Bostik League South-East – Saturday 2nd February, 2019
Cray Wanderers 6
Dadson 7, 50, 85 pen, 90,
Federico 69, Uchechi 90+3
Herne Bay 0
Photos: Kindly provided with thanks by Jon Hilliger and Allen Hollands
Cray Wanderers produced an outstanding display to go 13 points ahead of the Bostik South-East after a Junior Dadson inspired performance saw the Wands score six against an in-form Herne Bay side at Hayes Lane.
On a cold afternoon, it didn’t take long for the fans to warm up as Cray took the lead on 7 minutes as Dadson scored the first of four on the afternoon tapping in from Jerome Federico’s cross. Both sides came close in an entertaining first half but Cray really cranked up the gears in the second half and five minutes after the break Dadson confidently fired home Karl Dent’s pass to make it 2-0. Danny Leonard hit the post for Herne Bay but Cray shortly after notched a third when Dadson became goal maker with his cross being turned in by Federico in the 69th minute.
The last few minutes saw three more Cray goals with Dadson completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot with five minutes to go after Joe Taylor was brought down. Then in the last minute, Dadson scored his fourth converting from Taylor’s pass and there was still time three minutes into added on time for Daniel Uchechi to volley home his first goal for Cray from another Dadson assist.
From the side which drew last Saturday at Faversham Town, there was one change to the starting lineup with Junior Dadson coming in for Joe Taylor with Barney Williams still not quite recovered from a knock and Mitchell Nelson continued on as skipper.
Herne Bay in 16th place had won four of their last five games and stunned Hastings United 4-1 at home last Saturday so a hard contest was expected against a confident side.
Cray began well moving the ball around sweetly and opened up the Herne Bay defence in the 7th minute with a well worked goal. Ben Mundele brought the ball forward down the right, and slipped the ball between two defenders into Jerome Federico who close to the byline laid the ball across to the far post where Dadson got in front of a defender to turn the ball into the net for the fifth goal of the season.
Herne Bay though showed what they were capable of with a good piece of play down the right with Simon Kabamba finding Tahjae Anderson, just over 20 yards from goal who hit a shot which was goal bound and Nick Blue did superbly to push the ball over the bar for a corner.
On the 15 minute mark, Cray almost grabbed a second when Mitchell Nelson found Archie Johnson down the left and he played the ball into Karl Dent inside the area and drove a shot into the side netting. Two minutes later this time down the right, Dent cut into the area and his ball across was pushed out by keeper Simon Overland and came eventually to Federico who sliced a shot wide.
Herne Bay almost drew level when top scorer Jake Embery was played into the box down the left and seemed certain to get a shot on goal but good defending from Nelson deflected the ball behind for a corner.
Cray came close again when Jay Leader found Freddie Parker who moved forward and from 25 yards hit a shot which pushed behind well by Overland for a corner, one of a number of corner kicks the Wands won in the latter stages of the half.
From a free kick out on the right, Tom Carlton’s cross found Ben Gorham whose header was claimed by Blue but Cray were beginning to take control of the game for the last quarter of an hour of the half from another corner Leader’s header set up Dadson for a first time shot in a crowded penalty area which was blocked by Bradley Schafer and before the break Parker saw a shot deflected behind.
Half Time: 1-0
Although Cray had edged the first half the feeling was a second goal was needed as Herne Bay had shown they possessed a threat and the second goal came five minutes after the break.
A patient passing movement ended with Tom Phipp finding Dent just outside the penalty area who worked his way down the left of the area and squared the ball to Dadson who fired low into the bottom left corner from eight yards.
Then Mundele and Dent combined to find Federico down the right and his cross was headed over by Dadson.
Herne Bay were unfortunate not to get a goal back which would have made for a fascinating last half hour when Danny Leonard found space to hit a shot which thudded back off the right post and the ball came out to Simon Kabamba whose effort was held by Blue.
The game went from end to end for a spell and Federico fired over for Cray while for Herne Bay Schafer shot wide of the left post from 20 yards. Then Dadson was unlucky not to score his third with a curling shot out on the left which went narrowly wide.
On 69 minutes Cray scored a third goal when Joe Taylor in the centre circle found Dadson who burst into the box and laid the ball across to the far post where Federico was on hand to turn the ball in from three yards for his third goal of the season.
From here Cray were in full flow, with Dadson curling another shot just wide of the right post and then Johnson’s cross from the left was headed over by Taylor. Then Taylor sidefooted wide from a Federico cross.
With five minutes to go, Cray were awarded a penalty when Taylor was upended inside the box by Danny Rumbol. With the lure of a hat-trick looming, Dadson stepped up to take the penalty and confidently stroked the ball home to claim his first hat-trick and match ball and very well deserved.
Then in the last minute, Cray made it 5-0 when Dent and Taylor combined to play in Dadson once again who placed the ball under Overland from ten yards to score his fourth of the game with Cray in full cry.
In the third minute of stoppage time, the Wands scored a sixth again with Dadson involved as his attempted left wing cross-shot found its way to the far post to Daniel Uchechi who volleyed in his first goal for Cray and capped off the match in style.
This was a tough game against a very decent side who will pick up points during the remainder of the season and although there had been many who felt a big win like this had been on the cards for a while, this was nonetheless a very impressive performance from Tony Russell’s side. With Hastings drawing at home to next Saturday’s opponents Guernsey, Cray moved 13 points clear on 58 points with Ashford United now second on goal difference on 45 points.
Cray next travel to Whyteleafe for a rare away midweek game, under the lights against a side in fifth place and well rested after having a bye weekend and should be a game for the connoisseur.
In the meantime on what was a very cold day, Cray turned up the heat and showed great quality in attack and defence and a very memorable performance.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Archie Johnson, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Bradley Pritchard (Sean Roberts, 74), Tom Phipp, Karl Dent, Freddie Parker (Joe Taylor, 66), Junior Dadson, Jerome Federico (Daniel Uchechi, 83): Subs: Marcus Evans, Tiwa Fujimade
Herne Bay: Simon Overland, Simon Kabamba, Raphe Brown, Ben Gorham (Capt.) (Michael Freiter, 71), Danny Rumbol, Connor Wilkins, Bradley Schafer, Thomas Carlton, Jake Embery, Tahjae Anderson (Calum Adonis-Taylor, 56), Danny Leonard
Referee: Matthew Pollington
Assistants: Tom Simmons, Samuel Gregory