Cray Wanderers U23s v Hastings United U23s – Bostik Development League South – 4/2/19
Cray Wanderers U23s 2 Daye 34, Branch 37
Hastings United U23s 2 Welch 19, Page 58
Cray Wanderers U23s in the first of four successive Monday night Bostik Development League fixtures fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Hastings United as the sides in 4th & 3rd respectively showed great quality on a fine evening of football. Hastings went in front in the 19th minute with Lewis Welch’s superb strike from distance but before the break Cray turned the game on its head with two goals from Robbie Daye and Ben Branch to lead at half time. Hastings levelled before the hour through Luca Page and both sides had chances to win after this but a draw was the right result.
The game started very evenly with little to choose between the sides for the first quarter of an hour with the best opportunities for Hastings, Anju Janneh fired well over from a free kick while for Cray a fine run from Neil Spencer down the right ended with a whipped in cross which just missed the onrushing Robbie Daye.
On 19 minutes Hastings went ahead with a goal out of nothing when a decent move down the right saw the ball come to Welch who hit an unerring shot from close to 25 yards which found its way into the net and Hastings were looking impressive at this stage.
Cray though fought back well after this and began to exert good pressure and from a Frankie Morgan cutback the ball came to Kyrique Garvey-Williams in space who hit a sweet strike which keeper Thomas Taylor did very well to push over the bar.
In the 34th minute, Cray levelled when Ronnie Payne found Morgan down the left and his ball into the box found Daye whose first effort was saved by Taylor and the ball came back out to Daye who prodded the ball into the net.
This started a great spell of play from Cray and three minutes later went in front from another assist from Morgan down the left who whipped over a cross to the far post where Ben Branch got in front of Taylor to nudge the ball home.
Before the break a superb ball from Lee Lewis out to the left found Payne who cut inside and let fly with a shot which went narrowly wide of the left post. Then Branch and Payne combined to set up Lewis who lashed a shot over.
Half Time: 2-1
Cray almost grabbed a third just after half time when Spencer and Lewis down the right set up Branch once again whose snap shot from eight yards was superbly blocked by Taylor and out for a corner. From the corner from Joe Barber to the far post Payne headed over.
The Wands still looked the sharper and Deshon Carty on his 18th birthday down the left found Payne who cut into the area and his curling shot was pushed away well by Taylor.
Then Morgan saw a shot blocked inside the area from another Barber corner and Lewis shot wide from 30 yards as Cray continued to look dangerous.
However slightly against the run of play Hastings levelled when a move down the right saw the ball reach Luca Page inside the area whose attempted shot was blocked and deflected back to him and steered the ball into the net to make it 2-2 on 58 minutes.
The game went from end to end from here and for Hastings Page saw a shot held by Tiwa Fujamade while for Cray they were unlucky not to take the lead when Carty broke into the area down the right and his shot went agonisingly wide of the left post.
This was followed by Cray going close again when Spencer put Cain Cruz in down the right but his shot was parried by Taylor. Then Morgan put over a cross shot which Taylor had to push away under pressure.
Towards the end, Cray came close when Kwame Poku found Akan Kasab down the right who did well to keep the ball in play and from the byline swept over a cross which came to Payne who shot wide.
For Hastings they could have pinched it before the end when Ben Reader down the right hit a near post shot which Fujamade pushed away. Then Daniel Hill hit a snap shot which was saved.
As the game entered its final stages, Payne’s ball into the box was pushed away by Taylor under pressure from Poku while for Hastings, Welch was denied down the left of the area by a block from Fujamade and from the corner, Finnley Page diverted a header off goal and in the end a draw was possibly the right result between two very decent young sides.
Cray remain fourth behind Hastings and 2nd placed Lewes on goal difference on 26 points. The Wands next game will be next Monday against Three Bridges at Hayes Lane.
Cray: Tiwa Fujamade, Ben Branch, Frankie Morgan, Charles Etumnu, Joe Barber, Deshon Carty, Kyrique Garvey-Williams (Capt) (Akan Kasab, 74), Lee Lewis, Ronnie Payne, Neil Spencer (Kwame Poku, 74) Robbie Daye (Cain Cruz, 56): Subs: Alfie Young, David Showemimo
Hastings United: Thomas Taylor, Leon Greig, Daniel Hill, James Pool, Finnley Page, Kian Moynes (Jordan Ray, 79), Ben Reader, Lewis Welch, Luca Page (Ben Cornelius, 87), Anju Janneh (Luke Brundle, 70), Charlie Curran
Referee: Billy Woods
Assistants: Allison Wade, Ben Perryman