Cray Wanderers vs Whitehawk – Isthmian Premier – Wednesday 29th November – Match Report

Cray Wanderers                                          2

Cook 41, Lockyer 45+3

Whitehawk                                                   2

Lambert 5 mins, Pope 90+4 

Cray Wanderers made it four games unbeaten in the Isthmian League Premier but had to settle for a point as a goal four minutes into injury time saw Whitehawk grab a draw and remain 17th and three points ahead of the bottom four.

Whitehawk started impressively and went ahead in the 5th minute after Charlie Lambert’s deflected strike but Cray fought back well and led at half time through goals from Anthony Cook and Gary Lockyer.  The second half was a lively affair with chances at both ends but Whitehawk were reduced to ten men in added time when Stefan Wright was sent off for a second bookable offence.  However, four minutes into injury time substitute Ben Pope headed in a Lloyd Dawes cross to make it 2-2 and a point apiece.

Cray were looking to build on the positives of a 1-1 draw with Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday and from the side which started the game into the team came Anthony Cook, George Porter and Cameron Black for Emmanuel Kwatchey, Tom Bonner and Nyren Clunis.  On the bench for Cray was Sahid Nallo, on loan from Leyton Orient.

On a freezing cold night at Hayes Lane, Whitehawk started the game impressively and Charlie Walker curled a shot wide of the right post in the 4th minute.

A minute later, Whitehawk went ahead when Charlie Lambert found space just on the edge of the area to fire in a shot which looked perhaps to take a slight deflection which took the ball past Shaun Rowley and into the net.

Cray had to slowly work their way into the game but Whitehawk still held the edge and from a free kick to the left of the area, Ryan Worrall fired over the bar.

In the 20th minute the Wands came close when Ellis Brown set up Frankie Raymond for a shot from 30 yards which flew over the top.

Just before the half hour Cray had the ball in the net when Gary Lockyer hooked onto a shot down the right of the area which Mitch Walker pushed out but George Porter following up turned the ball into the net but was disallowed for offside.

The game then went through a scrappy phase until four minutes before half time Cray drew level from a free kick down the left of the area.  From the kick, Anthony Cook hit a strike with some venom which flew into the right corner of the net.

Three minutes into added on time at the end of the first half Cray turned the game around completely when Yahya Bamba made a run forward and laid the ball to Gary Lockyer down the left of the area and Walker was unable to save the shot and scored his eighth goal of the season.

HT:  2-1

Cray carried on the momentum at the start of the second half and Jamie Mascoll found Bamba fired a shot just wide of the left post.  Then down the right Ellis Brown’s cross to the far post was nodded wide by a stretching Bamba.

The second half was an open game and Whitehawk threatened a leveller when from a throw in the ball came to Jack Dixon who flashed a shot wide of the left post.

Then for Cray, Cameron Black made a run forward and found Lockyer who set up Brown down the right of the area who cracked in a shot which Walker may have got the slightest touch to tip on to the left upright.

Cray continued to hold the edge and Cook and Raymond combined to set up George Porter who hit a first time shot which rapped the top of the crossbar.

The Wands couldn’t find the goal that would finish the game and Whitehawk still had plenty to say going into the last quarter of an hour.  Ryan Worrall made a run forward and cut into the box down the right and his shot to the near post was held by Rowley.  Then at the other end, Bamba fired over from outside the box.

For Cray, from a free kick Frankie Raymond’s ball into the box was glanced forward by Lockyer but Walker was able to claim.  Then from a corner down the left, Raymond’s ball into the area was cleared out to David Ijaha who volleyed over the top.  Sahid Nallo came on for his debut six minutes from time in place of Gary Lockyer

A minute into injury time, Whitehawk were reduced to ten men when Stefan Wright who was booked early in the game was sent off for a second bookable offence.

However, four minutes into stoppage time, Whitehawk drew level when Imran Kayani found Lloyd Dawes down the right and his ball into the box was nodded into the net by Ben Pope to make it 2-2.

There was still time for Whitehawk to win a late corner but in the end the match finished in a draw and was a lively, open contest throughout to at least give a bitterly cold night a bit of warmth.

The point keeps Cray in 17th place on eighteen points and still three points above the relegation places.  Although disappointed at missing out on the three points, Cray recovered well after an iffy start to the game and are perhaps not quite getting the rub of the green in front of goal.

Cray next go on to consecutive away games at Folkestone Invicta and Bognor Regis Town and are unbeaten in four league matches as a busy December gets under way.

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Anthony Cook, Cameron Black, Jack Holland, Jamie Mascoll, David Ijaha, Ellis Brown, Frankie Raymond, George Porter (Alfie Evans, 90), Yahya Bamba, Gary Lockyer (Sahid Nallo, 84):  Subs:  Antonio Dembele, Sam Wood, Joshua Tobin

Whitehawk: Mitch Walker, Hamish Morrison, Stefan Wright, Charlie Harris (Lloyd Dawes, 84), Joe Tennent, Luca Cocoracchio, Dom Johnson-Fisher (Ben Pope, 84), Jack Dixon, Charlie Walker, Ryan Worrall, Charlie Lambert (Imran Kayani, 65): Subs:  Tommy Brewer, Stephen Harman

Sent Off: Wright 90+1

Booked: Wright 17, Tennent 40

Referee: Callum Peter

Assistants: Gary Baker, Scott Crowhurst

Att: 189