Pre-season Friendly – 29/8/20

Burgess Hill Town                                           2

Bennett 17, Miller 80

Cray Wanderers                                               2

Parker 60, Taylor 87

Cray Wanderers pre-season continued with a trip to West Sussex to the picturesque, tree lined setting of Burgess Hill Town and came from behind twice to draw the game 2-2 which on balance was perhaps the right result.

Both sides had impressive away wins in their last friendly games and this one was well contested with no little commitment and much to admire about the quality of the football played.

Cray perhaps just shaded the opening quarter of an hour with the once again impressive Freddie Parker to the fore.  Firstly, he received the ball from the left, turned and shot wide of the left post from the edge of the area.


Then Cray were unlucky when Ben Mundele set up Parker who hit a shot which was well saved by Josh James with Joe Taylor following up flagged offside.

Burgess Hill though were looking like a counterattacking team and won a free kick out on the right and Alex Laing’s ball towards the far post glanced off the head of Charlie Bennett and behind.

In the 17th minute, the Hillians took the lead with a breakaway goal from a Wands attack and down the right, Reece Williams-Bowers won the ball and broke to just outside the area and played a fine cross to the far post where Bennett was on hand to squeeze the ball into the net.

Shortly after another inviting cross from Laing just flashed across the goalmouth and no-one could apply a touch.  It was a similar tale at the other end as Mundele down the right found Parker who from the right of the area flashed a great ball across which just evaded the onrushing Taylor.


Cray had a bit of a let off and could have gone two nil down when Laing who had a good first half again down the right worked an opening and his shot was very well pushed out by Lewis Carey but following up Williams-Bowers perhaps on the stretch fired over the bar.

The play was end to end with Mundele hitting a cross-shot over the bar while for Burgess Hill Town a corner from the right ended up coming to a Trialist whose shot was deflected behind for another.

Cray were a little unlucky not to level when after a very patient spell of possession the ball was switched from right to left and Barney Williams set up Tom Phipp for a fizzing shot which James into a good save pushing the ball away.  At the other end Harry Reed’s shot was held by Carey.

The last chance of the half fell to Cray from a free kick out on the right, Williams’ cross into the area was glanced just wide of the left post by Parker


The home side made a number of changes at half time but their central defensive pairing were proving resolute and the Wands made three changes themselves at the start of the second half.

Cray had a lot more possession in the second half and Rhys Murrell-Williamson down the right made a run forward, cut inside and his shot was held by James.

Despite the possession the home side were holding firm at the back with an offside trap and getting in blocks and tackles.  However, Cray’s pressure finally told on the hour following a corner down the left. Bradley Pritchard’s cross into the box looked to have been dealt with by Burgess Hill with the ball headed away in a crowded six yard box but the ball came back to Parker who hit a first time shot from 20 yards which nestled past James into the net.

Cray almost went in front within a minute when Murrell-Williamson down the right of the area looked to squeeze in a shot but was denied by the outstretched boot of James.

Burgess Hill though were not out of it by any means and a ball in from the right by Reed towards the far post just glanced off the head of Laing and just lacked direction to divert the ball goalwards.  Then from a free kick in a decent position, Martyn Box curled the ball round the wall and was claimed by Carey.  At the other end Taylor was played through but was flagged perhaps unjustly offside.

With ten minutes to go and Cray looking to seek a winner, Burgess Hill suddenly found Cray short at the back and a trialist made a great run down the right and squared the ball unselfishly to Max Miller who coolly slid the ball into the net.

Cray though are not a side to give up and deservedly on the balance of play drew level once again when the ball was worked down the left and from out of nothing, Taylor who had an excellent game up front hit a crisp shot in a crowded box into the top corner to make it 2-2.

The Wands did push for a late winner but in the end 2-2 was probably a fair reflection of the overall play and both sides with still just under three weeks to the start of their respective league seasons look almost ready for the drama to unfold.

Cray’s next pre-season game is at Aveley on Tuesday, 1st September, 7.45pm.

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

Burgess Hill Town:  Josh James, Harry Reed, Martyn Box, Josh Spinks, Nathan Cooper, Harry Pollard, Trialist A, Jordi Ndozid, Charlie Bennett, Reece Williams-Bowers, Alex Laing – Second half replacements: Reggie Ward, Aaron Smith-Joseph, Max Blencowe, Pat Harding, Elliott Cross, Scott Kirkwood, Max Miller, Joe Ridley, Louie Downey, Trialist B