Pre-Season Friendly – 1/8/19
Phoenix Sports 5
Bryon 12, Barry 29, Duah-Kessie 53, 68,
Solan 77 pen
Cray Wanderers 3
Taylor 9, 21, Dent 88
Pics: Jon Hilliger
Cray Wanderers August two match pre-season schedule began with a dramatic evening at Phoenix Sports which saw 8 goals and the home side emerge 5-3 winners after twice coming from behind early on to take control of the game after the break.
The game got off to an electric start and Joe Taylor gave Cray the lead in the 9th minute with a crisp close range finish but three minutes later Zak Bryon levelled for Phoenix. Taylor put Cray back in front with a tap in from Andre Coker’s cross but once again Phoenix rallied and just before the half hour Jack Barry headed home to make it 2-2.
The second half saw Phoenix seize control of the game and Jeff Duah-Kessie scored two well taken goals on 53 & 68 minutes and then Ryan Solan converted a penalty after Fred Agyemang was brought down to make it 5-2 with 13 minutes to go. Cray kept going and reduced the arrears two minutes from time with Karl Dent scoring his fourth goal in three games with a rasping drive but too far too late to launch a comeback.
This had the look of being a tough game after two very close league games between the teams last season but perhaps the free flowing nature of the game in the first half hour was unexpected. There was also a competitive feel to this local derby and there were one or two strong tackles flying in during the first half.
The game began quietly but after nine minutes Cray Wanderers went in front when the ball was worked down the right and Jerome Federico’s ball across into the area found Joe Taylor who got the better of a defender and placed the ball with accuracy past Steve Phillips and into the net.
Three minutes later, Phoenix were back on level terms when down the right the ball was squared to Zak Bryon who from 20 yards swept home a fine shot which gave Lewis Carey no chance to save.
Andre Coker was causing problems down the left and showed good pace to cut close to the byline and played the ball across to Taylor who poked the ball in from a couple of yards out despite the home side protestations for offside in the 21st minute.
Almost straight from the kick off Phoenix should have levelled when they sprung the offside trap and Jeff Duah-Kessie had the goal at his mercy but pulled his shot across goal and wide.
That was a short lived reprieve as in the 29th minute Phoenix drew level once again when Ryan Andrews found Lewis Clark down the left and his excellent cross was into the area was headed home by Jack Barry.
Cray almost went back in front for a third time when Federico slipped a neat pass through to Freddie Parker inside the area but Phillips did well to make a sprawling save.
Then Phoenix came close to taking the lead when Andrew Dythe’s cross from the right was met on the volley by Bryon but went just past the left post. Then Duah-Kessie hit a shot from 20 yards which was fielded by Carey.
The game though was getting a bit fractious before half time and a couple of stern challenges particularly one on Federico after play was stopped threatened to turn things nasty and perhaps harshly Tony Russell was sent to the sidelines but half time probably came at the right time to calm things down.
Half Time: 2-2
The teams emerged in the second half and Cray almost restored the lead when Federico’s cross from the right to the far post was met by the head of Aaron Rhule but just went away from goal.
Phoenix though were starting to look threatening and Kenny Aileru down the right put a ball into the box which was met by Bryon and his shot seemed goalbound but for a terrific one handed save by Carey pushing the ball behind for a corner. From the corner the ball came to Bryon whose snap shot was blocked.
In the 53rd minute, Phoenix took the lead when from Phillips ball out to the left flank to Bryon he worked his way towards the edge of the box and laid the ball across to Duah-Kessie who made no mistake from 12 yards.
The game lost a bit of its flow for a while as substitutions were made but Phoenix looked the most threatening and from a right wing corner the ball came to Barry and his header was cleared off the line. For Cray Charlie Allen found Parker but his effort went well off target.
In the 68th minute it was 4-2 when George Whitelock and Ryan Solan combined down the left to set up Duah-Kessie again who finished well into the bottom left corner.
That was the probably the decisive moment of the game and in the 77th minute, Phonenix were awarded a penalty when Charles Etumnu was adjudged to have tripped Fred Agyemang inside the area and Solan stroked home the spot-kick.
Towards the end Cray sought a consolation and Taylor came close to claiming a hat-trick with an attempted chip shot from just outside the area which sub keeper Martin Grant did well to claim. At the other end Agyemang cut in from the right and drove an angled shot just wide.
Cray did manage to pull a goal back with two minutes to go when the impressive Lee Lewis brought the ball forward down the right and found Federico who cut the ball back to Karl Dent who swept home a superb shot from just over 20 yards out but it was just a bit too late to spark an unlikely comeback.
In the end Phoenix Sports who look a side well equipped once again to make things difficult in the Isthmian South-East this season ran out winners but Cray perhaps not at their very best today have only a short rest before heading to Hayes & Yeading United on Saturday in a match between two Isthmian Division champions last season and look to end pre-season on a high.
Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Lee Lewis, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson (Karl Dent, 64), Tom Carlse, Tom Murphy (Charles Etumnu, 56), Jerome Federico, Charlie Allen, Andre Coker (Aaron Rhule, H/T), Freddie Parker, Joe Taylor
Phoenix Sports: Steve Phillips, Ryan Andrews, Lewis Clark, Jack Hopkins, Danny Young, Jack Barry, Andrew Dythe, Mahmoud Juma, Jeff Duah-Kessie, Zak Bryon, Kenny Aileru – Subs: George Whitelock, Lee Bird, Ryan Solan, Oliver Andrews, Connor McGrady, Fred Agyemang, Martin Grant
Referee: Ben Bowles
Assistants: Jack Owen, Thomas Fennelly