Bostik League South-East – Saturday 27th April, 2019
Hythe Town 1
Cray Wanderers 3
Parker 15, Taylor 36, Rowe o. g. 78
Cray Wanderers completed their Bostik South-East title winning season with a professional and highly polished victory at a grey and windy Hythe Town to finish the season on 82 points and to win the championship by 8 points.
Although there wasn’t much riding on the game there was much to admire about the Cray performance against a very good Hythe Town side and two first half goals from Freddie Parker and Joe Taylor taking both strikers to 13 for the season gave Cray the lead at the break. Hythe pulled a goal back through an Ollie Rowe header halfway through the second half but Cray restored the two goal advantage twelve minutes from time when Barney Williams cross-shot was turned into his own net by Rowe.
From the side which lost at home to Sevenoaks on Monday there were one or two changes with Marcus Evans coming in for Mitchell Nelson while Ben Mundele moved to centre-half. Barney Williams came in for Jay Leader, Archie Johnson for Sean Roberts, Joe Taylor for Junior Dadson and Bradley Pritchard for Charles Etumnu. Hythe were looking for a third consecutive seventh place finish in the league and a very consistent club and it looked to be a tough end of season game for Cray.
The Wands started well and almost scored in the first minute when Freddie Parker played the ball out to Jerome Federico down the right and he cut inside and drove in a shot which was held by George Kamurasi. Then Lee Lewis and Archie Johnson combined down the left to set up Tom Carlse but his cross into the box was claimed by Kamurasi.
The game then went through a quiet phase until the fifteenth minute when Cray went in front when the impressive Bradly Pritchard’s through ball found Parker through the middle and charged into the area, took the ball round Kamurasi and from a tight angle squeezed the ball into the net via a defender a line. This made it three straight games in which Parker had scored and took his total to the season to 13.
Hythe showed that they posed a threat and a ball was switched out to the left to Sidney Sollis who cut inside and unleashed a shot which went just over the crossbar.
The game was being played at a brisk pace and Parker shot wide from Johnson’s pass while at the other end, Hythe won a corner from which the ball came to Charlie Webster who fired wildly wide of goal.
On 32 minutes Cray came close to a second when Pritchard fired in a shot from the edge of the area which was pushed round the right post by Kamurasi for a corner. From the corner, Pritchard’s cross was fired wide by Lewis. Then Federico and Pritchard combined to set up Parker inside the area but Kamurasi got a hand to the ball and ran away before he could get a shot in on goal.
In the 36th minute Cray deservedly went two nil up when Taylor hooked a cross out to Federico down the right and his first time cross found Taylor inside the area who drilled a low shot into the net to also make it to 13 goals for the season.
Before half time Taylor set up Pritchard for a half hit shot which went through to Kamurasi and from a corner in the last minute of the half, Pritchard’s cross was met by the head of Ben Mundele but was claimed by the keeper.
Half Time: 0-2
The intensity of the game seemed to drop at the start of the second half and there was a bit more of an end of season feel to the game but there was still much to admire about the Cray performance which was solid at the back and looking to be inventive going forward.
The Wands almost scored a third when Carlse combined well with substitute Junior Dadson down the left who curled a shot fractionally past the right post with a well struck shot. Then Taylor set up Parker whose shot was blocked by a defender.
This was followed by Taylor playing the ball out to Pritchard down the right and his terrific ball across was just missed by the onrushing Dadson. Then Jordan Clarke saw a cross from Parker’s pass claimed by Kamurasi.
In the 67th minute Hythe showed their qualities by pulling a goal back. From a free kick 25 yards from goal, Ryan Palmer in a central position played the ball into the area and Ollie Rowe met the ball with a firm header and into the bottom right corner to make it game on once again.
Hythe had a half chance to level when from a free kick out on the left of the area, Zak Ansah set up Kieron Campbell who lashed a shot well over.
In the 78th minute Cray restored the two goal advantage when after a patient build up, Evans played the ball out to the right to Williams who drove in a cross-shot which just brushed the fingers of Kamurasi and deflected off Rowe and into the net before a Cray player could get a touch.
This gave Cray the platform to see out the remaining minutes and Parker looking to go ahead in the leading scorer race saw a shot held from Taylor’s layoff and then Sean Roberts found Carlse down the left and his shot was well held by Kamurasi.
Before the end Cray almost grabbed a fourth when Clarke found Taylor who was denied by a save from Kamurasi’s legs and finally from another Clarke assist, Parker shot just over but Cray had played very well and showed their qualities in what could have been a very difficult game and picked up another three points to finish the season on a high.
Already there has been much talk about next season and the new life back in the Bostik Premier but for now Cray can look back on a deserved title triumph and a chance to enjoy it before the exciting challenge that awaits.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Barney Williams (Capt.), Tom Carlse, Ben Mundele, Marcus Evans, Bradley Pritchard, Lee Lewis (Sean Roberts, 74), Freddie Parker, Joe Taylor, Archie Johnson (Junior Dadson, 53), Jerome Federico (Jordan Clarke, H/T): Subs: Charles Etumnu, Joe Vines
Hythe Town: George Kamurasi, Jack Smith, Charlie Webster, Elliott Capel (Salvyn Kisitu, 51), Ollie Rowe, Mitchell Dickenson, Ryan Palmer, Tom Carlton, Tom Walmsley (Zak Ansah, 51), Sid Sollis (Arthur Pickering, 62), Kieron Campbell: Subs: Jude Harding, Alistair Carney
Referee: Joe Stokes
Assistants: Harry Wager, Richard Joss