Hollands & Blair  vs Cray Wanderers – PSF


Hollands & Blair                                 2

Cray Wanderers                                   1

Cray Wanderers third match of pre-season took them to Gillingham and a visit to SCEFL Premier Hollands & Blair.  In a lively encounter, it was the home side that edged the game with a header on 27 minutes and then ten minutes after half time with a close range effort following a corner.  Cray pulled a goal back on 69 minutes through Sadik Balarabe but couldn’t turn the game around completely in the time remaining. 

On a bright and sunny evening it was Cray who started the brighter and came close to scoring when down the right, Emmanuel Oduguwa who had another outstanding game for Cray was denied  a goal by a fine save by the keepers legs.  The keeper also made a sharp stop from Fjord Rogers also down the right of the box.

Then Jack Hanson played a fine ball out to Sadik Balarabe who turned and shot over but the best chance fell to Hollands and Blair when a cross from the right was turned past the right post from close range by the no 8.

Cray continued to pose a threat and from a free kick in  a central position, Lee Lewis’s shot was pushed out and the keeper did very well to react to block Balarabe’s follow up shot.

On 27 minutes, Hollands and Blair took the lead when a free kick out on the left was hoisted into the penalty area and the no 5 got to the ball first to plant a fine, powerful header into the net.

Sadly for Cray, Hanson had to go off with looked like a leg injury and we hope that it is not too serious and can return to action soon.

 The last chance of the half came from a free kick down the right for Cray and as the ball was played towards the far post, Balarabe amongst a host of players just guided his header wide of the left post.

The second half began with Hollands & Blair having a free kick just outside the area and the no 10’s shot was claimed well by Wands keeper Hayden Chipping.  Then for Cray, Abdul Saccoh who had an excellent second half cut in from the left and fired wide.

On 55 minutes, the home side went two nil up when from a corner down the left, the ball was floated into the heart of the penalty box and it looked like the no 17 got to the ball ahead of Chipping to score although it appeared he may have been impeded but the goal stood.

After this, Danny Kedwell came on against a side he played for briefly last season and helped instigate a Cray response. Firstly, Andy Drury set up Jamie Yila who saw a shot saved by the keeper. Then from a corner the ball came to Kedwell who shot wide wide of the left post.

In the 69th minute, Cray pulled a goal back when Yila played the ball out to Saccoh who did well initially to keep the ball in play and then sped past a couple of defenders to find himself in the area and laid the ball across where Balarabe shot past the keeper to make it 2-1.

Straight after, Cray pushed for a leveller and Drury saw a chipped effort from outside the area deflected over the top for a corner.

The game became an end to end affair by the finish of the match and for the home side, the no 7 found the no 12 down the right of the area and his shot was pushed onto the post by Chipping and behind for a corner.  Then the no 9 saw a shot pushed out and the no 7 following up shot wide.

For Cray , Yila was unlucky to see his lofted effort from the left edge of the box just drop over the bar and for Hollands & Blair the no 7 went through and his effort again was well saved by Chipping who got the faintest of touches to push the ball behind off the right post.

It had been a competitive encounter perhaps in keeping with the modern day pre-season games which have certainly become more competitive in the last couple of years with so few big games being played.

Despite losing there were again plenty of positives to look back on especially the performances of Oduguwa, Saccoh, Hanson before his injury and Chipping in goal.

The Wands will be in action again on Thursday night when they travel to Erith & Belvedere for a 7.45pm kick off.

Team: Hayden Chipping, Lee Lewis, Max Gayle, Martin Onoabagbe, Abdul Saccoh (Dean Beckwith), Jack Hanson (Andy Drury), Charlie Allen, Emmanuel Oduguwa (Danny Kedwell), Jamie Yila, Sadik Balarabe, Fjord Rogers