Bostik League South – 2/4/18
Cray Wanderers 2
MacDonald 23 pen, Power 90+8 pen
Greenwich Borough 2
Barham 7, 53
The honours were shared at Hayes Lane as promotion chasing Cray Wanderers and Greenwich Borough fought out a dramatic 2-2 draw with the Wands scoring eight minutes into added time courtesy of Michael Power’s penalty kick.
Greenwich Borough who had won their last six league games got off to a flyer here and took the lead after seven minutes through Jack Barham’s near post strike. Cray though battled back and levelled after 23 minutes from the penalty spot after Ben Mundele was brought down and Charlie MacDonald scored against his old club with an cooly lofted spot kick.
Greenwich though played well on the break and went back in front when Barham stabbed home from close range eight minutes after half time. Following a head injury to Tom Carlse and a knock to Aaron Rhule nine minutes of added on time was announced and in the eight minute of time added on, Rhule’s cross found MacDonald whose header was handled on the goal line by Callum McGeehan who was sent off and Power stroked home the penalty for his 98th career goal for Cray.
The Wands had left it late to win on Saturday down at Chipstead and there were three changes to the starting lineup. In came Karl Dent for Kyron Farrell, Charlie MacDonald for Michael Power and Aaron Rhule for Brandon Scott.
Greenwich had scored 18 goals in their last three away games and started the game in confident fashion. After a steady build up, Kaka Dembele who had an impressive first half shot wide from 30 yards. For Cray a free kick out on the left from Karl Dent was floated into the box and was punched away by Michael McEntegart.
Two minutes later in the 7th minute, Greenwich took the lead with a well worked goal ending when Sam Corne played a good ball down the right to the lively Jack Barham who broke into and fired in a near post shot which Nick Blue couldn’t keep out and Borough were ahead.
Shortly after, Ali Fuseini shot wide from distance and it looked like it was going to be a tough afternoon for Tony Russell’s side.
Cray tried to get their game going and a ball forward was flicked on by Dent to Rhule who looked like he was brought down outside the area by Rian McLean but no foul was given.
Greenwich came close to scoring again when Tom Carlse intercepted a pass out by Blue and his ball into the area was headed behind by Mitchell Nelson for a corner. From the right wing corner to the far post, Dembele’s cross was headed over by Fuseini.
In the 23rd minute Cray got back into the game when from a quickly taken throw in down the right Ben Mundele turned towards goal, went past Dembele and into the box where Corne stuck out a leg and Mundele went down in the area for a penalty kick. Charlie MacDonald stepped up to impudently place the ball into the net to make it 1-1 and game on once more.
Greenwich though continued to look the more threatening and Corne put a good ball over the top towards the onrushing Barham but Blue did well to come out of goal and clear the ball. Then down the left, Dembele put a cross over which Blue had to push over the bar for a corner.
In the 34th minute Cray almost went ahead when MacDonald put Junior Dadson away down the right and he charged into the area and from seven yards put a cross shot agonisingly across goal and behind for a goal kick.
A minute later Greenwich won a corner from which, the ball was cleared out to McGeehan who volleyed over the bar.
Then Greenwich were unlucky not to go back in front when a ball forward down the left saw Barham get behind Nelson and from inside the area placed a shot fractionally wide of the right post. Then with the last action of the half Fuseini saw a near post shot blocked by a Cray defender for one of many corners in the first half for Greenwich.
Cray had perhaps not been at their best first half but were hanging in at 1-1 at half time.
Half Time: 1-1
The second half began much the way of the first with Greenwich quickest out of the blocks and Barham put a good ball across from the left which just missed the onrushing Dembele.
In the 53rd minute Cray went behind once again when Bradley Pritchard picked the ball up from a Cray clearance out of defence and into the midfield who fed Travis Gregory down the left and his ball across was inviting and Barham nudged the ball into the net from about five yards out for his 32nd goal of the season.
Eleven minutes after half time Cray came close to making it 2-2 when after Rhule was brought down about 20 yards from goal down the left, and Dent’s ball into the area was touched behind well by McEntegart as MacDonald looked to get a touch to the ball.
Greenwich could have sealed the game when Fuseini’s near post header was blocked and the ball came to Dembele who couldn’t keep his shot down and went over.
Cray looked to tie the game and after Rhule was brought down by the left edge of the penalty area, Dent’s ball to the far post found the head of Nelson which was pawed behind on the post by McEntegart for a corner. From the right wing corner the ball came to Lea Dawson who glanced a header wide of the left post.
With around 67 minutes gone, the play was held up for a few minutes following a knock on the head for Tom Carlse and there was a few minutes delay as he was bandaged up but only lasted a few minutes before being replaced.
Cray were unlucky not to score when Mundele found Brandon Scott down the right and his ball across was deflected off Nathan Paul and Jake Tucker and away from Rhule and to the back post where MacDonald saw his effort saved by McEntegart with one hand and the ball was cleared out for a throw-in before Rhule received a couple of minutes of treatment.
Another Dent free kick launched into the area saw Jay Leader direct a header towards goal but was headed away by Junior Aikhionabare. Greenwich had been reasonably content on defending what they had but nearly scored a third when from a corner from the right, the ball came to Corne who shot over the bar before Michael Power was introduced to give the Wands more up front.
The nine minutes of injury time saw Cray with a lot of the ball and looking to apply pressure and won three corners and penned Greenwich back but it seemed that the Wands last chance had gone.
However, in the seventh minute of stoppage time came salvation for Cray when Rhule down the right just about managed to keep the ball in play down the left touchline but his ball across looked like it might have swung out of play but the ball was deemed not to and came to MacDonald who from five yards saw his header handled on the line or possibly even over the line by McGeehan and the referee had no option but to give a penalty and a red card for the Greenwich player. Up stepped the always reliable Michael Power to stroke home the penalty kick for his 28th goal of the season to rescue a point for Cray.
Make no mistake this was a hard game against a very good side and Cray had to draw on a lot of reserves of grit and determination to fight back twice and although there was a touch of fortune perhaps with the second goal Cray probably had done enough to warrant a draw in the second half.
Carshalton Athletic won at home to South Park to go two points behind leaders Lewes who didn’t play with a game in hand. Greenwich stay third on 83 points, four behind the Robins with Cray in fourth on 82 points level with Corinthian Casuals who drew 0-0 at Walton Casuals who are sixth on 77 points.
A very dramatic afternoon in front of a decent Easter Monday crowd and now Cray travel to another old rival from the Kent League days, VCD Athletic on Saturday.
Cray Massive Man of the Match – Ben Mundele
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Barney Williams, Ben Mundele, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Zak Henry, Karl Dent (Michael Power, 82), Charlie MacDonald, Aaron Rhule, Junior Dadson (Brandon Scott, 54): Subs: Kyron Farrell, Michael Freiter, Marcus Evans
Greenwich Borough: Michael McEntegart, Nathan Paul, Tom Carlse (Junior Aikhionbare, 74), Rian McLean (Jack Tucker, H/T), Callum McGeehan, Travis Gregory, Sam Corne, Bradley Pritchard, Ali Fuseini, Kaka Dembele, Jack Barham (Ryan King-Elliott, 90+8).
Sent Off: McGeehan 90+7
Referee: Ryan Whitaker
Assistant Referees: Daniel Proctor, Harry Phillips