Bostik League South-East – Saturday 19th January, 2019
Cray Wanderers 3
Parker 30, Mundele 52, Phipp 89 pen
VCD Athletic 1
MacDonald 59 pen
Pics Jon Hilliger
Cray Wanderers maintained a ten point lead at the top of the Bostik South East and made it five wins in a row with a hard fought victory against VCD Athletic at Hayes Lane. Two good defences would make chances few and far between and it took two magnificent strikes from Freddie Parker on the half hour and from Ben Mundele seven minutes after the break to make the breakthrough for Cray.
The second half saw a red card and a penalty kick apiece as VCD Athletic pulled a goal on 59 minutes through Charlie MacDonald who was adjudged to have been fouled by Archie Johnson inside the area who was dismissed. Seven minutes from time there was parity once again as Tyrone Guthrie was sent off for VCD Athletic for a foul on Tom Phipp. The scoring was completed in the last minute as Mundele was felled inside the area and Phipp converted from the spot to seal the win.
From the side which won at East Grinstead Town last Saturday there was one change to the side with Jerome Federico coming in for Joe Taylor who picked up an injury late in that game. There was the welcome sight of Michael Power after a lengthy absence on the bench for Cray.
On a crisp and chilly January afternoon, Cray began very brightly bursting with ideas with Ben Mundele to the fore and just couldn’t get a good connection from Tom Phipp’s pass and the ball went wide of goal.
Then he made a strong run forward and was checked outside the area for a free kick. From the kick 25 yards from goal. Karl Dent curled a shot over fractionally over the top in the sixth minute.
Cray were unlucky five minutes later when Freddie Parker and Dent combined to play Mundele down the right of the penalty area and just pulled his shot wide of the left post.
Then as Cray continued to press early on, Mundele down the left cut into the area and squared the ball across to Parker whose shot from ten yards was blocked almost on the line by Jake McIntyre.
VCD are a well drilled and strong outfit and they worked their way into the game and from ex-Wands Junior Baker’s layoff, Dominic Odusanya fired well wide from 25 yards. The game then evened up for a spell with Dent seeing a half hit shot go through to Joe Mant.
The visitors were presented with a chance on 28 minutes when Charlie MacDonald was fouled outside the area and from the free kick from 22 yards, McInytre fired just wide.
Two minutes later Cray went ahead with a sensational goal out of nothing when the ball came to Parker in space perhaps just shy of 30 yards from goal who let fly with a crashing shot which flew past Mant and into the top right hand corner for his tenth goal of the season and his third in the last four games.
Cray began to take a bit of control before the break although Phipp went into the book for a foul and Pritchard found Federico down the right of the area and from a tight angle saw his effort blocked behind by Mant. Then before the break another fine piece of play from the impressive Mundele down the left saw the ball played across to Federico whose shot was blocked by the chest of Baker.
Half Time: 1-0
The second half was much more action packed and VCD almost levelled straight away when Malachai Hudson made a run to the edge of the area and played in MacDonald down the right of the area and his effort to the near post was blocked behind by Nick Blue. Then Joe Denny made a run forward and played the ball to MacDonald who shot wide of the left post from just outside the area.
Cray almost made it two nil five minutes after the break when Parker burst forward and down the left of the penalty area, held off Denny and his effort was well saved by Mant and following up Dent’s drive from the edge of the box was held by the keeper on the line.
Two minutes later Cray went two nil up with another piece of superb finishing when Mundele down the left cut inside and unleashed a shot from 25 yards which curled past Mant’s dive and into the bottom right corner for his seventh goal of the season.
VCD though worked their way back into the game and were awarded a penalty when Odusanya’s pass found MacDonald inside the area and was adjudged to have been barged over by Archie Johnson with a red card also being shown for being deemed last man. MacDonald stroked home his 20th goal of the season and his 17th in the league with a consummate spot kick.
This should have led to a more fraught last half hour but Cray dug in well and could have grabbed a third when from a throw in the ball came to the excellent Parker who saw a shot blocked and following up Phipp drove a shot wide.
Cray were defending well although VCD had a fair bit of the ball the closest they came to scoring was when Tyrone Guthrie set up Odusanya who shot well over the bar. As the game entered the final ten minutes, from a free kick out on the left, Pritchard’s cross towards Phipp was just deflected over by a defender for a corner.
In the 83rd minute, VCD were also reduced to ten men when Guthrie was shown a straight red card when he appeared to catch Phipp in the face with his trailing arm and was sent off.
This made it a bit more of a tolerable last few minutes and in the final minute, Cray were awarded a penalty when Parker set up Mundele down the left of the area and his run into the box ended with a foul by Jack Steventon for the second spot kick of the half. From the spot, Phipp calmly stroked home for his third goal of the season and to all intents and purposes clinch the three points.
Before the end, Hudson pulled a shot wide of goal but Cray saw out the remaining minutes for their 17th win of the season
This was a tricky test for Cray against a side which has more than held its own against many of the top sides in the Bostik South-East this season and will continue to do so, so make no mistake this was a big three points.
With Hastings United beating Whyteleafe 3-0, Cray’s lead remains ten points but with fifteen games left, each one will be extremely difficult but Cray are finding some very good form since the solitary defeat at Horsham and continuing to churn out victories tough sides.
Cray are next in action at Faversham Town next Saturday and will once again be a tough game but the Wands will go into the match with confidence.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Barney Williams (Capt.), Archie Johnson, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Bradley Pritchard, Tom Phipp, Karl Dent (Sean Roberts, 78), Freddie Parker, Ben Mundele, Jerome Federico (Daniel Uchechi, 90): Subs: Michael Power, Marcus Evans, Tiwa Fujimade
Sent Off: Johnson 58
VCD Athletic: Joe Mant, Emmanuel Udoji (Tyrone Guthrie, 66), Jake McIntyre, Junior Baker, Joe Denny, Jack Steventon, Alex Gaggin, Dominic Odusanya, Malachi Hudson, Charlie MacDonald, Courtney Barrington (Aymun El-Moyhalebel, 18): Subs: Tom Cecil, Dominic Vincent, Ali Fuseini
Sent Off: Guthrie 83
Referee: Daniel Proctor
Assistants: Notis Liappis, Thomas Fennelly