Cray Wanderers vs Lewes – Isthmian Premier, Saturday 28th January – Match Report

Cray Wanderers                                     2

Tom Derry 13, Dajon Golding 35

Lewes                                                    2

Gondoh 48, Taylor 54

It finished honours even at Hayes Lane as Cray Wanderers and Lewes fought out an entertaining draw which over the course of the game was about the right result.  Cray led 2-0 at half time through goals from Tom Derry and Dajon Golding but Lewes fought back after the break and goals from Ryan Gondoh and Joe Taylor earned a share of the spoils. Cray moved down one place to 3rd in the table. 

Cray withstood early Lewes pressure and Deon Moore and Tom Champion headed wide before the Wands took the lead in the 13th minute.  Jephte Tanga did well to break away down the right and found Yahaya Bamba whose cross to the far post was headed into the net by Tom Derry for his ninth goal of the season.

In the 35th minute it was 2-0 to Cray when Dan Bassett tried his luck with a shot from outside the area which Carey pushed out and following up former Rook Golding scored from 5 yards.

Lewes fought back in the ten minutes after half time.  Firstly in the 48th minute after a Cray free kick was saved, the ball went down the other end after hesitation at the back Ryan Gondoh received the ball on the edge of the area and drove home a sweetly struck shot.

In the 54th minute the Rooks levelled when down the right of the area Joe Taylor won the ball off Sam Wood who was on the ground after looking like a push in the back and ended up smashing the ball under Shaun Rowley and into the net.

Both teams had opportunities in the last half hour to win it with Anthony Cook, Bassett and Wood having shots on goal while for Lewes, Tyrique Hyde tested Shaun Rowley in the Wands goal from Taylor’s lay off.  In injury time, Cook’s shot was pushed out by Carey but in the end the game finished in a draw.

Cray were looking to build on the excellent win at Aveley last Saturday and there was one change to Neil Smith’s side with Anthony Cook coming in for the injured Mitch Chapman.  

Tony Russell’s Lewes side started in 11th place had been beaten at Carshalton on Tuesday night and there was one change to the Rooks starting lineup with Ayo Olukoga coming in for ex Wand Bradley Pritchard, one of five former Cray players in the side along with Lewis Carey, Jamie Mascoll, Joe Taylor and substitute Rhys Murrell-Williamson.

After three successive tough physical encounters this promised to be more pleasing on the eye and was played at a brisk pace and bristling with ideas and quality much like the previous encounter between the sides back in November.

Lewes came out of the blocks quicker and dominated possession for the opening ten minutes. First, down the right Johnville Renee set up Ayo Olukoga whose shot was blocked and then from a free kick down the left, Mascoll’s ball to the far post was headed wide by Deon Moore.

Then Lewes won a corner down the left and Mascoll’s ball to the far post was headed over by Tom Champion.

Cray didn’t see much of the ball in the early stage aside from a left wing corner claimed by Carey but in the 11th minute, Dajon Golding broke into the box down the right but his shot was deflected to Carey who made a comfortable save.

Two minutes later Cray went in front after an excellent, well worked goal as from a Lewes attack, the impressive Jephte Tanga broke away down the right and found Yahaya Bamba who swept over a superb cross to the far post for Tom Derry to head home at the near post for his ninth goal of the season.

The game was much more evenly paced now and Cray won a free kick down the right after a foul by Mascoll on Bamba but Sam Wood’s shot was off target.

Lewes were still playing with conviction and came close to levelling when after a patient move the ball came to Alfie Young who shot from 25 yards and deflected off Joe Taylor and Shaun Rowley had to turn the ball away.

Just after the half hour Cray almost scored a second when Sam Skeffington found Golding down the left of the area and his cross-shot had to turned over the bar by Carey for a corner.

Then ten minutes before half time the Wands went two nil up with a goal out of nothing when Bassett tried his luck from outside the area and Carey pushed the ball out but only as far as Golding who fired into the net from five yards for his second goal in just three games.

Before half time both sides came close to scoring with Deon Moore close for Lewes with a close range shot blocked and in stoppage time the lively Bamba received the ball from Derry down the right and his shot was held by the near post but at half time it was looking like Cray may be topping the table by the end of the game.

HT:  2-0

Lewes made a change at half time with Murrell-Williamson coming on for Moore but Cray started where they left off and Derry’s ball across from the right went across goal and came to Bassett whose shot was blocked.  Then from a free kick outside the area, Cook’s shot was held by Carey.

From that free kick, Lewes got back into the game when the ball was played forward and after hesitation at the back Ryan Gondoh found space to hit a sweetly struck shot wide of Shaun Rowley and into the net.

Now Lewes had the momentum and from a free kick down the right of the area, Mascoll’s shot was comfortably held by Rowley.

However in the 54th minute the scores were level once again when inside the area Wood went down after looking like a push in the back and was dispossessed by Taylor who turned and smashed the ball high into the net for his 24th goal of the season.

The remaining half hour was a captivating contest with both sides looking to claim a winner with Cray perhaps edging the closing stages.  Firstly in the 65th minute from a free kick the ball came to Bassett who lashed a shot over.  Then Tanga who had a great game for Cray made a run forward and set up Cook for a shot from the edge of the area which went over the top.  

Twenty minutes from the end Lewes threatened after a fine move and Murrell-Williamson and Taylor combined to set up Tyrique Hyde for a shot from just outside the area which was well held by Rowley.

Two minutes later Wood tested Carey from distance with a well struck shot and then ex-Rook Matt Weaire went forward and found Cook down the left who shot wide of the right post.

The pace of the game just relented a little for the last few minutes as the match was just starting to look like a draw but Cray came closest to a winner in injury time when Cook tried his luck with a shot from outside the area which Carey did well to turn aside but unlike the first half no-one was on hand to follow up.

In the end the game finished in the second draw between the sides this season and perhaps no surprise as this was Cray’s 11th draw and Lewes’ 9th and perhaps over the piece a fair result with the Wands perhaps a little disappointed not to pick up the three points after taking a two goal lead but are still just one point off the top of the table and Lewes are a good side who could yet have a say when it comes to the end of the season. 

The result leaves Cray in 3rd place on 47 points with Lewes in 10th place on 39 points in what is turning out to be a very tightly contested league.  Enfield Town now top the league after beating Carshalton Athletic with Aveley in 2nd who won at leaders Hornchurch who are 5th and Bishop’s Stortford in 4th. 

Cray now head into February and have home games against Carshalton Athletic, Folkestone Invicta and Hornchurch and start at Wingate & Finchley who need the points at the other end of the table next Saturday

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Jephte Tanga, Matt Weaire, Jalen Jones, Sam Wood, Sam Skeffington, Anthony Cook, Yahaya Bamba, Dajon Golding, Dan Bassett, Tom Derry:  Subs: Nyren Clunis, Sinn’kaye Christie, Leevi King-Bassett, David Ijaha, Nathan Boama

Booked: Cook 79

Lewes: Lewis Carey, Johnville Renee, Will Salmon, Tom Champion, Jamie Mascoll, Ayo Olukoga (Bradley Pritchard, 75), Alfie Young, Tyrique Hyde, Deon Moore (Rhys Murrell-Williamson, H/T), Ryan Gondoh (Harvey Walker, 87), Joe Taylor:  Subs: Archie Tamplin, Ryley Scott

Booked: Mascoll 23, Renee 63 

Referee: George Warren

Assistants: Alphie Ibrahim, Jordan Dixon-Walker

Att: 334