Lewes vs Cray Wanderers –  Isthmian Premier – Tuesday 25th January, 2022

Match Report

Lewes                                                                         2

Cray Wanderers                                                        0

Cray Wanderers first of four consecutive Tuesday night away games ended in defeat as promotion chasing Lewes put a dent in the Wands battle to avoid relegation with a goal in each half to claim the three points

 The first half looked like ending goalless as the game entered stoppage time but on the stroke of half time Lewes went in front when from a Ollie Tanner corner Joe Taylor at the near post seemed to get a flick but looked initially looked like the ball had gone into the net via keeper Bailey Vose.   Any hopes Cray had of getting back in the game right after half time were dashed as Razz Coleman-De Graft fired in a sweet strike which in off the left post.  Although Cray finished the game well Grant Basey’s side couldn’ t quite find a killer touch in front of goal and Lewes just had that much more of a cutting edge on the evening.  As a result Cray return to the bottom three on 23 points while Lewes remained 3rd after all the top 6 sides won their games.  

Cray were looking to build on the momentum of the 5-4 win against Carshalton Athletic on Saturday and from the side which started that game there was a debut for loanee signing Nazir Bakrin from the Charlton Athletic U23s as centre half for Richie Danquah while Jacob Munting made his first start for the club in place of Jai Reason.   There was one change to the Lewes lineup to the team which drew with Brightlingsea on Saturday with Deshane Dalling coming in for Iffy Allen.  

The game began at a decent pace and Cameron Brodie had an early shot blocked but Lewes edged the opening exchanges and Dalling saw a shot deflected behind for a corner from which the ball reached the far post and Tom Phipp got to the ball first to head over the bar. 

Then down the right, Juevan Spencer set up Dalling for a shot which went just past the right post.  This was followed by a good ball out from the back by Mitchell Nelson finding Joe Taylor in the area but his shot was well blocked and then from a free kick out on the left, Tanner’s cross to the far post was fired wide by Razz Coleman De-Graft.

The game began to even out but Lewes still just had the edge in terms of openings and a snap shot from Michael Klass was well held by Vose and Coleman De-Graft saw a shot blocked.

 Cray were looking to put some good movement together especially down the right and came close to scoring when Jamie Yila’s cross went just across the box with no-one to get on the end of it.   Then with Cray looking more confident, Luca Albon did well to set up Chris Dickson who found space just outside the area but his curled effort went just over the bar.

 With five minutes to go until half time, Lewes just began to exert pressure and Klass set up Tanner for an on target shot which was well pushed out by Vose.  Then from a free kick out on the left, the ball was played to the far post and glanced against the post by Will Salmon.

 As the half went into added on time which was perhaps surprising as there were not many stoppages Coleman-De Graft’s shot was deflected behind for a corner. The cross from the right by Tanner towards the near post looked to have got a glance goalwards from Joe Taylor but Vose couldn’t stop the ball from going into the net so perhaps one for the dubious goals panel with what was the last kick of the half.

 HT: 1-0

 Cray looked to start the second half more on the front foot but once again found the Lewes defence a tough nut to crack with Salmon particularly impressive at the back. 

 Lewes were causing a few problems down the left and a cross found Taylor who set up Coleman-De Graft for a shot which was held by Vose.

 In the 54th minute, Lewes increased their lead when Coleman De-Graft picked up a loose ball and with space from just outside the area was able to fire in a shot which hit the left post and into the net which perhaps summed up that maybe luck wasn’t going to be on Cray’s side this evening.

 Lewes were beginning to look dangerous each time they attacked and Coleman De-Graft set up Taylor for a shot which was deflected through to Vose to save. 

 Cray were still in the game but just about but did finish the game well and gave it their all in the last half hour.  After some good passing down the left, Kasim Aidoo found Yila and his cross across the box was aiming for Tom Hanfrey but his ball back across was put behind for a corner.

Then Munting and Anthony Cook combined to set up Luca Albon for a stinging shot which forced a good parried save from Lewis Carey and the ball came to Freddy Barton who fired over the bar. From a free kick out on the right, Barton’s ball into the area was cleared out to Jai Reason who volleyed a shot straight to Carey.  Then Yila and Erald Desa down the left set up Munting who shot wide of goal.

It appeared towards the end that Lewes were taking a bit of a breather ahead of a trip to Hornchurch on Saturday but Taylor who was fairly well marshalled by Hanfrey hit a shot on the turn which was held by Vose.

Towards the end, Brodie who had another excellent game for Cray in midfield curled a shot just over from just outside the area. Then a free kick was glanced off target by Reason.

The last real action for the Wands came a couple of minutes from time when Brodie down the right hit a shot which was held by Carey.

 Cray had given their all and at the end were beaten but not totally outclassed and the whole complexion of the game changed with the goal with the last kick of the first half when the Wands were well in the match.

There were some good Wands performances, Bakrin who had made a couple of first team appearance for Charlton Athletic this season looked steady and composed on his debut and Hanfrey did well up against the sharp as a tack Taylor and Aidoo continues to impress down the left. Brodie was superb once again and Munting did well in central midfield against Tom Phipp who I felt was Lewes man of the match.  This was always going to be a tough ask against a Lewes who have too many good players not to be in the playoffs in my opinion but you couldn’t fault the Wands effort, application and desire on the night.  

The defeat, coupled with Bowers & Pitsea winning meant Cray moved back down into 20th place and now go into a crucial match at Brightlingsea Regent who are one place and one point ahead of Cray on Saturday.  

Lewes:  Lewis Carey, Juevan Spencer, Tom Carlse, Will Salmon, Mitchell Nelson, Michael Klass, Tom Phipp, Deshane Dalling (Casey Pettit, 70), Ollie Tanner (Iffy Allen, 87),  Razz Coleman-De Graft, Joe Taylor: Subs: Kenneth Yao, Reece Gillies, Roman Hall          

 Scorers:         Taylor 45+2, Coleman De-Graft 54

 Booked:         Dalling

 Cray Wanderers:  Bailey Vose, Freddy Barton, Nazir Bakrin, Tom Hanfrey, Kasim Aidoo, Cameron Brodie, Jacob Munting, Anthony Cook, Luca Albon (Jai Reason, 70), Jamie Yila (Kyel Reid, 84), Chris Dickson (Erald Desa, 75): Subs: Emanuel Oduguwa, Richie Danquah

 Booked:         Cook        

 Att:      570