Pre-season Friendly – 26/8/20

VCD Athletic    2   Cray Wanderers   4  (Parker 30, 35, 68, Trialist (2) 58)

Photos – Kindly provided by Jon Hilliger

Cray Wanderers pre-season campaign cranked back into gear after a couple of defeats with a rousing match at VCD Athletic and Cray came back from an early goal down to score four good goals and Freddie Parker for the second straight pre-season claimed the match ball with a classy hat-trick.

On a perfect night for football and on an impeccable playing surface the game got off to a flying start with Cray fast out of the traps and Bradley Pritchard and Joe Taylor combined to set up Jerome Federico who hit a snap shot which went just past the left post after 2 minutes.

A minute later, VCD took the lead when one of three ex-Wands in the starting lineup, Nick Blue’s ball forward was flicked on and Malachi Hudson made a run and slipped a great ball through to Paul Vines which just beat the offside trap and with typical efficiency rolled the ball into the net under Lewis Carey.

Cray looked to hit back and Parker saw a close range effort blocked by a defender but it was VCD who looked dangerous in attack.  Firstly, the no 19 who was a threat down the right flank cut inside and hit a sweet strike which thudded off the angle of post and crossbar.

Then Hudson set up the no 3 again down the right whose angled drive was deflected off Jay Leader for a corner.

Cray though found their feet and Ben Mundele hit a swinging shot from down the right which was well claimed by Blue.  Then Mundele again strode forward and his effort hit the stanchion behind the right post.

Goal attempts were coming at both ends with Hudson’s shot for VCD’ held by Carey and then Trialist 1 set up Federico whose shot went just wide of the left post once again.

Another goal in the game was on the cards and came on the half hour after a slick spell of Wands passing involving Federico, Joe Taylor and Pritchard who found Parker who burst into the box and from 12 yards placed the ball wide of Blue into the net.

Shortly after Federico’s shot was deflected for a corner and then in the 35th minute Cray quickly turned the game around. From a left wing corner Pritchard swung a great ball to the far post where Jay Leader nodded the ball towards goal where Parker showed a poachers instinct to prod in from a couple of yards.

VCD almost got back on level terms when Vines again broke the offside trap and a shot on the turn from 20 yards went fractionally wide of the right post.

Before the break Parker tested Blue with a shot that was held but a breathless half ended with Cray with a slender advantage.

The second half continued in the same vein and early on the no 3 hit a shot from distance which Carey got down to save.

Then for Cray an excellent spell of pressure and possession from Cray ended with a rasper of a shot from Tom Phipp which just grazed the crossbar from about 30 yards.

Cray made a four way substitution a few minutes into the second half with Tom Carlse, Rhys Murrell-Williamson, Emmanuel Oduguwa and a trialist who had greatly impressed in the pre-season games so far.

In the 58th he scored his first goal for Cray Wanderers and was a cracker when from 25 yards in a central position with space he flashed an unstoppable shot wide of Blue to make it 3-1.

Then he set combined with Parker to set up the other trialist who again let fly with a shot which went narrowly over.

Then came one of the highlights when the second half trialist again tried his luck with a shot which Blue did superbly to push over the bar.  This was followed by good set up play by Parker who found Murrell-Williamson who was unlucky to see his shot go over from outside the box.

On 68 minutes, Cray scored an excellent fourth goal which saw a number of passes and eventually when the ball was played out to the left, Carlse made a strong run forward into the area and laid the ball back to Parker whose initial shot was blocked. Then Murrell-Williamson looked to find space on the edge of the area and he too was denied by a block but fell invitingly to Parker just outside the area and placed the ball past Blue into the net for his hat-trick.

VCD kept going and pulled a goal back in the 78th minute when a ball in from the right into the area was patted down by Carey but the home side kept the ball alive and the no 4 walked the ball into the net from about a yard out.

Towards the end, Murrell-Williamson hit a free kick from 30 yards which Blue claimed and then for VCD the no 7 shot wide.  Then a sublime spell of one touch passing from Cray between Murrell-Williamson, Taylor and Parker deserved better than a ball across blocked.

The Wands though ended the game strongly and after a shaky opening played well and Parker in particularly looked so sharp and had a great game. Taylor deserves credit for his selfless display as did Pritchard, Federico, Trialist 2 and Murrell-Williamson but it was a good, allround team display.

Cray next head to Burgess Hill Town on Saturday for a first visit since 2008 and should be another great game if this is anything to go by.


Team:   Lewis Carey, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams. Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Tom Phipp, Bradley Pritchard, Trialist 1, Jerome Federico, Freddie Parker, Joe Taylor.  Subs:  Tom Carlse, Trialist 2, Rhys Murrell-Williamson, Emmanuel Oduguwa, Martin Onoabaghbe