BetVictor Isthmian Premier – Saturday 7th December, 2019   

Cray Wanderers                                            4

Coker 22, Lewis 40, Taylor 54, Dent 56

Potters Bar Town                                          0

Photos – Kindly provided by Jon Hilliger

Cray Wanderers moved up to sixth place in the Isthmian Premier league table after a high quality performance which produced three points and four goals against a strong Potters Bar Town side.

Cray were looking to bounce back from defeat at Carshalton Athletic last Saturday and did so with four well-crafted goals, two in each half and the bonus also of a clean sheet, their third in four games. The Wands began the game well and took the lead in the 22nd minute when Andre Coker turned the ball home from Joe Taylor’s excellent right wing cross.  The second goal arrived five minutes before the break when Lee Lewis made it three goals in the last two home games when he calmly slotted home from Jerome Federico’s pass.

Sadly, the Wands lost Federico to injury five minutes into the second half when he was stretchered off with what appeared to be an ankle injury.  The Wands then stepped up the gears even further and in the 54th minute, Taylor fired home a third goal and his 22nd of the season.  Then two minutes later Karl Dent got on the scoresheet blasting the ball home from Lee Lewis’s cross.  There was even time for Taylor to hit the crossbar with a header from a Bradley Pritchard cross and two minutes from time hit an upright with a penalty kick after he was upended in the box.

From the game at Carshalton there were three changes to the starting lineup.  In came Andre Coker, Karl Dent and Jerome Federico in place of Barney Williams, Charlie Allen and Joel Rollinson.  Potters Bar Town had won 4-2 at home to Brightlingsea Regent on Tuesday night where Josh Hutchinson netted a hat-trick and came to Hayes Lane with a decent away record.

Much like the recent games against Cheshunt, Wingate & Finchley and Brightlingsea Regent, Cray started the game in positive fashion and controlled the possession against a resolute Scholars side.  Tony Russell’s side created the first opening of the game in the 7th minute when Mitchell Nelson played a great ball from the left out to Federico who raced down the right and played the ball across to Taylor who shot over the bar from the edge of the box.

Cray were enjoying plenty of ball and the visitors couldn’t really get anything together going forward.   Potters Bar did perhaps have something of a let off though when Nelson’s ball forward found Andre Coker who broke through to the right edge of the penalty area and was brought down by George Quarrington-Carter who was shown a yellow card and not deemed that Coker was the last man.  From the free kick, Lee Lewis’s shot deflected off the wall and out down the left to Bradley Pritchard who hoisted a ball to the far post where Federico just couldn’t get a firm connection to turn the ball into the net.

The feeling was that a goal was coming for Cray and duly arrived in the 22nd minute when Ben Mundele who played well back in his familiar right-back position won the ball and broke forward and played the ball out to Taylor down the right and sent over an inviting cross to the far post where Coker stole in to score from five yards and his fifth goal of the season.

The goal sparked a response from Potters Bar Town and shortly after a throw-in down the left from Dwight Pascal the ball came to Josh Hutchinson who found space but fired his shot wide of the left post from just outside the box.

Cray continued to hold the upper hand in the game and good link up play between the hugely impressive Pritchard and Federico saw the ball come to Lee Lewis who blazed a shot wide of goal.

Five minutes before half-time Cray scored another excellent goal when Federico and Mundele got the ball going forward and found Karl Dent who sprayed a pass to Federico down the right and the winger pulled the ball across to Lewis who from just inside the area found space to drill a shot into the bottom left corner past Arthur Janata and give Cray a two goal cushion.

With half time approaching, Potters Bar won a free kick just outside the area but Hutchinson’s drive came back off the defensive wall and away to safety.

Half Time:  2-0

The second half began on a sour note for Cray when a ball forward from Lewis Carey sought out Federico close to the right touchline but went down with what appeared to be an ankle or leg injury and required a stretcher to leave the field five minutes after the break.  Joel Rollinson came on to play down the right.

It didn’t take long for Rollinson to make an impact and combined with Pritchard to play a defence splitting pass through to Taylor who with great style and precision fired into the net from 12 yards for his 16th league goal of the season and his 22nd in total to make it 3-0 and effectively game over.

Two minutes later, Cray scored another high quality goal when quick thinking from Mundele down the right saw the ball come to Lewis who broke down the right of the area and laid the ball across to Karl Dent who despatched a crisp, well struck finish past Janata into the bottom right corner for his second goal of the season.

Cray were now in full flow and in the 65th minute almost scored one of the goals of the season when Pritchard won the ball down the left and exchanged passes with Coker to break to the left edge of the area and sent over a terrific cross which was met by a firm header from Taylor which crashed back off the top of the crossbar.  Shortly after a free kick 30 yards out from Lewis was deflected behind for a corner, from which the ball came to Rollinson who put the ball in the net but was ruled out for offside.

Potters Bar Town kept plugging away and looked to work their way into the game and Bradley Sach hit a shot from 25 yards which went into the arms of Lewis Carey.  Perhaps the best chance of the game for the Scholars came with nine minutes left when Imedd Kartita set up Ben Ward-Cochrane down the left of the area and from a tight angle fired a shot towards goal which was cleared off the line by Jay Leader.

Towards the end of the game, Cray sought out a fifth goal and from a free kick 20 yards from goal slightly right of centre Tom Murphy fired a shot just past the left post.

Then in the 88th minute from a throw in down the right Taylor burst into the area and was adjudged to have been impeded inside the area by James Budden and a penalty kick was awarded.  From the spot, Taylor’s shot came back off the left upright and following up headed the ball over from the rebound.

In the closing moments Ward-Cochrane saw a shot deflected behind for a corner and for Cray, Pritchard and Dent combined to set up Murphy who fired over from 25 yards.

Cray were well worth the three points at the end of the game and remain the top scorers in the division with 40 goals from 19 games played and moved up one place in the table and just outside the playoff places on 34 points.

There were many fine performances this afternoon with Pritchard possibly a ten out of ten performance for his drive, passing and never gave the ball away.  The midfield area was excellent with Lee Lewis putting in another performance of maturity and deserved his goal and an assist.  Joe Taylor looked sharp while Karl Dent, Jerome Federico, Andre Coker, Ben Mundele and Tom Carlse all played well.  The centre-halves were composed and won every header and tackle against a side who will pick up points on their travels and make life difficult for team in this league.

The Wands are next at Bognor Regis Town on Saturday 14th December and should be a great game against another strong side but one which they will look forward to.

Cray Wanderers:  Lewis Carey, Ben Mundele (Charlie Allen, 77), Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson (Capt.), Lee Lewis, Bradley Pritchard, Karl Dent, Jerome Federico (Joel Rollinson, 50), Andre Coker (Tom Murphy, 73), Joe Taylor:  Subs:  Barney Williams, Geofrey Okonkwo

Potters Bar Town:     Arthur Janata, Kieron Cathline, Dwight Pascal, Keegan Cole, James Budden (Capt.), George Quarrington-Carter, Thomas Gogo (Ryan Young, 74), George Nicholas (Imedd Kartita, 62), Josh Hutchinson (Roman Michael-Percil, 62), Bradley Sach, Ben Ward-Cochrane:  Subs:  Jack Humphrey, Stefan Powell

Booked:          Quarrington-Carter, Sach, Budden

Referee:          Simon Finnigan

Assistants:     Matthew Grist, Ollie Davies

Attendance – 163