Margate vs Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier, Monday 26th December – Match Report


Margate                                  0

Cray Wanderers                     3

Derry 35, Cook 47

Allen 76

Cray Wanderers finished 2022 in 3rd place and three points off the top of the Isthmian Premier after a professional performance at Margate earned with three classy goals and a clean sheet. The win means just one defeat in the last 14 Isthmian Premier League games.

Cray edged the opening half hour and went in front in the 35th minute when Sam Wood’s free kick close to the right by line aimed to the near post was headed in by Tom Derry for his sixth goal of the season and his second in successive games.  The Wands extended their lead two minutes after the restart with a stunning 25 yard strike from Anthony Cook who has also been in a rich vein of form and notched his eighth goal of the campaign.

Margate were reduced to ten men on the hour when Sam Blackman was sent off for a second bookable offence and Cray made the man advantage tell in the last half hour and added to their lead in the 76th minute when substitute Josh Allen on his Wands debut on loan from Luton Town finished well down the left from Harrison Sodje’s pass and the points were secured.

Cray came into the game on the back of six league games unbeaten and having won the last two games and from the side which beat Billericay Town in such dramatic fashion on 17th December there were a couple of changes with David Ijaha and Tom Derry coming in for Mitch Chapman and Yahaya Bamba.  

Margate were 16th coming into the game and had been beaten by Hastings United on Tuesday evening and there were three changes to their starting lineup with ex-Wands Ethan Kaiser, Harry Hudson and Freddy Barton coming in for Reiss Chandler, Korrey Henry and James Bessey-Saldanha.

On a bright, sunny and reasonably mild early Boxing Day afternoon the opening exchanges were a little bit sleepy but Cray were playing with some confidence while Margate seemed a touch apprehensive going forward.

An early Wands free kick from Sam Wood aiming for Tom Derry went just across the box and Cray created the first real chance when Derry got away down the left and put over a cross for Danny Bassett who seemed certain to score but his shot was deflected over the bar by Peter Ojemen for a corner.

There was a half opening for Margate from a corner with Kaiser heading wide of goal and then Matty McArthur tested Shaun Rowley with a shot which was comfortably held

Cray though continued to look the better side and in the 27th minute from a free kick down the right of the area, Anthony Cook’s shot towards the near post was pushed out well by David Jinadu and as the ball came back out of the area Bassett fired over.

A goal for Cray was definitely coming and duly did five minutes later from a free kick down the right close to the by line from which Wood’s ball to the near post was headed home in imperious style by Tom Derry.

Three minutes before half time Cray came close to a second goal when Bassett down the left put over a cross which Derry helped on and came to Cook who shot wide of the right post.

Margate threatened just before half time and Ben Greenhalgh saw a shot well saved by Rowley and for Cray, Bassett drove a shot across goal and off target. Finally for Margate, Sam Blackman saw an effort go wide of goal.

HT:  0-1

Margate started the second half in a positive manner and almost scored with a minute when Blackman fired wide of the left post.

Cray though got the the second goal their performance merited and was well worth waiting for as from a break Anthony Cook picked up the ball around 25 yards from goal and on the half volley hit a screamer past Janedu and high into the top left hand corner of the net. 

Margate looked to get back into it and from a free kick the ball came to David Smith who shot wide of the left post but their hopes of a comeback were dashed when Blackman was sent off for a second bookable offence on the hour after a fairly sturdy challenge on Cook.

Cray looked to make their man advantage tell and from a Sam Wood corner into the area came to Cook whose shot was blocked and came to Derry who turned the ball wide.

Then Bassett set up Nyren Clunis whose shot was deflected off Kaiser for a corner.  From the corner, Wood’s cross was headed wide by Jalen Jones.

New loan striker Josh Allen came on for Bassett in the 71st minute and five minutes later made a dream debut as he latched onto Harrison Sodje’s defense splitting pass and down the left of the area tucked a shot under Janedu and into the net.

Cray continued on the attack and Cook was unlucky not to score a second but his shot was punched away well by Janedu.

Margate almost got on the scoresheet when Barton’s shot was deflected behind for a corner. From the corner the ball fell to Cameron Brodie who sent a free header wide of the left post.

Cray came close to scoring a fourth in the closing stages and Sam Skeffington set up Clunus who scooped a shot just wide of the right post.

Then after  a sweet paassing move Jephte Tanga who had an oustanding match found Skeffington who flicked the ball into the path of Clunis who shot wide.

The final chance came in stoppage time when Skeffington who had scored in two of the previous three games was unlucky to see his curling shot go just wide but the points had been long in the bag and Cray end 2022 in 3rd place on 39 points.  Margate after the defeat parted company with manager Andy Drury and remain 16th.

This was a very professional performance from Cray with all the players playing well and with confidence and now only Hornchurch have scored more goals than the Wands who have 43 goals from 23 games played.  Jephte Tanga and Harrison Sodje continue to impress whilst on loan from Leyton Orient and Josh Allen showed his quality after just a couple of earlier touches to score on his Wands debut.  Cray now go into the New Year with a home Kent derby against Herne Bay and looking to maintain a fine recent run going into 2023.

Margate: Daniel Jinadu, Ethan Kaiser, Harry Hudson, Sam Blackman, David Smith (James Bessey-Saldanha, 85), Ben Greenhalgh, Freddy Barton, Peter Ojemen, Emmanuel Oke, Matty McArthur (Montel Deslandes, 71), Marvin Herschel (Cameron Brodie, 60): Subs:  Reiss Chandler, Korrey Henry

Sent Off: Blackman (2 cautions)

Booked: Ojemen, Blackman, Greenhalgh, Brodie

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Jephte Tanga, Matthew Weaire, Jalen Jones, Harrison Sodje, Sam Wood (Sam Skeffington, 82), David Ijaha (Mitch Chapman, 82), Anthony Cook, Danny Bassett (Josh Allen, 71), Nyren Clunis, Tom Derry:  Subs: Sinn’kaye Christie, Leevi King-Bassett

Booked: Clunis

Referee: Simon Finnigan

Att: 502