Bostik League South – 14/10/17
Cray Wanderers 4
Rhule 15, 60, Dent 40, Power 62
Corinthian Casuals 2
Robinson 64, Dillon 74
Cray Wanderers moved up to fifth in the Bostik South league table after an exciting victory against in form Corinthian Casuals at Hayes Lane.
Two good sides went at it hammer and tongs and a quality game of football emerged with Cray playing exceptionally well to go 4-0 up just after the hour with some well worked goals. Firstly after 15 minutes, Aaron Rhule was on the end of Jerome Federico’s cross to head into the net, then a free kick special from Karl Dent five minutes before half time gave the Wands a two goal lead at the interval. Rhule scored his second on the hour from Dent’s cross and Michael Power got on the scoresheet with his tenth goal of the season two minutes later from another Federico cross. Casuals though pulled two goals back and gave Cray a few things to think about in the closing stages first through Malachi Robinson and then through Keyon Dillon to make it 4-2.
Cray were six games unbeaten in league and cups against a Corinthian Casuals side which picked up 16 points in September and came into the game four places above Cray but just two points separated the teams.
The Wands drew 0-0 at Faversham Town on Tuesday night and from that side Tony Russell made one change with Karl Dent returning to the midfield with Mitchell Nelson on the bench. Dean Carpenter switched to left back.
The opening few minutes were somewhat cagey with both teams looking to outwit each other in a chesslike game and it looked like it would take something special to break the deadlock.
It was the Wands who struck the first blow when after fifteen minutes they took the lead with a well crafted goal. Karl Dent in midfield played the ball out to Federico out on the right who took on Malachi Robinson and put over a cross to the far post where Aaron Rhule rose unmarked to place a header into the net from ten yards in off the crossbar.
Cray then had a good deal of control of the game and Federico was particularly dangerous and gave Robinson plenty of problems. Barney Williams linked up with Federico whose ball across was put behind for a corner. From the corner the ball was worked to the left to Federico whose ball to the back post found Marcus Evans but steered his header wide of the left post.
James Bracken’s Corinthian Casuals are a durable side and almost got back into it when from a corner down the left, Jordan Clarke’s cross was headed wide by Jack Strange.
Cray almost made it 2-0 when Dent’s cross from the left found the head of Lea Dawson but off balance slightly sent his header off target.
Corinthian Casuals then had a little spell in the ascendancy and came close to levelling when from a throw in down the right the ball came to Clarke whose ball through was deflected into the path of Warren Morgan but his shot went across goal. Then Max Oldham fired over and then his cross found Robinson whose effort was blocked by Dent.
Five minutes before half time, Cray scored the vital second goal when the Wands were awarded a free kick twenty yards from goal out on the right. Dent curled the ball expertly round the wall and into the top right corner giving Danny Bracken no chance to save.
Casuals almost got back into it before the break when Clarke’s corner found Mu Maan unmarked and his header was met with a fine save by Nick Blue who hadn’t had much to do at that point.
Half Time: 2-0
The second half saw Casuals come out and have a bit more possession and Oldham’s cross was well claimed by Blue and then Ben Cheklit looped a ball towards goal from twenty five yards which dropped just wide.
Cray though broke with great pace and accuracy and from a throw in down the right the ball came to Dent whose low shot was well held by Bracken. Then from a free kick from Dent whipped across from the right, Jay Leader headed wide.
On the hour Cray added a third which came when Williams found Dent down the right who cut into the area and laid the ball across to an unmarked Rhule who stabbed in from eight yards.
Two minutes later, Cray topped a couple of minutes of fantasy football by scoring a fourth which owed much to the hard work of Dean Carpenter who won the ball and made a charging run forward, found Federico down the right whose cutback found Michael Power who finished clinically for his tenth goal of the season and his 80th career goal for Cray.
Corinthian Casuals were never going to throw the towel in and pulled a goal back in the 64th minute when Maan found Oldham down the right and his ball to the far post found Robinson who turned the ball in from close range.
The Wands went back on the attack and Dent’s free kick was stabbed wide of the far post by Leader before Hamilton Antonio shot wide for Casuals.
There was to be another twist to the captivating plot when in the 74th minute, Casuals scored a second when the ball was worked down the left to Clarke who made a run into the box and squared the ball to Dillon who fired home to set up an interesting last quarter of an hour.
The game became a bit stretched as both teams seemed to tire and Power fired over from 30 yards and then Dent shot wide before both sides picked up bookings as the shape of the game disappeared.
Perhaps a big moment came five minutes from time when Casuals were awarded a free kick out on the left of the penalty area and Josh Uzun’s curled the ball over the wall and looked to be heading for the net but for a superb save by Blue turning the ball behind.
In the end Cray held out and although maybe through their quest for more goals allowed Casuals back into in the last twenty five minutes Cray deserved to win the game and picked up a big three points against a side that will be up with the title contenders by the time the two sides meet again in March. If anything like this game then a trip to Tolworth could be well worth a visit.
Cray moved above Casuals into fifth place and face two away trips with Thamesmead Town next Saturday followed by Sittingbourne on 24th October with the Wands in tremendous heart.
You could have staked a claim for anyone in the team for man of the match such was the quality of the performance but Dent for me just shaded it as once again he was at the heart of all the great attacking play and notched a goal his recent displays have deserved.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Barney Williams (Ben Mundele, 67), Dean Carpenter, Jay Leader, Marcus Evans, Lea Dawson (Capt,), Zak Henry, Karl Dent, Michael Power (Michael Frieter, 76), Aaron Rhule (Anthony Adesite, 88), Jerome Federico: Subs: Kyron Lightfoot, Mitchell Nelson
Booked: Evans, Rhule
Corinthian Casuals: Danny Bracken (Capt.), Warren Morgan, Malachi Robinson (Ike Robertson-Feehi, 88), Nathan Daly, Jack Strange, Mu Maan, Max Oldham (Josh Uzun, 77), Hamilton Antonio, Reyon Dillon, Ben Cheklit (Jamie Byatt, 77), Jordan Clarke
Booked: Morgan, Daly, Dillon
Referee: Simon Finnigan
Assistant Referees: Scott Orchard, Dominic Wynter