Whitstable Town v Cray Wanderers

Pre-Season Friendly – 22/8/20

Whitstable Town                                   1

Rowe 20

Cray Wanderers                                  0

Cray Wanderers travelled to a sunny if breezy Whitstable Town for the third pre-season game and it was the home side who proved victorious courtesy of Ollie Rowe’s 20th minute goal in a game which saw the welcome return of spectators to football

It was a game of few real chances but over the 90 minutes, the Oystermen created the better opportunities and defended well with the closest Cray came was late on when Joe Taylor fired just wide.

Cray were looking to rebound from the 4-2 loss at Corinthian on Tuesday night while Whitstable had beaten Thanet United and won at Deal Town on Tuesday as both tune up for the start of their respective league season.

The game got off to a cagey start with both feeling each other out but it was Whitstable who came closest in the opening quarter of an hour with Aaron Millbank making a run forward and from 18 yards lifted his shot over the bar.  Then after Freddie Parker saw an attempted shot blocked, Millbank again threatened down the left, cut inside and shot fractionally wide of the right post.

In the 20th minute, Whitstable took the lead when following the award of a free kick five yards outside the area down the left, the ball was floated into a  crowded penalty area and experienced centre-half Ollie Rowe was on hand to divert the ball past Lewis Carey into the bottom right corner.

It was close to being 2-0 moments later when once again a good ball in from the left found Tijan Jadama who from 14 yards fired wide.

Cray were looking to get back into it and  Trialist 2 fired over from a free kick down the left and then from the other side, Rhys Murrell-Williamson curled a shot over.  Then Trialist 1 down the left played a ball into the area and Parker’s header lacked direction and was claimed by keeper Dan Eason.

Before half-time, Whitstable again threatened through the nippy and confident Jadama whose shot from 25 yards was deflected past the right post for a corner.

For Cray, Murrell-Williamson was unlucky to see his cross-shot from the right into the area not get a touch to turn the ball goalwards and went behind.

Finally for the first half, from a corner down the right, the ball was cleared out to Barney Williams who from 25 yards fired over the bar.

The second half saw Cray make some changes with Joe Taylor, Bradley Pritchard, Mitchell Nelson & Ben Mundele amongst the newcomers to the match.

Cray began a bit more on the front foot and after a patient buildup Lee Lewis found Pritchard who hit a shot from just outside the area which was well fielded by Eason.  Then again Lewis was provider with a pass to Trialist 2 who again hit a shot on target which Eason held well at the second attempt.

Whitstable who were defending very stoutly were also a threat in attack and Millbank who had a good game up front was unlucky to see his header saved well by Carey but would have been offside if the ball had gone in.

Then Whitstable came close once again when a fine ball was played through to Millbank who bore down on goal but was denied by an excellent save from Carey and following up Liam Gillies saw his shot deflected behind for a corner.

For Cray there were half openings really with Lewis firing over from distance and then Tom Carlse and Trialist 2 combined down the left to set up Joe Taylor whose attempted shot inside the area was blocked.

Whitstable continued to look most likely to score again and Gillies fired over and Rowe had the ball in the net again but was disallowed for a foul in the buildup.

Perhaps Crays best chance came eight minutes from the end when good combination play ended with Bradley Pritchard’s ball across from the right finding Taylor who from eight yards stabbed the ball wide of the right post.

The Oystermen nearly wrapped it up with a second goal when a substitute trialist broke down the right of the area but was denied by a superb save from Roman Hall who spread himself well to block the shot and went behind for a corner.

Despite, Cray’s best endeavours they couldn’t fashion a chance late on and Whitstable over the course of the game deserved to win the game and looked a side on this display capable of holding their own in the Isthmian South this season.

Cray meanwhile head to VCD Athletic on Wednesday night for the next game and just getting to that stage where the team that starts the season in September should start to take shape.

Finally, it is well worth a mention to the Whitstable Town matchday staff who with only three full days notice helped put on a game for the spectators and were friendly, courteous and helpful and played a blinder in helping the fans keep safe and to enjoy the game.

Cray:      Lewis Carey, Barney Williams, Martin Onoabaghbe, Jay Leader, Tom Carlse, Tom Phipp, Trialist 1, Lee Lewis, Rhys Murrell-Williamson, Trialist 2, Freddie Parker: 2nd half changes, Roman Hall, Ben Mundele, Mitchell Nelson, Trialist 3, Jerome Federico, Trialist 4, Bradley Pritchard, Joe Taylor

Whitstable Town:  Dan Eason, Ollie Gray, James Brown, Luke Girt, Ollie Rowe, Tom Bryant, Tijan Jadama, Charles Etumnu, Aaron Millbank, Trialist 1, Jay Hards:  2nd half subs: Liam King, Liam Gillies, Trialist 2, Muhammed Cham

Referee:              Kane Dempster

Att:        152