Ryman League Division One South – 4/3/17
Cray Wanderers 3
King o. g. 41, Dawson 48, 90+3
Walton Casuals 4
Odunaike 2, Mundele o. g. 45+2, Cheadle 55, Hudson 58
Cray Wanderers run of disappointing results at home continued as they went down to their fourth home reverse in a row as Walton Casuals completed a league double over the Wands.
Both sides were looking to return to winning ways after drifting into tenth and eleventh places in the league table and with both sides free scoring an exciting game was in prospect. The Wands have got off to a poor start in the previous three home games and fell behind early again when Gabriel Odunaike gave Walton the lead with his 20th goal of the season.
Cray forced their way back into the game and levelled four minutes before half time when Luke Medley’s cross was turned into his own net by Jahmahl King. However, with half time approaching, Walton went ahead again following another own goal when Ben Mundele’s back pass went underneath, Nick Blue’s attempted clearance. The Wands levelled three minutes after half time with Lea Dawson’ excellent header but fell behind again when Jordan Cheadle fired home in the 55th minute and three minutes after that it became 4-2 with Malachi Hudson’s fine individual goal. The Wands continued to press and pulled a goal back three minutes into stoppage time with Dawson’s close range tap in but there wasn’t enough time for Cray to grab a draw.
Cray had gone five games without a win and made one change to the side which lost unluckily in the end to Corinthian Casuals on Wednesday with Brandon Scott starting in place of Paul Lorraine. Jay Leader and Danny Haynes who came off on Wednesday both started the game.
The Wands had conceded early goals against Lewes, Tooting & Mitcham and Corinthian Casuals and did so again here as Walton started the game impressively and took the lead after just 62 seconds. Daryl Coleman played what seemed a hopeful ball forward towards lively forward Gabriel Odunaike who burst through a wide open Cray defence and showing great composure lobbed the ball over the advancing Nick Blue.
Cray had a lot of possession after that and slowly started to exert pressure of their own against a side well drilled side. Perhaps Cray’s best early opening came when Karl Dent found Luke Medley on the right edge of the penalty area who fired in a volley which was well blocked by Jordan Cheadle.
In the 13th minute Cray came close when from a corner down the left, Jey Siva’s cross was met by Jay Leader who turned his header wide of the right post.
Two minutes later the Wands almost levelled when Dent hit a fine drive from just outside the penalty area which Walton keeper, Denzil Gerrar did well to get down to push aside and the ball was cleared before Danny Haynes could follow up. Then from a free kick, Siva found Scott down the right who from the by line put a cross into the side net.
Walton were looking dangerous when they did attack and from a free kick, 25 yards out, Cheadle curled a shot just over the bar before the game fell into a bit of a scrappy phase for ten minutes.
In the 33rd minute, Cray had something of a let off when Malachi Hudson put Jack Sammoutis through down the left and as Blue advanced, clipped the ball just wide of the right post.
Cray then had a spell in the ascendancy and Scott played the ball across to Medley who couldn’t quite get the ball under control and was cleared. Then Dent found Haynes who hit a long range effort straight to Gerrar which was followed by a similar effort from distance from Medley.
The game was flowing from end to end and for Casuals, Coleman found Sammoutis who hit a long range shot which Blue tipped up in the air and did well to push away from his goal line. The ball eventually came to Jake Nicholson who shot well over.
Cray got back into the game in the 41st minute with a rare stroke of luck in recent games, In a move started down the right by Ben Mundele who fed Medley who cut the ball back into the penalty area and was turned into his own net by Jahmahl King under pressure.
The Wands then looked before the break to be on top and a couple of minutes later nearly went in front when following a free kick the ball came to Medley who hit a low strike which the keeper did well to get down to save and blocked Sean Roberts follow up shot.
It seemed that the last drama of the half had passed by when Cheadle fired a free kick over the bar, a minute into stoppage time. However there was another twist to come when Walton out of nothing went back in front when Mundele’s ball back to Blue perhaps hitting a divot in the goal mouth went under the foot of Blue’s attempted clearance and agonisingly into the net.
Half time: 1-2
If the first half was dramatic then the second began the same way with Cray getting back on level terms in the 48th minute. Cray were awarded a free kick out on the right and Siva’s ball into the area was met by a powerful header from Lea Dawson who outjumped Jim Fenlon to score from six yards.
The game then had a dramatic minute of play with first Dent putting the ball in the net disallowed for offside from Haynes’ pass. The visitors then went up the field and won a corner down the left. The impressive Sammoutis played the ball to Cheadle who hit a fine strike from ten yards which crashed into the back of the net for a goal his performance deserved.
The game then started to go against Cray and three minutes later, Walton scored again when Hudson made a strong run from just inside his own half and worked his way to the edge of the penalty area and placed a shot wide of Blue and into the net.
The proceedings became rather scrappy and disjointed after that as there were a number of yellow cards and stoppages, eight in total in the match which was totally out of keeping for a game with perhaps one or two bad tackles but was hardly a rough game. Cray continued to try and press for a goal and Medley saw a near post shot blocked by Cheadle. For Walton, Sammoutis saw an effort saved by Blue.
Haynes left the field injured with twenty minutes to go but Cray soldiered on and came close again when Medley’s shot was saved by Gerrar but no one could follow up a rebound.
The game started to wind down to an away win but Cray ended the game quite strongly as they looked to stage one of their dramatic late comebacks.
Firstly, Medley curled a shot over the angle of post and cross bar. Then in the 89th minute, from a free kick out on the left, Siva’s cross to the back post found Dawson again whose effort came back off a post.
With all the amount of stoppages there was no surprise there was a few minutes of stoppage time to come and three minutes into added time, Cray pulled a goal back. From a corner the ball came to Leader down the left who played a ball into the box which Gerrar came to claim but made an almighty hash of and dropped and Dawson followed up to prod in from close range.
Despite another couple of minutes left, Cray couldn’t score again and at the end, the Wands could look back on another case of what might have been and their fourth straight home defeat.
Cray now are ten points off the playoffs with nine games to go and would really need a superhuman effort to make them now. They are next in action on Wednesday when they take on a Herne Bay side which won 6-0 against East Grinstead today.
One thing is for sure, games are rarely dull when Cray are involved and fourteen goals have been scored in two matches in the last three days. The Wands are perhaps just going through a phase when everything is going against them at points of the game when Cray are getting on top. The best thing to do is to keep the spirits up, knuckle down, cut out the individual errors, take their chances and things may turn out right again in the end and the Wands will start winning again.
Cray: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Jey Siva, Jay Leader, Nathan Fox, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Sean Roberts, Karl Dent, Danny Haynes (Jai McKinlay, 70), Luke Medley, Brandon Scott (Dane Luchford, 78): Subs: Zak Henry, Timi Osidobu, Paul Lorraine
Booked: Leader, Dawson, Roberts, Haynes, Scott
Walton Casuals: Denzil Gerrar, Jim Fenlon, Dominic Ogun, Jake Nicholson, Jahmahl King, Jordan Cheadle (Capt.), Gabriel Odunaike, Daryl Coleman (Max Fitzgerald, 87), Kervant Serbony (Sol Pinnock, 90), Jack Sammoutis, Malachi Hudson: Subs: Dan Choyles, Kyren Nundele-Smith, James Brace
Booked: Serbony, Coleman, Odunaike
Referee: Shaun Ferrar
Assistants: Paul Greenfield, Hossain Tavakkoli