BetVictor Isthmian Premier – Saturday 19th October

Lewes                                                             2

Golding 23, Ilic 85

Cray Wanderers                                            3

Taylor 33, Nelson 45, Coker 50

 Cray Wanderers made it two wins in a week and remain unbeaten away from home in the Isthmian Premier after victory at Lewes on a sunny afternoon at the Dripping Pan.

This broke new ground with the Wands first ever league win against Lewes and did so after falling behind to a 23rd minute goal from Dayshonne Golding.  Cray though fought back and Joe Taylor’s immaculate lob made it 1-1 in the 33rd minute and on the stroke of half time Mitchell Nelson scored his first goal of the season.  Five minutes after the restart Andre Coker was on hand to score from six yards from Taylor’s assist and Cray had control of the game.  Lewes pulled a goal back with five minutes to go through Stefan Ilic but Cray held on to move up to 7th in the table and onto 20 points after 12 games.

For the starting lineup Tony Russell had the luxury of naming an unchanged side with Tom Phipp on the bench for Freddie Parker who has gone on loan to Whitstable Town the only alteration from the side which won at Merstham on Tuesday night.

Lewes came into the game 18th and this was manager Darren Freeman’s last game in charge but Cray’s previous record of eight defeats and just two draws against the Rooks meant nothing could be taken for granted.

In stark contrast to much of the weather of the last seven days, this game played in the unique and breathtaking setting of the Dripping Pan the match was played in constant sunshine with just the odd grey cloud and extremely mild.

Lewes got off to a decent start and in the 2nd minute a left wing cross from Dayshonne Golding just missed the head of Peter Gregory in the penalty area and the ball went across goal.  Then from outside the area a shot from Kayne Diedrick-Roberts was held by ex-Lewes keeper Lewis Carey.

After this the game became very sedate with Cray having plenty of the ball and playing some good football without quite having the cutting edge when it came close to goal perhaps the nearest to a goal came when down the right, Ben Mundele found Bradley Pritchard inside the area but his ball towards the far post was slightly overhit and drifted away from goal.

It came as a surprise in the 23rd minute when Lewes took the lead out of nothing when Gregory was brought down by Mitchell Nelson but managed to squeeze the ball through to Golding who broke into the area and slipped the ball past Carey and into the net.

Cray looked to hit back but Lewes almost grabbed a second when Charlie Coppola who got the winner here the last time the two sides played two seasons ago played a pass across to James Hammond who shot just over from 25 yards.

The Wands were looking to get on the front foot and Tom Carlse made a run forward but his shot from just outside the area lacked power and was comfortable for Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke in the Lewes goal.

The game got a little bit fractious on the half hour when Karl Dent and Golding were booked after a bit of a scuffle close to the touchline but this soon passed.

In the 33rd minute Cray got back on level terms with a superb piece of finishing from Taylor when down the right he received a pass from Charlie Allen and from quite a tight angle managed to lob the ball past Stroomberg-Clarke and high into the net for his15th goal of the season.

Cray now had the ascendancy and Dent from a similar position to Taylor’s goal lofted the ball towards goal but landed on the roof of the net.  Then the Wands had to make a change in the 38th minute when Ben Mundele went off with a dead leg to be replaced by Tom Murphy.

On the stroke of half-time Cray went ahead when after a free kick 20 yards from goal Dent’s ball into the area was on two occasions only half cleared under pressure from Bradley Pritchard and the ball fell to Nelson who hit a first time shot low into the bottom right corner of the net and Cray had turned the game around completely.

Half Time: 1-2

The second half began with Cray carrying on where they left off at the end of the first half and five minutes after the restart the Wands went 3-1 up.  From a throw in down the left, the ball came to Taylor whose ball across was hard to defend against and Dent left the ball to Andre Coker who from four yards turned the ball home.

Cray now had a good level of control of the game and a terrific passing move saw Dent and Murphy combine to put Taylor through but his shot was saved although the flag was raised for offside.

Then Carey’s ball towards the impressive Taylor was flicked on to Coker who played a pass to Pritchard who was unlucky to see his volley blocked by a defender.

The Wands were looking for a fourth goal to kill the game off and came close to do so when from down the left the ball came to Murphy just inside the area and his shot on the turn went just wide of goal.

For Lewes a free kick out on the left from Stefan Ilic was floated towards goal but Gregory couldn’t get a decent connection and the ball glanced off his head and behind.

This was followed by another Cray chance as Taylor set up Allen who had a superb match covering every blade of grass who saw his shot blocked inside the area for what would have been his first Cray goal.

Lewes looked to pull a goal back and Jordy Mongoy saw a shot deflected behind for a corner from a shot just outside the area.  From a corner, Cray almost broke away for a fourth goal when Coker picked up the ball on the edge of his own area, ran forward and into the penalty area and drove a shot at the near post  which Stroomberg-Clarke did well to parry and push behind for a corner.

Just as the game was beginning to wind down, Lewes made it a dramatic finish in the 85th minute when they pulled a goal back.  Down the left, Mongoy left fly with a shot which was pushed out by Carey and following up to the loose ball Ilic rifled a shot into the net.

Despite the goal, Cray were very clever in the remaining minutes and took the sting out of the game with some good possession football and managed to keep Carey well protected and the Wands saw out the match and end their Lewes hoodoo.

The win capped off a good week of travels for Cray and now move up to 7th but face a tough test in their next game on Tuesday night when they travel to 2nd placed Horsham and to their new ground for the first time.  Cray though can go into the match with confidence and are starting to hit top form.


Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Barney Williams (Capt.), Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Charlie Allen, Bradley Pritchard, Karl Dent (Tom Phipp, 65), Ben Mundele (Tom Murphy, 38), Andre Coker, Joe Taylor:  Subs:  Jerome Federico, Lee Lewis, Geofrey Okonkwo


Booked:          Nelson, Dent


Lewes:            Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke, Thomas Day, Leon Redwood, Michael Dome-Bemwin, Frankie Chappell, Alex Malins (Capt.), Charlie Coppola (Teddy Bloor, 82), James Hammond, Peter Gregory (Jordy Mongoy, 73), Kayne Diedrick-Roberts (Stefan Ilic, 53), Dayshonne Golding


Booked:          Golding         



Referee:  Shelby Elson           

Assistants:  Robert Walczak, Andrew Dunn  


Attendance – 648