Greenwich Borough v Cray Wanderers – Bostik South-East, 11/8/18
Greenwich Borough 0
Cray Wanderers 3
Power 36 pen, 64, Federico 66
Cray Wanderers got their Bostik South East season off to a flying start with an impressive 3-0 win at Greenwich Borough. This was the first opening day win for Cray for ten seasons with Michael Power starting where he left off last season with a brace of goals in each half, the first from a coolly taken penalty with the second a typical piece of class finishing in the 64th minute. A minute later another impressive performer on the day, Jerome Federico tucked away a tidy finish to confirm the victory.
Cray set off to a new look Greenwich Borough side perhaps not totally at full strength with Mitchell Nelson and Zak Henry suspended and Jay Leader on the bench. Cray started with the centre half pairing of Marcus Evans and Tom Phipp and both turned in five star performances especially early in the second half when Greenwich threatened a comeback.
The game got off to a lively start with Greenwich threatening with an early corner but Cray looked sharp going forward and created the first real chance when Federico got through down the right and his shot was well struck but was well claimed by Jordan Carey.
Cray came close again when a Karl Dent corner down the left to the far post was headed wide of the left post by Phipp. Then the ball was worked down the left to Dent and his ball across was excellent and Federico just couldn’t get a connection to the cross and the ball went behind.
Greenwich threatened on occasions and looked to profit from set pieces and corners but Cray kept Nick Blue well protected.
Cray came closest yet after 20 minutes when Aaron Rhule played the ball over to Michael Power whose effort possibly came off his knee and thundered back off the crossbar.
Again Cray were knocking on the door and another Dent cross from the right just failed to reach the onrushing Michal Power and went behind.
In the 36th minute with Cray still pushing forward they were rewarded with a penalty kick when Federico made a strong run down the right and took on Connor Peters who put an arm across the winger who went down just inside the area for the penalty award. Power stepped up to slot home the penalty with great confidence.
Greenwich were unlucky not to level shortly after when from a free kick out on the left from Solomon Taiwo was met by a fine save from Blue pushing the ball over for a corner.
This meant Cray led at the break which they deserved but you felt would need a second goal for a degree of comfort.
Half Time: 0-1
The second half was a lively affair with Cray coming close right at the start when Power with an audacious effort from 30 yards out on the right dropped just wide of goal in what would have been reminiscent of his goal at Moneyfields last season.
Greenwich though were starting to impose themselves more in the game and Kayne Roberts worked an opening on the right of the penalty area and laid the ball to De’Juane Taylor-Crossdale whose close range effort was brilliantly blocked by Blue and the ball was cleared away. This was followed by Taiwo shooting over for the home side.
The game was just starting to get a bit edgy with bookings for Dent and Phipp but this may have been the spur Cray needed to weather the storm and went back on the attack.
The Wands came close when from a free kick twenty five yard out centrally, Dent curled a free kick just wide of the left post. Then Aaron Rhule down the left saw a low effort held by Carey.
A second goal for Cray was looking on the cards and it arrived in the 64th minute when the impressive Bradley Pritchard found Power down the middle who from the edge of the area leathered a superb finish wide of Carey into the bottom left corner for his 102nd career goal for Cray.
A minute later it was 3-0 when from similar position Federico burst through and with Carey coming to meet him rolled the ball past him into the net for a wonderful finish.
This gave Cray a good lead and this devastating two minutes really won the game for the Wands.
As the game went on Greenwich came close again from a Taiwo free kick bent round the wall but Blue got down well to save.
This was followed for Cray by Power’s right wing cross just missing the onrushing Junior Dadson who went off with an injury shortly after.
Making his debut as sub was the lively Malik Solebo who down the left clipped across a fine ball into the area which Carey did well to claim under pressure from Power. Then after a patient buildup Solebo shot over the bar.
The final opportunity of the game came to Greenwich with Kayne Roberts shot well held by Blue but Cray were able to see out the rest of the game with great assurance.
There were a number of fine performances from the team today with every player in with a shout for man of the match with Federico outstanding, Evans and Phipp commanding, Blue was assured with his handling and made telling saves and Pritchard and Sean Roberts in midfield in very good form. Michael Power looked to be hitting the ground running with his two goals and with a bit more luck could have had a hat-trick so plenty of positives for Tony Russell’s side. Greenwich are mostly a brand new team and all at Cray wish Luke Medley well for the rest of what is still a long season to come.
Cray are next in action on Wednesday in the Kent Senior Cup against Ramsgate at Hayes Lane.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Barney Williams (Capt.), Archie Johnson, Marcus Evans, Tom Phipp, Sean Roberts, Bradley Pritchard, Karl Dent (Freddie Parker, 90), Michael Power, Aaron Rhule (Junior Dadson 67, Malik Solebo, 78), Jerome Federico: Subs: Joe Vines, Jay Leader
Booked: Johnson, Rhule, Dent, Pritchard
Greenwich: Jordan Carey, Malakai Field, Connor Peters (Capt.), Solomon Taiwo, Jamahl King, Mohamed Kamara, Ryan King-Elliott (Timileyin Toluwanile, 77), Amadu Waritay (Teshuan Tyreece Walters, 64) De’Juane Taylor-Crossdale, Laurent Mendy (Xavier Vidal, 81), Kayne Roberts
Referee: Elliott Kaye
Assistant Referees: Joseph Gray, Paul Sturton