Ryman League Division One South – 29/11/16
Hythe Town 2
Cook 39, Sawyer 90+4
Cray Wanderers 3
Haynes 40, Scott 69, Dent 76
Cray Wanderers extended their unbeaten league run to five matches with an excellent win at Hythe Town to move back up to seventh place in the Ryman South league table.
In a high quality football match on a bitterly cold evening the Wands came close four times to scoring in the first twenty minutes before Hythe took the lead in the 39th minute through Dave Cook. Cray’s now famed resilience showed itself again when Danny Haynes levelled almost straight away. In the second half after a short spell of Hythe dominance Brandon Scott netted his fifth goal of the season to put the Wands in front and then Karl Dent gave Cray some breathing space with a well taken third goal. Hythe pulled a goal back through Frankie Sawyer with practically the last kick of the match but the Wands held on for a fine victory.
Cray went into the game in tenth place in the league and from the side which drew at Molesey on Saturday there were two changes to the starting line-up. Karl Dent came in for Lee Prescott whilst Sherwin Stanley started in place of Dane Luchford. Ben Mundele returned to the subs bench after missing the last couple of games.
Hythe were buoyant after winning a very physical contest against Bishops Stortford in the FA Trophy on Saturday and looked a good side when they beat Cray 1-0 at Hayes Lane back in September.
Cray got off to a zippy start to the game and came close in the third minute when Lea Dawson found Ade Osifuwa down the right who put a fine ball into the box and Sherwin Stanley turned the ball wide. Then Dent found Danny Haynes down the left who took on Ryan Johnson and cut inside and fired a shot wide of goal.
Hythe showed for the first time in attack when the Wands gave the ball away and Alfie May’s let fly with a shot which forced Sam Roach to get down to make a smart stop.
Then Brandon Scott made one of his trademark mazy runs out on the right and from just inside the area fired a shot which was saved by Joe Mant.
After fifteen minutes Cray came close again when Scott again put over an inviting cross which found Stanley who steered his header wide of the right post. For Hythe, Mulrooney-Skinner shot over the bar.
Four minutes Cray were unlucky again when Dent found Haynes who played in Scott down the right who beat the offside trap and from the edge of the six yard box hit a shot against the foot of the post and following up Haynes with a volley forced Mant to make a one handed save to push the ball away.
It looked like it was going to be one of them days when in the 20th minute, Haynes dinked ball to the edge of the penalty area found the head of Stanley whose flicked header came back off the crossbar.
The game then evened up for a spell with Sam Adams shooting over the top for Hythe and Mulrooney-Skinner once again tested Roach with a shot from distance.
The half seemed to be heading for a goalless first half when in the 39th minute, Hythe took the lead. A free kick from out on the right was floated in by Ben Wilson and Dave Cook’s header was touched against the crossbar by Roach but went in off the unfortunate Cray keeper.
Cray didn’t let that setback affect them and a minute later were deservedly back on terms when Scott’s cross from the right found Stanley who laid the ball back to Dent who in turn found Haynes down the left of the penalty area who curled an excellent strike wide of Mant and into the net.
It would been hard on Cray to have been behind at half time and after a tremendous first half the two teams went in at the break all square.
Half Time: 1-1
The second half began a bit more cagey with Osifuwa going off with a slight knock to be replaced by Ben Mundele.
Hythe were beginning to get on top of the game and a left wing cross by Wilson just missed the onrushing Mulrooney-Skinner. Then from a corner, the ball came to Kenny Pogue who directed a header which Roach did well to save.
The Wands then gave the ball away and Pogue charged through but were indebted to Roach again who blocked his sidefooted effort. Then from a corner Craig Cloke’s header was cleared almost off the line. Pogue then had the ball in the net for Hythe but was ruled offside.
Cray hadn’t created too many chances early in the second half but in the 69th minute took the lead when Dent played a superb ball through the heart of the Hythe defence to Scott who took two touches and then confidently rolled the ball through Mant’s legs and into the net.
This spurred Hythe into action and from another Wilson corner, Cook turned the ball over the bar and they looked threatening from setpieces.
However, in the 76th minute, Cray went 3-1 up with a goal out of nothing. Hythe got themselves in a mixup from Roberts pass through and Dent burst through showing great pace held off the challenge of a defender to place a shot which Mant got his hands too but couldn’t keep from going into the net.
Towards the end of the game, Dane Luchford saw an effort pushed behind by Mant. From the corner the ball came to Lee Prescott whose low shot was smothered by Mant. Cray’s last chance after a spell of good possession came when the excellent Jey Siva found Luchford who sent a volley over the bar.
Hythe though finished the game strongly and from a free kick on the edge of the area, Adams saw his fine effort crashed back off the crossbar.
In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Hythe pulled a goal back when Wilson’s corner down the left came to Frankie Sawyer who rifled home an excellent strike into the top right corner of the net.
Fortunately for Cray there was no time to be played and Cray held on for a tremendous victory, full of hard work, endeavour and some very skilful, attacking football. Hythe for their part had also looked a very decent side and don’t be surprised if they are still there or thereabouts come the end of the season. All the Wands side played well but special mentions for Siva and Dawson who were superb throughout the game.
Cray next face Godalming Town on Sunday afternoon before making another Kent coastal trip to Herne Bay on Tuesday.
Cray: Sam Roach, Ade Osifuwa (Ben Mundele, 55), Jey Siva, Jay Leader, Sol Taiwo, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Sean Roberts, Karl Dent (Lee Prescott, 77), Danny Haynes (Dane Luchford, 85), Sherwin Stanley, Brandon Scott: Subs: Timi Osidobu, Jai McKinlay
Booked: Haynes, Roberts
Hythe: Joe Mant, Matt Newman (Frankie Sawyer, 75), Ben Wilson, Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, Sam Adams, Kenny Pogue, Alfie May, Alex Mulrooney-Skinner (Liam King, 81): Subs: Josh Burchill, Charlie Webster, Chris Saunders.
Referee: Mike Marsh
Assistants: Kirsty Dowie, Kane Dempster