Cray Wanderers – 2019-20 season – That was the season that wasn’t – A Pictorial Review

Isthmian Premier – Game 16 – Tuesday 12th November

Main Pictures – Kindly provided by Martin Addison – Wingate & Finchley FC

Wingate & Finchley                   0

Cray Wanderers                         1          Rollinson 3

Cray Wanderers continued their unbeaten start away from home with victory against Wingate & Finchley at the Maurice Rebak Stadium. As a result, Cray moved up to 4th and perhaps slightly unnoticed into the playoff places. This would turn out to be Cray Wanderers last midweek away game of the season.

Cray were looking to build on the impressive win against Cheshunt at the weekend and continuing where he left off, Joel Rollinson showed his qualities once again with the only goal of the game after 3 minutes when he picked the ball up in the centre of midfield, strode forward and from 25 yards hit a superb strike which went in off the right hand post.

The first half was a lively affair and Cray could have scored more and Joe Taylor set up Bradley Pritchard who fired just over in the 10th minute and then Andre Coker found Tom Carlse down the left who drove a cross-shot just wide. Also Joe Taylor fired just over the bar.

Wingate & Finchley were quite nippy going forward and Ahmed Rifat saw a header turned round the post by Lewis Carey. The Oluwaseun Akinsanya flashed a shot across goal and wide.

Before half time, Andre Coker tested keeper Shane Gore with a low shot and then did well to push round the post Lee Lewis’s well struck free kick. Also Lewis tested Gore before half time but Wingate & Finchley almost levelled when Sean Grace’s header came back off a post and straight to Carey.

The second half saw Cray dig in to preserve the lead although Karl Dent shot just over and Andre Coker just couldn’t get a firm connection to Dent’s cross.

Wingate & Finchley finished the game strongly and Alex Read fired over the top after his initial shot was blocked. Then Cray had a bit of a let off when Luke Ifil’s cross-shot came back off both posts and along the line before Carey could claim the ball. Carey then pushed Henry Ochieng’s shot behind for a corner and then Akinsanya’s close range effort was blocked.

However, Cray had done enough to claim the three points and although there may have been more thrilling games during the season this was the sort of win the very good sides churn out over the course of a long, tough season.

Cray moved onto 28 points and would next head to Essex to face Brightlingsea Regent on Saturday, 16th November.

Cray Wanderers:  Lewis Carey, Barney Williams, Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lee Lewis (Karl Dent, H/T), Bradley Pritchard, Charlie Allen, Andre Coker (Ben Mundele, 75), Joel Rollinson, Joe Taylor:  Subs:  Charles Etumnu, Geofrey Okonkwo, Grant Hall

Att:       102

WINGATE & FINCHLEY vs CRAY WANDERERS – The Thoughts of Tony Russell

I thought Wingate & Finchley were quite lively, they’d brought some new players in and had beaten Lewes on Saturday which is never an easy place to go and were unlucky to lose at East Thurrock before when they were 1-0 up with twenty minutes to go but were reduced to ten men and East Thurrock won it late on.  By all accounts they looked more likely to win.

The first twenty five minutes we should have been 3-0 up.  We scored the goal, we’ve got into unbelievable areas.  Bradley Pritchard has hit one wide close to the penalty spot, Carlsey has pulled one across goal.  It wasn’t just that, we were opening them up, 3 v 2, 4 v 3 and the final pass and decision in the final third was letting us down. The longer you don’t put teams away they grow into the game.  They looked dangerous on the counter attack against us and with only a one goal cushion it becomes nervy.  If you look at it realistically, I don’t remember Lewis Carey making any saves of note.  They had the incident at the end when a set piece was headed away and their player has hit a shot which has come of Jay’s heel, spun and sent Lewis the wrong way and hit both posts and the centre forward couldn’t get there and the ball has come to Lewis.  If that goes in we are unlucky as it it’s a poor shot which has come off Jay and not much we can do about it.

It was nice and we spoke about it at training that we don’t usually have that where we get to twenty minutes to go and fair play to Wingate & Finchley they had a go and the boys at the back got to showcase their skills. The centre-halves are putting their bodies on the line and it was a pleasing result because of the manner in which we won it but realistically if we were a bit sharper in the final third the game could have been done by half time.  We felt we should have had a stone wall penalty in the second half too when JT was brought down.

As I was saying, Wingate & Finchley were good on the counter attack and all the teams in this league have good players. I thought Akinsanya up front was a real handful and were a good honest side who played some good football and they will beat sides and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are nowhere near the bottom come the end of the season.

We’ve still come to another away ground, had more of the ball, created plenty of chances and just need to be a bit sharper in the final third.  Did they cause us problems? Yes, did we contribute to that? Yes as we were only 1-0 up in the final fifteen minutes and we end up getting edgy, giving the ball away and the passing in the second half was as poor as we’ve seen all season and there was no fluidity.    We’ve had to make a change at half time as Lee Lewis has strained a calf which we can do without to be honest and the game was low on quality from both sides in the second half and a lot of turnover of ball, played at 100 miles an hour but lacked quality and we’ve had to dig in.   What me and Vinesy did say was that this was our kind of game, a couple of centre-halves and you draw a line in the sand and you say “you are not coming through here”.  I thought Mitch and Jay Leader were superb.

Up to this point I’m happy with how we’ve gone to every single game home and away and showed what we are about in terms of the way we pass the ball, how we create chances and I don’t think the Wingate & Finchley game was any different and just disappointed with decision making in the second half.  Maybe early in the season that deflected shot might go in and we would end up drawing the game.


The Pitchside video camera in midweek action as the Wands travelled to North London. Here Ozay Booth’s video features pre-match buildup, game footage & post match comment