Cray Wanderers vs Folkestone Invicta – Match Report
Isthmian Premier – Wednesday 24th November, 2021
Cray Wanderers 2
Cook 14, Reason 52
Folkestone Invicta 2
Wright 2 mins, Davies 89
Cray Wanderers ended a three game losing run in the Isthmian Premier with a merited point against a strong Folkestone Invicta side in a superb contest with Invicta levelling with an 89th minute goal from centre-half Callum Davies.
After a tough opening where Jordan Wright stroked Folkestone in front in the 2nd minute, Cray fought their way back into the game and levelled on 14 minutes with a superb 30 yard strike from Anthony Cook. The match went from end to end and Cray went in front in the 52nd minute when Jai Reason scored his first goal for the club when he got on the end of a Jamie Yila cross. Both teams had chances to score but it was Invicta who had the final say when Scott Heard’s left wing corner towards the far post was turned in by Davies.
Cray were unfortunate to lose at Kingstonian last Saturday and from the side which started that game there were a couple of changes with Kasim Aidoo in for Tom Hanfrey and loanee signing Sam Skeffington coming in for the injured Andy Drury. Folkestone who started the season well were 5th coming into the game and were beaten 0-3 at Lewes on Saturday. There were two changes to their starting lineup with Jordan Wright in for Ronnie Dolan and Ian Draycott for Adam Yusuff.
On a chilly evening the game started at a brisk pace and Folkestone started off as though they meant serious business and struck first after 70 seconds of the game. Good work through the midfield saw Scott Heard play the ball through to top scorer David Smith in the box and Jack Turner did well to smother the ball but following up Jordan Wright stroked home from the left of the penalty area.
Invicta were very sharp out of the blocks and the lively Alfie Paxman down the left saw a shot blocked and Smith down the right of the area saw his shot held by Turner.
Cray were finding it hard early on to get any kind of possession of the ball but in the 14th minute out of nothing drew level when Skeffington picked the ball and made a run into the Invicta half and laid pass to Anthony Cook in a central position and from 30 yards hit an unstoppable shot which crashed into the top left corner past keeper Tim Roberts.
From here Cray had a bit more of the play but Folkestone were very sharp on the counter attack and on 22 minutes almost restored their lead when Paxman who was sweeping forward almost like a full back down the left and saw his shot well pushed out by Turner and came out to Ian Draycott who shot wide of the left post. Then a free kick out on the left form Heard was floated to the right of the area and Josh Vincent’s flicked header was claimed by Turner.
In the 33rd minute, Folkestone came close again when Wright and Heard combined down the right and his ball across to the far post was steered across the goal and wide by Smith. Then Vincent down the right set up Wright whose shot on the volley went well wide.
Before half time there were opportunities for both teams. Cray were awarded a free kick 30 yards from goal and Adam Coombes fired in a shot which went wide of the left post. Then down the right Kieron McCann was denied by a superb save when his half volley to the near post was pushed over the top by Turner. Folkestone’s passing and movement was bewildering at times but Cray were holding their own and was all square at the break.
There was a change at half time as Adam Coombes was feeling unwell and Cameron Brodie came on to add legs and bite to the midfield.
Cray started the second half the way Folkestone began the first on the front foot and Skeffington saw an early shot on the edge of the area blocked. Then a ball forward from Richie Danquah into the box down the left sought out Chris Dickson who got to the ball ahead of Roberts but the ball drifted wide.
Then Jai Reason played the ball out to Cook down the right who controlled the ball and strode forward and curled a shot which fizzed just past the left post.
A minute later, in the 52nd minute Cray were in front when the ball was worked down the left and Jamie Yila showed good pace and precision to play the ball across to Reason who from 8 yards showed composure to slot the ball wide of Roberts and into the net.
Three minutes later it could have been 3-1 and a different complexion on the game when the impressive Skeffington and Yila combined down the left to set up Dickson who fired over from 12 yards.
Folkestone though are a canny, resilient side and were never out of the game and almost levelled when Paxman down the left played a great ball across to the far post where Wright turned the ball over from close range. As the half went on, Folkestone were just looking to get a second wind and from a corner from Heard the ball came to Vincent who shot over.
Cray had a chance to increase their lead when again they probed down the left as Dickson and Reason combined to set up Jack Hanson who came on for Cook and perhaps came across quickly and shot over the bar.
The last ten minutes were something of a siege to the Wands goal from Folkestone and a right wing cross to the far post found McCann who shot into the side netting.
Then in the 87th minute Cray were indebted again to the goalkeeping of Turner who did superbly to push behind a near post shot down the left from McCann from Paxman’s pass.
In the 89th minute, Folkestone’s late pressure told as a Heard corner down the left was hard to defend against as it was swung to the far post and centre-half Callum Davies got to the ball first to knock the ball in from 5 yards for a rare goal.
The drama wasn’t over as Invicta sought a winner and almost did so when Ollie Freeman found space down the right of the area and shot over. Then Paxman set up Heard for a shot from 25 yards which took a slight deflection and came back off the crossbar.
The final action of a dramatic night with the last kick of the game saw a free kick for Folkestone down the left played into the area and at the far post Wright turned the ball wide.
It would have been very hard on Cray to not get something out of the game and put in a great shift against who I personally think have been the best team I have seen this season with their movement and pace especially off the ball. So full marks to Danny Kedwell and his team for such a great team effort and now look to just get that elusive league win and despite remaining 20th in the table table this will surely come soon.
Cray are next in action on Saturday in the FA Trophy 2nd Round at home to Ebbsfleet United, 3pm ko.
Cray Wanderers: Jack Turner, Freddy Barton, Dean Beckwith (Capt.), Richie Danquah, Kasim Aidoo, Anthony Cook (Jack Hanson, 67), Jai Reason, Sam Skeffington, Jamie Yila (Tom Hanfrey, 81), Adam Coombes (Cameron Brodie, H/T), Chris Dickson: Subs: Daniel Uchechi, Fjord Rogers
Booked: Turner, Brodie
Folkestone Invicta: Tim Roberts, Josh Vincent, Kieron McCann, Matt Newman, Callum Davies, Ryan Johnson, Scott Heard, Jordan Wright, David Smith, Ian Draycott (Oliver Freeman, 84), Alfie Paxman: Subs: Luca Borrello, Michael Everitt, Connor Collins
Referee: Nathan Oakes
Assistants: Richard Baker, Jack Ridge