi (Ben Krauhaus, 72), Danny Bassett, Nyren Clunis, Tom Derry (Gary Lockyer, 76): Subs: Jacob Munting, Sinn’kaye Christie

Canvey Island: Rhys Byrne, Reiss Chandler, Callum Sturgess, Jamie Salmon, Mason Hall, Rob Girdlestone, Danny Parish (Bradley Sach, 71),  Conor Hubble, Luca Albon (Michael Finneran, 90+3), Elliott Ronto (Toby Tinubu, 72), Evans Kouassi: Subs: Odei Martin-Sorondo

Booked: Sturgess, Parish

Attendance:  242

Referee: Graham Swanton

Assistants: Dan Johnston, Joshua Howard