Cray Wanderers started their pre-season schedule with a clinical and devastating display to beat Sporting Club Thamesmead 8-1 at the first class facilities of the Coldharbour Leisure Centre.
This was the first meeting between the two sides and on the 3G surface Cray were electric right from the start. The first half saw Cray go in at the break 7-0 up and saw the first appearances for Matt George who signed from Lewes and Sean Roberts who comes back to Cray from AFC Hornchurch with both getting on the scoresheet. Mitchell Nelson also started after coming back to the club and was one of two players to play the whole game.
Cray got off to a slick start and George tested the keeper with a decent shot after cutting in from the left. Then Aaron Rhule also made a run down the left and his cross just missed the onrushing Michael Power.
A goal was coming and arrived in the 11th minute when Jay Leader burst down the left and cut the ball back across which was turned into the net by the impressive fair haired Trialist.
The second goal came in the 18th minute when after George’s cross was cleared out for a throw in down the right the ball came to Rhule who swept the ball past the keeper to make it 2-0.
Two minutes later Cray were awarded a penalty when Power was impeded in the area and struck home the penalty kick with typical expert efficiency.
In the 24th minute, the Wands scored a fourth goal when down the right Roberts hit a lovely curling shot from close to 25 yards and it looked like a very big win was on the cards.
Three minutes later Cray went 5-0 when the trialist scored his second of the game being quickest to react to a loose ball inside the area.
Perhaps the best goal came just after the half hour when George got the goal his performance deserved when he picked the ball up down the left cut infield and placed a shot wide of the keeper from just outside the area.
There was a brief lull until three minutes before half time when Power scored his second with a cracking shot from the right edge of the penalty area.
Half Time: 7-0
Not surprisingly changes were made at half time with only Nick Blue, Nelson and Rhule starting the second half with three trialists and also new signings Tom Phipp and Jerome Federico coming on.
SC Thamesmead came close to pulling a goal back when the no 17 broke through but his lofted shot just cleared the crossbar.
The eighth goal for Cray came four minutes after the restart and was an excellent goal scored by Karl Dent who made a 40 yard run and then let fly with a shot which crashed into the bottom right corner.
There was the rare recent occurrence of a chill in the air as the game developed with Cray having the game won and got a bit scrappy.
The Wands did come close to scoring a couple of time but Junior Dadson and Dent were both denied by a couple of excellent saves by the substitute keeper.
Sporting Club stuck to their task well in the second half and scored the ultimate consolation goal in the 83rd minute when the no 7 curled a very good free kick from 25 yards into the bottom right corner.
Just before the end Dadson was unlucky not to score the ninth when his wickedly swerving shot was pushed onto the crossbar by the keeper.
In the end Cray had got their first pre-season game under their belts and looked certainly in the mood and played some typically stylish and inventive football.
Team: 1st Half – Nick Blue, Matt George, Jay Leader, Marcus Evans, Mitchell Nelson, Barney Williams, Trialist (1), Trialist (2), Sean Roberts, Aaron Rhule, Michael Power
2nd Half – Blue (Tiwa Fujimade), Trialist, Joe Vines, Nelson, Rhule, Tom Phipp, Trialist, Karl Dent, Jerome Federico, Junior Dadson, Trialist.