Lewes vs Cray Wanderers
Isthmian Premier – Saturday 12th November, 3pm – Match Report
Cray Wanderers 0
Cray Wanderers made it six league games unbeaten after picking up a useful point at Lewes in a match pitting two draw specialists and playing the last 25 minutes with ten men after Mitch Chapman was sent off.
That there were no goals was not through a lack of effort or chances as both keepers made some fine stops particularly Lewes’ Lewis Carey who made six good saves in both halves particularly to deny Danny Bassett on three occasions and Ben Krauhaus. For Lewes, the dangerous Razz Coleman De-Graft came close with some cross-shots which Shaun Rowley had to push away and a good blocked save to deny Bradley Pritchard in the first half.
The Wands who were on top at the start of the second half saw Chapman dismissed in the 64th minute for what was deemed a two footed tackle on Tyrique Hyde by the left touchline but Cray despite soaking up some late pressure held out for a deserved point against a Lewes side now unbeaten in eight league games and one of three sides yet to lost at home.
The match was notable for ex Lewes manager Tim O’Shea and Assistant Neil Smith in the Wands dugout and ex Cray Wanderers manager Tony Russell and Assistant Joe Vines on the Lewes bench.
Neil Smith made just the one change to the side which beat Aveley last Saturday with Sinn’kaye Christie coming in for Freddie Carter. Sam Wood, who hadn’t played since the Hanwell Town cup tie was on the bench. With both sides in good form, there were no changes to the Lewes lineup from the side which beat Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday night.
On a very mild and sunny mid November afternoon, there was an impeccably observed minute silence to commemorate Remembrance weekend.
Two attack minded sides were never going to play cagey and Cray came close in the 3rd minute when Dan Bassett cut inside from the left and his shot was pushed away well by ex-Wands keeper Lewis Carey.
Lewes then had a good spell and had a couple of efforts blocked and corners and came close in the 9th minute when Jamie Mascoll, another former Cray Wanderers player, down the left whipped the ball across the box and Sinn’kaye Christie cleared the ball almost off the line.
Then Razz Coleman De Graft down the left saw a cross put behind by the impressive Kellen Fisher for a corner. For Cray, Ben Krauhaus made a run through midfield and curled a shot wide of the left post.
Just after the quarter of an hour mark, from a free kick in a dangerous position, Mascoll curled a shot over the top and the pace of the game which was unrelenting continued as Krauhaus’ cross from the right was volleyed wide by Bassett at the far post.
In the 20th minute, Tyrique Hyde and Coleman De Graft combined to set up Mascoll down and his ball towards the near post was turned wide by Bradley Pritchard.
Then a free kick out on the left from Mascoll was flicked goalwards by Colemand De Graft but was claimed by Shaun Rowley who then shot wide.
For Cray, from a corner down the left, Krauhaus’ ball into the area was cleared out to Harrison Sodje who fired over. Then Bassett down the left put a ball across which no-one could get on the end of and across goal.
Perhaps the best chance for Lewes came to former Wands player of the year, Pritchard who was found by Joe Taylor’s pass and his shot was turned away well by Rowley.
Cray ended the first half well though and Sam Skeffington shot wide and then were unlucky not to score when from a Chapman corner the ball came to Kellen Fisher whose ball towards goal required Carey to tip over the bar.
Then just before half time, Bassett was denied by a good save from Carey’s legs from Krauhaus’ pass but after a half with barely a break in play there were no goals at half time.
The second half continued in the same vein and Coleman De Graft down the left saw his cross-shot claimed well by Rowley.
Then up the other end, Cray broke with pace and Bassett was again denied by a good Carey parry at the near post down the left. Shortly after, Fisher set up Nyren Clunis who fired wide of the right post.
For the Wands, who were playing very well at the start of the second half were once again thwarted by Carey when Sodje’s shot from outside the box was pushed over.
The game was briefly held up when the pitch sprinkler system went off unexpectedly before the hour and then Coleman De Graft saw a shot down the left take a deflection over for a corner.
Perhaps Cray’s best chance of the game came shortly after as Bassett who caused a lot of problems for Lewes down the left broke away and unselfishly set up Krauhaus who set himself up for a shot which again Carey did well to turn aside.
Cray then suffered a setback in the 64th minute when Mitch Chapman was adjudged to have gone in two footed in a challenge on Hyde but the left touchline and was dismissed with a straight red card.
Coleman De Graft again shot over but Cray were unlucky not to go ahead despite being a man short when Clunis’ cross was headed wide of the left post by Bassett.
Cray had soaked up a fair bit of pressure as the game went into the latter stages but defensively were immense with Jalen Jones outstanding and kept possibly the best striker in the division, Joe Taylor quiet and Christie next to him did the same to Rhys Murrell-Williamson. The two full backs, Fisher and Sodje were very disciplined at this stage of the game and worked hard to close Lewes down.
The unlucky Bassett was once again thwarted by another Carey save, pushing the ball away well as he did all game with his saves. At the other end, Rowley was another very impressive performer and did well again to make a block save from Coleman De Graft.
Lewes exerted pressure and substitute Deshane Dalling was lively when he came on and one one was denied by a good block from Rowley.
For Cray, substitute Yahaya Bamba shot over and at the other end, Lewes threatened when Marcel Elva-Fountaine’s cross was met by a volley from Alfie Young which went straight into the arms of Rowley.
With six minutes of added on time there was still time for a winner but Cray had defended superbly when down to ten men and almost snatched an unlikely winner when Anthony Cook shot wide. The last action came when Dalling down the left shot over but in the end the whistle went on a very good game of football which would have been one for the connoisseur and but for the keepers there would have been goals. It would have been travesty though if Cray hadn’t taken something from the game.
Cray remained 8th in the table with 24 points and five points outside the playoffs but only seven behind leaders Potters Bar Town.
Cray are next in action on Saturday at home to Wingate & Finchley before a run of five straight away games in league and cup during November – early December.
Lewes: Lewis Carey, Marcel Elva-Fontaine, Jamie Mascoll, Will Salmon, Tom Champion, Alfie Young, Tyrique Hyde, Bradley Pritchard (Jack Skinner, 61), Razz Coleman De-Graft, Rhys Murrell-Williamson (Deshane Dalling, 71), Joe Taylor:
Subs: Mitchell Nelson, Ayo Olukoga, Johnville Renee
Booked: Skinner, Hyde
Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Kellen Fisher, Jalen Jones, Sinn’Kaye Christie, Harrison Sodje, Sam Skeffington, Mitch Chapman, Ben Krauhaus (Anthony Cook, 65), Nyren Clunis (Yahaya Bamba, 77), Dan Bassett (Sam Wood, 90+2), Tom Derry: Subs: Michael Ademiluyi, Cerny Ando
Sent Off: Chapman 64
Booked: Sodje, Cook