BetVictor Isthmian Premier – Saturday 2nd November, 2019 – Match Report
Cray Wanderers 2
Taylor 30, Aguiar o. g. 90+6
Aguiar 65, Leader o. g, 90+4
There was late drama at Hayes Lane as early season playoff contenders Cray Wanderers and Worthing shared four goals with two coming deep into stoppage time as the game ended in dramatic fashion.
Cray had led from the 30th minute through Joe Taylor but Worthing levelled on 65 minutes when Ricky Aguiar slotted home. The added on time drama began four minutes into the additional time when Jay Leader put through his own goal however, two minutes later a Bradley Pritchard corner was diverted into the net by Aguiar and a dramatic finish was added to when Jesse Starkey was sent off for a second bookable offence. The draw made it four unbeaten in the league for Cray and in each of them have had to come from behind.
The Wands began the game unbeaten in three league games but had lost in two cup competitions in the last week and were looking to get back on track. Mitchell Nelson and Karl Dent were suspended while Tom Murphy picked up an injury against VCD Athletic on Wednesday and is expected to be out for around a month. From the side which played on Wednesday, Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Bradley Pritchard and Joe Taylor returned to the starting lineup along with Charlie Allen, a sub on Wednesday.
Cray started the game in 7th place in the league table, two places and three points behind Worthing who were unbeaten in their last four league matches. On a wet and swirly afternoon the game began slowly with no indication of the late drama to follow. The best early chance fell to Worthing when Lewis Carey’s goal kick was intercepted by Alex Parsons and he found Ricky Aguiar who saw his shot pushed round the post by Carey.
There was an early blow for Cray when Tom Phipp had to leave the game after just 12 minutes with an injury and was replaced by Lee Lewis who had a superb game for the remainder of the match.
Cray came more into it as the half wore on and from a left wing corner, Bradley Pritchard’s cross to the far post was headed wide by Geofrey Okonokwo and were beginning to exert pressure.
Worthing had the ball in the net through Lloyd Dawes from Parsons’ pass but the flag was up for offside. Then Cameron Tutt and Reece Myles-Meekums combined to set up Aguiar for a shot from the edge of the area which was fielded well by Carey.
Cray then had a good spell and Joe Taylor found Jerome Federico whose ball in from the right just couldn’t get a firm connection from Pritchard and the ball went behind. Then a neat passing build up ended with Pritchard setting up Taylor for a shot from 12 yards which went just over the bar.
In the 30th minute Cray took the lead when Tom Carlse, Andre Coker and Pritchard combined down to set up Federico down the right whose ball into the box was inch perfect and Taylor found space to stroke the ball home from 8 yards for his 16th goal of the season.
Cray continued to threaten and Charlie Allen was unlucky and tested keeper Carl Rushworth with a shot after intercepting a backpass from Alfie Young.
In the 40th minute it looked like Cray had scored a second goal when Barney Williams’ right wing cross forced Joel Colbran to concede a corner. From the corner kick, Pritchard’s ball into the area went straight into the net but to the surprise of many was disallowed believed to be for a push on the keeper or maybe on a player in the box but not obvious.
Before half time Worthing almost got back on terms and from a free kick out on the left, Jesse Starkey’s cross into the area was glanced wide by Colbran.
Half Time: 1-0
Although Cray had played well in the first half the one goal lead was still looking vulnerable and after a decent start to the second half Worthing began to threaten and had a lot of the ball in the first twenty minutes.
Worthing began to pressurise the Wands goal and Reece Myles-Meekums saw a shot deflected behind for a corner, from which Aguiar’s cross to the far post was lashed wide by Young. Then the Rebels had a shout for a penalty when Colbran’s fierce shot hit the chest of a diving Jay Leader inside the area but would have been harsh if a spot kick had been given.
Then Dawes shot over the top from 30 yards and the impressive Marvin Armstrong set up Jessey Starkey for a shot from distance which was deflected through to Carey.
A goal for Worthing was looking likely and came in the 65th minute when Armstrong found Tutt whose excellent ball into the box found Aguiar down the right of the area and did well to tuck his shot past Carey and it was now all square once again.
Cray began to get back on the attack and substitute Ben Mundele found Carlse who pulled a shot wide and then Carlse set up Andre Coker whose shot was deflected behind for a corner. For Worthing, Dawes fired a free kick from 35 yards well wide of the left post.
At the other end Cray from a free kick 25 yards out saw a shot from Lewis go wide of the right post and then Williams found Mundele who cut inside from the right and shot over from the edge of the area.
The closest Cray came to retaking the lead came when Carlse put over a looping cross from the left to the far post where Mundele was unlucky to see his cross shot go across goal and behind for a goal kick.
It was beginning to look like a 1-1 draw as the game entered stoppage time and in the fourth minute of the additional time Worthing looked like they had plundered the three points when a ball in from the right into the area was spilled by Carey and Shola Ayoola’s ball into the area was diverted into the net by Leader and the game looked lost.
However, Cray as in the last three matches had fallen behind and quickly got back on terms and in the sixth minute of injury time and Carlse gained a corner which was disputed by Worthing. From the corner, Pritchard’s cross soared into a crowded penalty box where Carlse went for the ball but Aguiar ended up heading the ball into the net for the second own goal in two minutes.
The drama didn’t end there as Starkey was sent off for Worthing for his second bookable offence possibly for dissent and the game ended in a rather frantic way but on reflection a draw was probably the right result.
There were many positives for Cray and there were many fine performances with Leader, Carlse, Allen and Okonkwo outstanding and Lewis when he came on gave a mature and polished performance for a 17 year old with the disappointed aspect being the injury to Phipp. Cray remain 7th in the Isthmian Premier table with 22 points while Worthing for their part are quite a young side and play good football and in 6th place are legitimate promotion contenders.
Cray have the luxury of a free midweek before next Saturday returning to Hayes Lane with Cheshunt the visitors and the chance to draw breath after such another dramatic afternoon.
Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Barney Williams, Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Geofrey Okonkwo, Tom Phipp (Lewis 12), Charlie Allen, Bradley Pritchard, Jerome Federico (Ben Mundele 55), Andre Coker (Charles Etumnu 83), Taylor: Subs not uses: Joe Vines, Grant Hall
Booked: Williams, Okonkwo
Worthing: Carl Rushworth, Joel Colbran, Cameron Tutt, Alfie Young, Marvin Armstrong (Mason Doughty 74), Benjamin Pashley, Lloyd Dawes (Callum Kealy 79), Ricky Aguiar, Alex Parsons (Shola Ayoola 84), Reece Myles-Meekums, Jesse Starkey: Subs not used: Ross Edwards, Fin Stevens
Sent off: Starkey 90+6 (2 cautions)
Referee: Kane Dempster
Assistant Referees: Peter Georgiou & Daniel Friar
Attendance – 172