Ryman League Division One South: 17/8/16
Cray Wanderers 0
Cray’s first ever visit to Guernsey ended in a hard earned point as the two sided fought out an entertaining goalless draw.
There were chances at both ends with the respective keepers making vital saves in the game as the two sides played in an enterprising manner in front of an excellent midweek crowd of 679.
Tony Russell had to make a few changes from the side which drew with Sittingbourne on Saturday including two new signings, wide midfield player, Brandon Scott and striker, Jonte Smith on loan from Welling United. Also making their league debuts were Timi Osidobu and Lee Prescott as Grant Basey, Sean Roberts, Sid Njie and Ben Hunt were unavailable.
The teams started the match at a good pace and Cray got off to a more confident start than Saturday, playing the ball around well and looking to the pace of Smith as an asset.
It was Guernsey though who created the best early chances boht falling to Dave Rihoy. The first came from an inviting Craig Young cross to the back post which Rihoy headed over. A couple of minutes later he capitalised on a rare Cray mistake at the back and should really have done better than shoot over the bar.
Cray had a great opportunity to score in the 11th minute when Smith showed good pace to break into the box but his shot was parried away by home keeper Chris Tardif. The follow up fell to Karl Dent whose goalbound effort was deflected behind for a corner. From the resultant corner, Solomon Taiwo’s cross was headed over by Taylor McDonagh.
Cray came close again after quarter of an hour gone when Osidobu made a great tackle on Rihoy and Paul Lorraine picked the ball up in his own half and strode forward impressively to the edge of the penalty area, took a return pass from Prescott and as he burst into the area his effort was well blocked by Tardif.
For the home side, Liam Mahon tested Nick Blue with a free kick from twenty five yards before they created the best chance of the match in the 35th minute. Kyle Smith made a great run to the edge of the penalty area and he lofted a shot which Blue got a hand to and Jay Leader had to clear almost off the line to prevent a goal for the home side.
Before half time, Cray came close when after a fine passing move Smith down the right hit a cross shot which seemed to deceive the keeper and went narrowly across goal and wide.
There was a blow for Guernsey when Kyle Smith left the field on a stretcher with what looked an arm injury. A lively first half ended goalless at the break.
Half Time: 0-0
Cray began the second half slightly in the ascendancy but only created a couple of half chances. The first came to Brandon Scott who worked an opening but his effort lack power and was easily dealt with by Tardif. Then from a corner down the left the ball came to Taiwo but fired well over from 25 yards.
Guernsey then had a spell of fifteen minutes when they started to exert pressure. First in the 55th minute, Cray were indebted to Blue who made a fine save from Marc McGrath’s well struck free kick. Dominic Heaume was then booked by the excellent referee Damith Bandara for simulation after going over the outstretched Blue on the edge of the penalty area.
In the 63rd minute, Craig Young was unlucky when his curling effort from twenty five yards took a deflection and came off the top of the crossbar.
The home side with their considerable support behind them came close again when Matt Loaring fired over and then Young forced Blue to make a comfortable save at his near post.
Into the last fifteen minutes and Cray had stemmed the tide and came close when Anthony Adesite sent in a fine right wing cross came out to Prescott who fired over the top.
With ten minutes to go, Guernsey had a shooting opportunity inside the area present itself to Liam Mahon but he was stopped by a fine last ditch tackle by Leader.
Possibly the best chance of the game for Cray came in the 81st minute when Dent put over a tremendous left wing cross which was met by the head of Adesite but he couldn’t control the flight of the ball and went wide of goal.
The game then settled for the remaining minutes with Joel Ledgister shooting wide for Cray but the match ended all square which on balance was about right.
The point leaves Cray in the admittedly early days of the season in 16th place after two matches.
Cray: Nick Blue, Taylor McDonagh, Jay Leader, Paul Lorraine, Solomon Taiwo, Timi Osidobu, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Brandon Scott (Anthony Adesite, 68), Solomon Taiwo (Max Williams, 77), Jonte Smith, Lee Prescott, Karl Dent (Joel Ledgister 83): Subs: Jai McKinlay,
Guernsey: Chris Tardif, Simon Geall, Tom De La Mare (Matt Loaring, H/T), Sam Cochrane, Alex Le Prevost, Robbie Legg, Dave Rihoy, Liam Mahon (Ryan Zico-Black, 87), Dominic Heaume, Kyle Smith (Marc McGrath, 43), Craig Young: Subs: Jamie Dodd, Leroi Riley
Booked: Cochrane, Heaume
Referee: Damith Bandara
Assistants: Andrew Senior, Tom Ellsmore