Cray Wanderers pre-season continued on Tuesday evening as two second half goals from Karl Dent and James Duckworth earned a 2-0 win at Erith and Belvedere.
The Wands were made to work hard for the victory and the plucky hosts stuck to their task well and defended stoutly before two well worked goals won the day.
The Wands had won their last four games and almost got off to a flyer in this match in the opening minute when Dean Carpenter crashed a shot against the top of the crossbar from 30 yards and following up Duckworth couldn’t connect sufficiently to score. Then Luke Medley fired into the side net down the left of the area.
The Deres though were positive from the outset and won a couple of corners and former Wand Max Williams drove a shot just wide of the left post from just inside the box.
The game then became more steadied as Cray dominated possession but were repelled by the impressive Deres No 6 who won vital headers and tackles. Karl Dent fired wide of goal and then from Duckworth’s pass clipped a shot which was safely gathered by the Deres keeper.
Cray came close again when the ball was worked down the right to Medley who drove a shot across goal and wide of the left post and then down the left fired well over.
Before half time, good link up play with Medley saw Dent hit a shot fractionally wide from 15 yards as Cray ended the half on top but you felt there was more to come from this Cray side.
The second half began with the home side looking more threatening and were unlucky when down the right the ball was played across goal and no-one could divert the ball goalwards.
Cray came close when from a Jack Clark left wing corner the ball came to an unmarked Lea Dawson whose header was cleared off the line. Then Marcus Evans fired wide and then Dawson shot wide from another Clark corner.
Cray’s best chance yet came with twenty minutes to go when Dent’s ball into the box from out on the left was met by the head of Anthony Adesite but steered his header wide of the left post.
The deadlock was broken in the 73rd minute when after a very patient Cray build up the ball was worked out to Mitchell Nelson down the right who charged past two defenders and inside the area cut a fine ball back to Dent who first time rifled a crisp shot into the back of the net.
A goal had been coming and Erith & Belvedere kept plugging away but the defensive pairing of Jay Leader and Evans were resolute throughout and Nick Blue in goal was well protected.
The second goal was another fine finish and came five minutes from the end. Substitute, Freddie Parker in midfield played the ball out to Duckworth down the right who in acres of space strode forward and crashed a tremendous shot at the near post high into the net to bring the curtain down on the evening.
The Wands had to be patient this evening and took their chances in the end whilst the home side showed enough determination to suggest they could achieve promotion from the SCEFL Division One.
Up next for Cray on Friday is a very local derby against Glebe at Foxbury Avenue with a 7.45pm ko.
Team: Nick Blue, Mitchell Nelson, Timi Osidobu, Jay Leader, Marcus Evans, Dean Carpenter, Lea Dawson, Karl Dent, James Duckworth, Michael Power, Luke Medley. Second half subs, Jack Clark, Anthony Adesite, Merrick James-Lewis, Freddie Parker