Bostik League South-East – Saturday 17th November, 2018
Cray Wanderers 2
Pritchard 48, Johnson 84
Photos kind courtesy of Andy Dovey Photography
Cray Wanderers continued their remarkable start to the Bostik South-East season making it seven wins out of seven away from home and thirteen in all after a hard fought victory at Guernsey.
On a tough morning of travelling with a two hour delay for the flights departure from Gatwick the game started 45 minutes late and after a goalless first half, the Wands went in front three minutes after the break with Bradley Pritchard’s third goal of the season. Guernsey battled back and levelled on 57 minutes when William Fazackerly fired home for Guernsey’s first ever goal against Cray Wanderers. Cray though kept on going and went back in front six minutes from time after a superb piece of finishing from Archie Johnson to claim the three points for Tony Russell’s side.
Cray who started seven points clear at the top named an unchanged lineup to the side which beat Hastings United on Sunday at Hayes Lane. On a rather chilly afternoon the game started at a brisk pace with Cray coming close in the 2nd minute when Junior Dadson broke down the left and put over a cross to the far post to Jerome Federico but couldn’t get a full connection and the ball went wide.
This was followed shortly after by Dadson once again lively down the left and cut into the area and his shot was blocked by a defender with the keeper Jordan Kelly slightly wrongfooted.
Guernsey started well themselves with top scorer Matt Loaring making a strong run into the box and Jay Leader did well to block for a corner.
Then Loaring cut inside from the left and from 20 yards hit a shot which Nick Blue had to get down to save.
Cray continued to press and a Dadson cross was headed away almost off the line by Jamie Dodd. Then for Guernsey, Liam Mahon charged into the area and was denied by a fine tackle from Mitchell Nelson.
After this the game seemed to get a bit scrappy with Guernsey defending well and Cray perhaps with the travelling in mind were perhaps not quite as sharp in front of goal as in previous games. Cray did have a half chance when a Barney Williams cross found Tom Phipp whose half volley was claimed at the second attempt by Kelly.
Cray had a fair shout for a penalty on 22 minutes when Phipp played a fine ball down the right to Federico who looked to have been hauled down perhaps just inside the area by Thomas Dodds who was booked but only a free kick was given.
The Wands began to exert a bit more pressure and Wilberforce Ocran latched onto a Pritchard pass and his low shot was saved by Kelly. Then Williams Fazackerly gave the ball away twenty yards from goal and Phipp following up drove a shot wide.
As the half went on Cray played well without testing Kelly too much with Ben Mundele picking the ball up and his shot from 30 yards went just wide of the left post. This was followed by Phipp hitting a similar shot from distance just past the post.
Guernsey seemed quite content to soak up the pressure and just before the break Ocran made a good run and set up Dadson who fired a curling shot wide of the right post.
The first half seemed to fly by very quickly and at the break Cray had the better of things but the score was goalless.
Half Time: 0-0
In recent away games, Cray after a scoreless first half have come out and got a quick goal after the break and the same happened here as it took just three minutes for the deadlock to be broken.
On 48 minutes, Federico picked up the ball in midfield ran forward and slipped a ball into Ocran inside the area whose flicked effort was deflected off a defender into the path of Pritchard who from eight yards fired under the keeper to put Cray in front.
Cray after this had their first real scare for a while when a Tom De La Mare cross from the right was cleared out to Charlton Gauvain who drove a first time shot over.
That was a temporary let off for Cray as in the 57th minute Guernsey drew level with their first goal against the Wands. The ball was worked down the left and Dodds hooked over a cross which was seemingly only half hit by Fazackerly but managed to bundle the ball into the net to make it 1-1.
The game then became a bit more open with Dadson unlucky to see a terrific curling shot go just wide of the right post. This was followed by a Pritchard cross into the box glanced over the top by Nelson.
Cray came close to going back in front when Ocran put a fine ball across from the right into Pritchard from the edge of the six yard box but on the stretch turned the ball over.
For Guernsey, it seemed a draw would suit them but they did come close on occasion to going in front. Firstly a corner from the left by Dave Rihoy was punched out by Blue as far as Gauvain who fired over the bar.
Then in the 77th miute, Loaring put over a cross which was met by the head of Fazackerly who made Blue get down to save.
The game was just starting to look like a draw with Cray using all three subs as the toll of the game began to show. However it was one of those changes that would prove, not for the first time this season an inspired one. Archie Johnson who came on for Federico looked very lively from his introduction down the left and looked a constant threat going forward.
In the 84th minute Cray retook the lead with a fine piece of instinctive finishing from Johnson when a quick throw in found Pritchard and his cross was not dealt with particularly well by the Guernsey defence and with a shot on the turn from just inside the area sent the ball crashing past Kelly into the top right hand corner.
Both sides to be fair to them had put a lot into the contest and there was a certain amount of fatigue in the latter stages but Cray very competently held out the remaining minutes and picked up a big three points especially with Hastings United also winning at home to Whitstable Town maintaining the seven point gap at the top.
Guernsey is not an easy place to come as they put so much effort into the game and their crowd get behind them very well. Cray though without being at their very best and with perhaps not the sufficient time for practice as they would have wanted should receive a lot of credit for keeping on going and now hopefully they can rest easy on the journey back to the mainland.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Tom Phipp (Zak Henry, 80), Sean Roberts, Bradley Pritchard, Wilberforce Ocran (Freddie Parker, 79), Junior Dadson, Jerome Federico (Archie Johnson, 68): Subs: Malik Solebo, Karl Dent
Booked: Nelson, Phipp
Guernsey: Jordan Kelly, Tom De La Mare, Jamie Dodd, Thomas Dodds, Frank Tobin, Liam Mahon, Dave Rihoy, Charlton Gauvain, William Fazackerly, Carlos Canha (Kyle Smith, 69), Matt Loaring (Glyn Dyer, 83): Subs: Ryan Zico-Black, Sebastian Skillen
Booked: Dodds, Gauvain, Dyer