Bostik League South – 30/12/2017
Cray Wanderers 4
Dawson 31, Rhule 35, Freiter 47, Nelson 60
Faversham Town 2
Walder 64 pen, Stannard 71
Cray Wanderers rounded off the year 2017 in great fashion as they made it 18 league games unbeaten and stayed 2nd in the Bostik South table after a tremendous Kent derby victory against Faversham Town at Hayes Lane.
In a match that was full of quality and chances the game was very even for the first half hour but Cray had started to crank up the gears and went ahead after 31 minutes when Lea Dawson headed home Michael Freiter’s right wing corner.
Four minutes later Cray scored a well worked second when Ben Mundele’s cross was helped on by Michael Power to Aaron Rhule who lashed home his eighth goal of the season.
Cray led 2-0 at the break and had the perfect start to the second when Freiter scored with a fine strike from just outside the penalty after 47 minutes.
The game looked dead and buried when Mitchell Nelson steered home another Freiter corner on the hour.
However, a very young Faversham side never gave up the chase and pulled a goal back from the penalty spot in the 64th minute through Danny Walder. They then scored again from Harry Stannard 19 minutes from time but despite chances at both ends it finished in a 4-2 Cray victory.
There were no changes to the starting lineup from Boxing Day’s 7-0 win against Shoreham with Michael Power recovering from the injury scare which forced him to leave that game early.
Faversham had picked up form in November and the beginning of December but had lost their two festive games. They started this game quite confidently though and pushed Cray hard for the early exchanges.
Cray are a very confident side and the first serious goal attempt came from the Wands when Ben Mundele hit a shot from distance which was comfortably saved by Simon Overland.
Then good work by Rhule down the left saw the ball played into the box for Michael Power who turned inside the area but his effort was blocked by a defender.
It was Faversham though that fashioned the first real chance of the game after 13 minutes when from a right wing corner, Danny Walder’s corner to the far post was headed wide by Harry Stannard and was a very good opportunity which Cray were perhaps fortunate to get away with.
Cray were awarded a free kick in a good position just outside the area to the right of the D and Freiter curled the ball just wide of the left post after 16 minutes.
Faversham were proving dangerous from corners and another Walder cross this time from the left was eventually cleared out as far as George Monger who hit a shot which seemed to be deflected wide by his own player.
The game was now really starting to blossom and Cray were the next to come close when Zak Henry found Freiter down the right who put a fine ball into the box for Rhule but the ball was slightly behind him and slightly off balance turned the ball wide of goal of the right post.
In the 25th minute Faversham moved forward well and Liam King from twenty yards down the right hit a shot which Nick Blue had to get down to save.
Then Cray went forward and Rhule’s cross from the left found Brandon Scott at the far post but his effort was pushed behind one handed by Overland for a corner. From the corner, Mitchell Nelson headed over.
To give Faversham credit they certainly didn’t come with a negative game plan and again Blue was tested by a shot on goal from Stannard.
A goal had to come and did so after 31 minutes when Cray won a corner down the right. Freiter who swings in a great corner did so again to the far edge of the six yard box where Lea Dawson reacted quickest to power home a header for his second goal in consecutive games with his head.
Then Overland who had a tremendous game made two quick saves from Scott and then a near post drive from Freiter turning the ball behind for a corner.
In the 35th minute Cray got the comfort of a second goal when Scott found Mundele down the right who put a good cross into the box which Walder failed to clear and Power got the slightest flick amongst defenders to divert the ball to Rhule who from seven yards emphatically crashed a shot high into the net.
The Wands had had to work hard to get the lead but by half time had their tails up and Barney Williams shot wide and then Jay Leader’s superb pass out to Scott who put the ball invitingly into the box and Power just couldn’t get a connection and was turned behind for a corner.
Half Time: 2-0
The first half was exciting but the second half was even better. Right at the start of the half Faversham showed they weren’t yet out of it when Stannard hit a shot from 25 yards which was held by Blue.
From here Cray went up the field and scored a cracking third goal after 47 minutes. The ball was worked to Scott who ran on and was held up by a couple of defenders but the ball wasn’t cleared and Freiter picked the ball up and from twenty yards hit a fine shot which gave Overland no chance hitting the bottom left corner of the net.
Cray’s tails were well and truly up now and came close to a classy fourth when Henry found Scott down the right whose ball into the box was unselfishly left by Power to Rhule who was denied a second goal by a fine save by Overland’s leg which diverted the ball over the bar. Then Rhule was thwarted again by an Overland block and Power headed wide from Scott’s cross.
This was followed by from a Freiter corner the Faversham keeper then made two saves to deny first Leader’s header and then a follow up from Dawson for a corner.
From the corner though in the 60th minute, Overland wasn’t so lucky as Freiter’s left wing corner was net emphatically by the head of Mitchell Nelson who got to the ball before Overland to steer the ball into the net for his fifth goal of the season to make it 4-0.
Faversham though are a tough outfit and Ray Turner’s side never know when to quit and got themselves back into the game with a rather soft penalty award after 64 minutes when Stannard’s ball across found Ashley Miller who was nudged inside the area and the referee gave a spot kick which was converted by Walder.
Cray almost went 5-1 up when Scott found Power who played a clever flick through to Freiter who from 12 yards was prevented a goal by a brilliant one handed save by Overland.
Faversham then threatened a major fightback in the 71st minute when they scored a second goal when the ball was worked down the left and the ball was played in to Daniel Carrington who flicked the ball onto Stannard whose first shot was saved by Blue but reacted quickest to bundle the ball into the net to make it 4-2.
Cray went back to the way they knew best which was attack and Dawson headed wide from a corner and then a rare mistake from Overland when he presented Rhule with the ball but the winger saw his effort blocked by the keeper who then saved from Freiter pushing the ball away before Freddie Parker could score.
Then Jerome Federico saw a shot pushed behind for another corner and from a free kick just outside the box, Freiter’s shot was pushed out by Overland to Federico who drove the follow up wide.
Freddie Parker was electric when he came on and made a strong run down the right, cut inside and shot wide and then Leader hung a cross from the right into the area which Henry although looking offside headed towards goal and Overland had to palm away.
Depsite these near misses Faversham were still in the game and very nearly got the game back to 4-3 with a couple of minutes to go when Luke Griffiths hit a stinging shot from outside the area which Blue did well to push away and Cray were able to clear.
The final action of the game came when Parker hit a strike from distance which was well held by Overland but Cray had done enough to win the game and continue their unbeaten run. There is a real zest to Cray’s football right now but make no mistake this was a good test and both sides deserve credit for making it such a great game to watch.
Cray remain second on 54 points three behind leaders Lewes with a game in hand and two ahead of Walton Casuals and Carshalton Athletic. Cray also share a total of 61 goals along with Premiership leaders Manchester City.
Cray now head to a first meeting of the season with fifth placed Greenwich Borough who are on 51 points on Monday (New Year’s Day). Faversham are at home to Ashford United and although they’ve lost their last three games are a young side who could be a major team to watch out for next season.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams (Dean Carpenter, 65), Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Zak Henry, Michael Freiter, Michael Power (Freddie Parker, 79), Aaron Rhule, Brandon Scott (Jerome Federico, 75): Subs: Karl Dent, Marcus Evans.
Booked: Williams, Rhule
Faversham: Simon Overland, Christopher Barnard, Renford Tenyue, Danny Walder, Matthew Bourne (Capt.), Oliver Lee, Daniel Carrington, George Monger, Liam King (Luke Griffiths, 67), Ashley Miller, Harry Stannard: Subs: George Batney, Ryan Cheek, Jake Lovell
Booked: Barnard, Lee, Carrington
Referee: Ryan Whitaker
Assistant Referees: Arshia Hashemi, Nicholas Fruin