Cray Wanderers vs Kingstonian

Isthmian Premier – Saturday 24th February – Match Report

Cray Wanderers                          1

Cook 60


Photos to follow

Cray Wanderers made it seven league games unbeaten and moved nineteen points clear of the relegation places after victory against Kingstonian at Hayes Lane.  Anthony Cook’s sublime free kick and tenth goal of the season on the hour decided a lively contest which saw chances at both ends but Cray held out to move on to 42 points from 31 games.

Cray were looking to build on six games unbeaten which had steadily moved the Wands up the Isthmian Premier table to 13th and more importantly given a healthy buffer from the bottom four.  From the side which beat Canvey Island on Wednesday night there was one change to the starting lineup with Rhys Murrell-Williamson coming in for Josh Hallard.  Kingstonian who despite being bottom of the table on 17 points had shown character in the last couple of games picking up a win against Bognor Regis Town and drawn at Enfield Town on Tuesday night and there were two changes to that lineup with Rob Tolfrey in goal in place of Daniel Cruz Domenech and Richard Michaels in for the departed Mark Waters.

Cray began the game in confident fashion and after barely a minute Rhys Murrell-Williamson down the right cut into the area and his driven cross was cleared by Matt Drage with shouts for a possible penalty for handball but may have been harsh.

Then, in the 3rd minute, Murrell-Williamson against one of his former clubs cut inside from the right and curled a shot fractionally past the left post with Rob Tolfrey well beaten.

This was followed by a free kick out on the left from Frankie Raymond into the area was put behind by Drage for a corner.  From the corner down the right, Raymond’s ball to the near post was helped across by George Porter and cleared out to David Ijaha who fired a shot wide of the right post.  Shortly after a cross from the left came out to Anthony Cook who volleyed wide.

Cray continued to threaten in the early stages with Yahya Bamba making a run forward and Drage had to again put the ball behind for a corner.  Then, Sam Wood’s cross from the left was put out of play for a throw in by Sam German.  This was followed by Murrell-Williamson being found by Ijaha and his shot was deflected off Emmanuel Adebiyi for a corner.

From the corner the ball came to Raymond via Porter and his goal bound shot was spilled by Tolfrey but no-one could follow up and the ball was cleared.  

After a positive first half of the half, Kingstonian came more into the game and from a counter attack, Hani Berchiche down the right found Richard Michaels who shot wide of the left post.  Then a few minutes later, Raymond curled a shot in on goal which Tolfrey got down to save.

In the 28th minute Kingstonian came closest yet when Tom Collins fired in a shot which Shaun Rowley parried but following up Eddie Dsane couldn’t get a connection under pressure from the Wands keeper and went behind for a goal kick.  Five minutes later, Freddie Price down the left whipped over a superb cross which flashed across goal with caused Rowley some discomfort as he seemed to get clattered in the middle.

Then, Michaels let fly from outside the area with a shot which Rowley had to turn aside and certainly the K’s were having a positive spell and causing some problems.

However, three minutes before half time Cray were unlucky not to go ahead when Gary Lockyer set up Raymond whose shot was tipped onto the crossbar by Tolfrey who then headed the ball out and the ball came off Bamba and behind for a goal kick.

Then, David Ijaha flashed a shot wide of goal and Sam Wood down the left was unlucky to see a shot go past the right post as a very lively half that perhaps deserved a goal for both teams efforts.

HT:  0-0

The Wands looked to continue where they left off in the first half at the start of the second and early on after a swift move, Bamba and Ijaha combined to find Raymond who whipped over a cross-shot which made Tolfrey have to dive down to save.

Kingstonian though were playing well going forward and Freddie Price down the right set up Dsane whose shot was parried by Rowley but following up did superbly to turn the ball over the bar from Berniche from close range.

The K’s continued to press and were putting balls into the box and Dsane who was a threat up front fired in a shot from 20 yards which was well held by Rowley.  At the other, end Gary Lockyer shot well wide.

On the hour though, Cray, a little against the run of play, were awarded a free kick following a foul on Murrell-Williamson.  From the free kick to the right of the area and around 20 yards out, Anthony Cook expertly curled the ball round the wall and although Tolfrey got his hands to the shot the ball went in off the left post and into the net to reach double figures for the season.

Cray had a bit more possession after this and introduced young players Josh Hallard and George Brooke but Kingstonian were still in the game and another Dsane shot was held by Rowley from outside the area.

With twelve minutes to go, Kingstonian almost levelled when Dsane found space and his shot was pushed behind by Rowley for a corner.

Then, three minutes later, Lockyer fired well wide and then the imperious David Ijaha won the ball and made a run forward and his shot was well gathered by Tolfrey.  Tom Beere came on for Jack Holland for the final seven minutes and then Cook down the right put over a cross which was met by the head of Lockyer but was gathered by Tolfrey.

Three minutes from time, Berchiche cut inside from the right and curled a shot over the top for Kingstonian which turned out to be their last opening as Cray were able to see out the remaining minutes and as expected was going to be a tough game but claimed another three points to remain 13th and not only go nineteen points ahead of 19th placed Cheshunt but nine points off the final playoff place.  Kingstonian who stay bottom and are eight points off 18th placed Margate played their part in a fine match, very well refereed and played some neat passing football and Sam German on loan from Bromley at the back looks a fine prospect and gave hope to their supporters they could stage a great escape.

For Cray, this made it three straight league wins for the first time this season and with the exception of the Billericay game on 13th January have been harder to break down and are fifteen games unbeaten at home.  Cray, next head to Whitehawk on Tuesday night looking to continue the run and having the fine knack of picking up odd goal wins and are playing with confidence.

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Anthony Cook, Jack Holland (Tom Beere, 83), Tom Bonner, Sam Wood, David Ijaha, Frankie Raymond, Rhys Murrell-Williamson (Josh Hallard, 63), George Porter (George Brooke, 71), Yahya Bamba, Gary Lockyer: Subs: Ellis Brown, Alfie Evans

Booked: Bamba 90+2

Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Tom Unsworth (Zack Chislett, H/T), Jude Mason, Matt Drage, Sam German, Emmanuel Adebiyi, Freddie Price (Ta’Shae Andall-Gibbons, 71), Richard Michaels, Eddie Dsane, Tom Collins (Lion Bello, 71), Hani Berniche: Subs: Essa Janneh, Joshua Kirkham

Booked: Michaels 89

Referee: Craig Barnett

Assistants: Darren Kempson, Kennedy Kilkuwe


Att: 211