Pre-season match report – Game 1 – Beckenham Town v Cray Wanderers – 15/8/20

Beckenham Town                                   2

Brand 61, Atkins 83

Cray Wanderers                                     3

Parker 14, Taylor 39, Trialist (4) 75

Main photos kindly provided by Jon Hilliger

Cray Wanderers began their belated pre-season campaign at a murky and soggy afternoon at Beckenham Town and after a competitive and entertaining match won the game 3-2 in the first of nine pre-season fixtures.

On the as always superb playing surface at Eden Park, Cray played some good football in the first half and went two nil up through well struck goals from Freddie Parker and Joe Taylor to lead at the break. Both sides were much changed after the break and in the rain Beckenham threatened and pulled a goal back through Harvey Brand.

A superb substitute appearance in goal by Roman Hall helped thwart a Beckenham comeback with three excellent saves before a trialist put Cray 3-1 up fifteen minutes from time. Beckenham replied a second time in the 83rd minute when they were awarded a penalty which was brilliantly saved by Hall but following up Richard Atkins tucked home the rebound but Cray held on for the win.

The first half saw Cray play with just three trialists with one (Kai) definitely catching the eye with a fine performance in central midfield. The Wands began the game well and Ben Mundele made a good early run forward from the back and curled a shot just inches too high over the bar.

Then shortly after, good, mazy play down the right by Rhys Murrell-Williamson saw the winger cut inside and fire a shot from 20 yards which again went just over the top.

A goal was coming for Cray and arrived in the 14th minute and was again well worked with Kai doing well to find space to play the ball across to the impressive Freddie Parker who from the edge of the area placed a shot with great accuracy wide of the keeper and into the net.

Cray continued to dominate the first half with Murrell-Williamson testing the keeper who did well to push his fizzing shot away for a corner. From the corner from the right, the ball was knocked back out of the box to Tom Phipp whose shot was deflected behind for another corner. Then a trialist playing down the left hit a shot from 25 yards which again was parried by the keeper.

Six minutes before half time Cray scored a second and was similarly well taken with the ball won down the right and Joe Taylor finding space hit a sweet strike from close to 25 yards out to give Cray a bit of comfort before half time.

The second half saw a number of personnel changes including four trialist players &, Jerome Federico, Charlie Allen, Lee Lewis and Max Gayle and Beckenham also made a few changes and made it a thrilling second half.

Firstly for the home side, Harvey Brand fired just wide of goal and then a ball was played through to Richard Atkins who attempted to lob Lewis Carey but was able to get back to push the ball away.

Beckenham though did pull a goal back on 61 minutes when Brand did well to find space down the left of the area to fire into the bottom right corner.

The game was going from end for a while and Beckenham had the ball in the net again but was ruled out for offside. At the other end, Freddie Parker saw his shot saved by the legs of the Beckenham keeper.

Roman Hall came on for Carey in goal and was immediately in the action when he did well to parry away a stinging shot from Jamie Humprhies, and then the follow up from Atkins with his legs. Then Atkins’ shot was fairly tame and comfortably held by Hall. Hall then excelled himself with perhaps the moment of the match when he turned Humphries shot against the crossbar and away to safety.

Freddie Parker fired wide for Cray but in the 75th minute restored the two goal advantage when Lewis played the ball through to a trialist down the right who broke into the area and fired under the keeper to make it 3-1.

The game wasn’t yet put to bed when in the 83rd minute, Humphries was upended in the box for the award of a penalty. From the spot, the kick was incredibly pushed against the angle of right post and bar by Hall but quickest to react Atkins tucked home the rebound.

Cray though saw out the remaining minutes well and two trialists came close to adding a fourth first with a shot blocked by a defender and then with a near post shot into the side netting.

In the end though Cray won a good game, full of competitive endeavour and good to see some football after months away. Just a shame the fans couldn’t see the game as they would have enjoyed the afternoon.

Cray Wanderers team: 1st Half: Lewis Carey, Ben Mundele, Martin Onoabhagbe, Mitchell Nelson, Tom Carlse, Tom Phipp, Rhys Murrell-Williamson, Trialist 1 (Kai), Trialist 2, Freddie Parker, Joe Taylor

2nd Half introductions. Roman Hall, Trialist 3, Max Gayle, Lee Lewis, Trialist 4 (scorer), Charlie Allen, Jerome Federico, Trialist 5, Trialist 6