Cray Wanderers vs. Bromley – Pre-Season Friendly – Saturday 5th September, 2020
Cray Wanderers                                             3
Taylor 31, Parker 39, Pritchard 74
Bromley                                                           4
Trialist B, 9, 56, Tanner 19, Cheek 30
Pics:  Kindly provided by Jon Hilliger
Football returned to Hayes Lane after a six month absence as Cray Wanderers took on landlords Bromley in a pre-season friendly and it turned out to be a real treat for the supporters as the sides shared seven goals and plenty of thrills and spills in between.
Cray were looking forward to the challenge of facing a National League side and certainly played their part in a game that ebbed and flowed virtually from the first whistle to the last.
Bromley displayed a ruthless side to their finishing and went 3-0 up after half an hour with strikes from Trialist B after 9 minutes and two left sided strikes from Ollie Tanner and Michael Cheek. Cray though had played well first half and Joe Taylor and Freddie Parker helped reduce the arrears at half time to 3-2 to Bromley.
The second half looked at the start to be more sedate but Bromley restored their two goal advantage when Trialist B scored his second of the match from close range. However as always tenacious, Cray pulled another goal back in the 74th minute through Bradley Pritchard and came agonisingly close to drawing when a second half trialist curled a shot against a post in the closing stages.
There was an expectant and keen atmosphere ahead of the game as the allowance of supporters meant that Bromley supporters could watch them play in a non-home game and the weather stayed thankfully dry and was a very pleasant afternoon for football.
After a few minutes it was evident it hardly seemed like we had been away as both teams played with good intentions to get forward. However Bromley looked that touch sharper early on and had the first half opening with a Frankie Raymond shot well off target. This was followed by Michael Cheek letting fly from 20 yards which swerved once struck and Lewis Carey did well to push the ball away.
However, in the 9th minute Bromley took the lead when Cray were dispossessed just inside their own half by Trialist B and Ollie Tanner played a sublime pass through the Cray defence to Trialist B who strode into the area and from 14 yards placed the ball wide of Carey into the net.
Cray though regrouped well after that and straight away won a corner down the left and Freddie Parker’s ball into the area was cleared out to Bradley Pritchard who hooked a shot wide.
Then, the hugely impressive Joe Taylor did well when he received the ball down the left and broke into the area and his cross-shot fizzed just across the face of goal. This was followed shortly after by Tom Carlse who also had a great game broke into the area from the left and his shot was blocked by the Bromley defence.
Despite Cray playing well Bromley though were displaying a ruthless efficiency with their finishing and in the 19th minute went two nil up with a swift break. Frankie Raymond won the ball in midfield and found the no 7 who picked up the ball down the right and from just outside the area played the ball across to Tanner who from 11 yards unleashed a well struck shot which gave Carey no chance high into the top corner at the near post.
Cray kept on going and the unlucky Taylor broke into the area following passes from Rhys Murrell-Williamson and Pritchard and his shot from the left of the area went fractionally wide of the right post with the keeper beaten.
Then Pritchard received the ball in space from a pass from Trialist 1 and his shot was held by Tarek Naija from just outside the box.
In the 30th minute it was 3-0 to Bromley with another well worked goal down the left with the no 3 playing a great ball forward which caught out the Cray defence and was latched onto by Michael Cheek who ran into the area and as Carey came to meet him simply clipped the ball into the net from 8 yards.
Cray had deserved something for their efforts and within a minute pulled a goal back. Jay Leader brought the ball forward over half way and Trialist 1 found Taylor who laid the ball off to Pritchard and with Bromley making a bit of a hash of clearing the ball proceeded to only deflect the ball back to Taylor off of Pritchard who showed great feet and balance to work his way into the six yard box down the left and lofted a shot into the net.
With six minutes to go in the first half, Cray pulled a second goal back and with another fine piece of finishing as Pritchard in midfield who had a terrific game for Cray played a pass out to Barney Williams down the right and he fed the ball down the line to Freddie Parker who held off the challenge of a defender and from 7 yards smashed an unstoppable near post shot high into the roof of the net.
Before the break Cray suddenly from being 3-0 down were looking strong and just before half time, following a free kick, Murrell-Williamson set up Trialist 2 who fired over the top.
After such an explosive first half traditionally games tend to quieten down after the break but certainly not this one as the game was becoming end to end and more goals looked likely.
If anything Bromley just shaded the early stages of the half and following a free kick the ball was played into the area to James Alabi who found space, turned and shot over the bar
from 12 yards.
Cray were posing problems too especially down the left and Trialist 1 found Jay Leader who hit a volley from 20 yards which veered wide of the right post.
From the goal kick, Bromley scored a fourth goal in the 56th minute when Naija’s ball forward was helped on down the left to Alabi who burst into the area and his pull back fell to Cheek whose shot was well saved by Carey but following up Trialist 2 fired home the rebound for his second of the afternoon.
A couple of positive Cray substitutions kept the game nicely poised with a second trialist entering the fray and Jerome Federico and both made a big impact in the last half hour. For Cray who were looking to reduce the arrears once again, Tom Phipp fired over from 25 yards. The from a free kick on the left edge of the area, Parker’s ball towards the far post was glanced off target by Taylor.
Bromley though had been strong in attack all game and Cheek down the right set up Trialist B who seeking a hat-trick and set up Alabi for a shot which was well pushed out by Carey. Then Carey made another smart save to deny the no 2 whose cross-shot was parried away.
Then from a free kick in a good position, 20 yards from goal, Raymond curled the ball round the wall and was comfortably claimed by Carey. From there, Cray pulled another goal back in the 74th minute when Carey’s ball forward sought out Federico down the left who held the ball up and exchanged passes with Trialist 2 and Pritchard who returned a pass to Trialist 2 who cut in from the left and dinked a pass through off the Bromley no 3 into the path of Taylor who denied by a block from Najia and following up Pritchard grabbed the goal his performance deserved from 7 yards.
The closing stages were dominated by Cray who finished the game well and Parker down the left set up Taylor who was desperately unlucky to see his curling shot go agonisingly wide of the right post.
Then Cray were unlucky again when sub keeper Roman Hall played a ball forward out to the right hand side which was picked up by Federico who found Parker and in turn Taylor who with the outside of his foot swept the ball out to the left to trialist 2 who cut inside and unleashed a shot which thudded back off the right post and away from goal. Then with the ball not totally cleared came back to the left to Carlse who drove the ball across goal.
This was followed by Parker setting up Carlse for another shot deflected behind for a corner and then with Cray looking to end the game on a high, Parker set up Taylor whose shot was blocked and the excitement was over.
There should be much to encourage Tony Russell on this performance especially the way the team recovered from going 3-0 down and kept on going and certainly caused Bromley plenty of problems and were perhaps a tad unfortunate not to draw the game. Joe Taylor was outstanding as was Pritchard, Carlse, Federico and the two trialists showed some good touches and look skilful and Parker grew with the game as it went on and finished strongly.
Bromley for their part were a team with a few trialists but Michael Cheek was impressive as was new signing Alabi and also the no 4 who scored twice and down as a trialist looks composed in front of goal. With Bromley’s season not starting until October they still have much more of pre-season to come.
Cray meanwhile can be confident on Tuesday evening of giving National South Welling United a tough game but on this evidence the supporters of Cray Wanderers and Bromley should enjoy great seasons and it was a very good afternoon for football all round.
Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Barney Williams, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Tom Carlse, Tom Phipp, Bradley Pritchard, Trialist 1, Rhys Murrell-Williamson, Freddie Parker, Joe Taylor: Subs: Roman Hall, Trialist 2, Jerome Federico, Lee Lewis, Martin Onoabaghbe, Emmanuel Oduguwa.