Ashford United v Cray Wanderers: PSF: 8/8/21

Ashford United                        1          (Trialist 36)

Cray Wanderers                       1          (Trialist 84 pen)          

Cray Wanderers pre-season campaign came to an end after a competitive contest at Ashford United finished in a 1-1 draw. This made it four successive draws in pre-season and overall Cray won four drew four and lost one of the 9 games played.

At a grey and sodden Homelands, Ashford edged in front with a classy piece of finishing from a trialist on 36 mins but Cray kept going until the end and drew level from the spot also through a trialist after Fjord Rogers was brought down in the box.   

Both sides had been in good form in pre-season and it was Ashford who perhaps made the more enterprising start to the game and in the 8th minute, Ben Goram’s ball into the box was flicked wide of the left post by Jack Steventon.  For Cray, a good movement down the left saw Jamie Yila’s ball to the near post put behind by Goram for a corner.

Ashford were close to taking the lead when a cross in from the left was met by the head of Jay May but Jack Turner did well to make an instinctive one handed save to push the ball away.  This was soon followed by a ball into the box and the ball was flicked on to Josh Wisson who shot over the top.

Cray’s best  chance of the half came in the 20th minute when Lee Lewis and Anis Nuur combined to set up Charlie Allen down the right of the area and his skimming shot flicked off the left post and out into play.

Then Nuur found Allen again this time down the left of the area and seemed destined to shoot and score but for a good, strong tackle from Goram and behind for a corner. Then from a free kick, Trialist 2’s shot came back off the wall.

On 36 minutes and at the time slightly against the run of play, Ashford took the lead with a ball played through to a trialist who came on for the withdrawn May down the left and cleverly lofted the ball over Turner and into the net.

Half Time: 1-0

Straight after half time, Cray began to threaten and almost scored straight away when the trialist goalkeeper’s clearance was snapped up by Sadik Balarabe and his well struck first time shot was well held by the keeper.

Then as Cray continued to probe, Lee Lewis had a shot from 20 yards which again was well hit but was gathered well by the keeper.

It was Ashford though that had the best early chance of the half when Wisson found Luke Burden down the left who broke into the area but was denied by another fine blocked save from Turner . Then Mamadou Diallo set up Wisson who fired wide. Ex-Wand, Tom Bolarinwa came on for Ashford early in the second half.

For Cray, a good passing movement saw Yila, Joey Taylor and Lewis set up Cameron Brodie but he fired wide of the right post from outside the area.  This was followed by Brodie finding Lewis down the right and his ball across was bravely claimed by the keeper under pressure from Fjord Rogers.

The game then went through rather a scrappy phase for a spell until the last ten minutes with Cray pushing for a leveller and Lewis and Abdul Saccoh down the left set up Yila for a shot which went over.

However, in the 84th minute Cray were presented with a chance to level from the spot when after an initial shot from Brodie was blocked, the ball came to Balarabe down the right and his ball into the box to Rogers saw him brought down perhaps a little harshly by a combination of Ben Goram and Dan Hull and a penalty kick was given. Trialist 2 with great composure tucked home the spot-kick.

There was still time almost for an Ashford winner but once Turner was in outstanding form as a great ball in from the right to the far post found Steventon who from close range saw his effort saved superbly by the Wands keeper pushing the ball away to safety.

In the end though that was the end of the drama and pre-season is now in the can and the real thing starts on Saturday with the Wands at home to Lewes and the start of the 2021-22 Isthmian Premier season and Cray’s first league game since 28th October , 2020. Ashford for their part look a good side and Tommy Warrilow’s team could well be one of the main challengers for the Isthmian South-East this season.

As for Danny Kedwell’s Cray Wanderers side despite a handful of injuries to key players throughout pre-season results have been decent and some fine young players have been unearthed these last few months and the club are ready to go for the exciting challenge ahead once more.

Cray Wanderers:          Team:  Jack Turner, Harvey Brand (Fjord Rogers), Dean Beckwith (Cameron Brodie), Joey Taylor (Abdul Saccoh), Trialist 1, Martin Onoabagbe, Charlie Allen, Lee Lewis, Anis Nuur (Sadik Balarabe), Trialist 2: Sub not used: Danny Kedwell

Ashford United:           Trialist , Tariq Ossai, Mamadou Diallo, Tom Fagg, Ben Goram , Dan Hull, Brett Patton (Tom Bolarinwa), Josh Wisson, Jay May (Trialist 2), Luke Burden (Levi Gold), Jack Steventon                                                             

Referee: Mr C. O’Meara Assistants:        Mr. C. Angell, Mr. T. Kennedy