Bostik South – 21/10/17
Thamesmead Town 0
Cray Wanderers 1 (Power 90)
Cray Wanderers made it eight matches unbeaten and moved up to fourth in the Bostik South League table with victory at Thamesmead on a blustery afternoon at Princes Park. Cray had to work hard to register the victory and the winning goal came in the 90th minute as substitute Michael Power notched his 11th goal of the season with a calm finish, lobbing the ball over keeper Lewis Carey.
It wasn’t a game that would live long in the memory as the conditions perhaps meant the game was never going to be a classic but there was plenty of endeavour and commitment from both sides but Cray had the better opportunities over the ninety minutes and on reflection deserved to pick up the three points. Chances came in the first half for Lea Dawson and Karl Dent whilst in the second half Mitchell Nelson twice and Jay Leader came close before Power’s intervention. The down side though for Cray came when Dent had to be stretchered off in the 89th minute with an ankle injury.
Cray came into the game in sixth place and in good form as were Thamesmead who were unbeaten in four matches and had beaten Herne Bay with a 90th minute winner on Wednesday night. Tommy Warrilow’s side are always tough opponents and for Cray to get anything from the game they would have to compete and scrap for the win.
There were three changes to the Cray side to the one which beat Corinthian Casuals last Saturday with Ben Mundele, Freddie Parker and Mitchell Nelson coming in for Michael Power, Barney Williams and Marcus Evans.
The wind affected the game quality wise but Thamesmead just about edged the opening exchanges and a free kick out on the left was whipped in by Toby Ajala and Nick Blue had to palm behind for one of many first half corners for Thamesmead. Then Ajala set up one of four ex-Wands in the Thamesmead line-up Tom O’Connor for a drive which was blocked.
For Cray the first real sighting came from a free kick 25 yards from goal which Dent curled wide of goal.
Thamesmead continued to threaten and a ball was floated into the area to Scott Kinch whose overhead kick went straight to Blue.
The game continued to be a bit scrappy but Cray slowly started to exert their authority and Ben Mundele and Freddie Parker combined to play in Jerome Federico down the right but his ball across hit the side net.
The best chance came just after the half hour when Aaron Rhule won a corner down the left. Dent’s cross to the far post was met by Lea Dawson who glanced his header wide of the right post. Then Dent was found by Mundele’s pass but drove a shot wide.
The physical intensity of the game picked up and there a couple of bookings for both sides before Cray came close when Dent made a run from the half way line to the edge of the box but his shot was well gathered by Lewis Carey.
Then Dent put over a free kick from the right of the area which Dawson glanced on to Jay Leader who laid the ball out to Dean Carpenter lashed a shot just wide of the left post.
Before half time Thamesmead had a spell on top and Joe Denny ball in had to be put behind by Carpenter. Then Richard Avery put a ball into the box which Kinch latched onto but turned the ball wide, then twice Alex Teniola shot wide as a first half which didn’t quite set the pulses racing but both teams did well with the conditions.
Half Time: 0-0
The second half saw Cray with the bulk of the game and looked the more likely to break the deadlock as the home side seemed to struggle more with the conditions.
Cray had a good chance to break the deadlock when Dent’s right wing corner was headed wide at the far post by a diving Nelson.
Then Dent who was having another excellent game sent over a cross-shot from the right which Carey had to push away but no one was able to follow up.
From another Dent free kick out on the right touchline, his cross was nodded out by Kinch to RHule who hit a first time volley just wide. Then Rhule made a run down the left and put over a cross which the keeper pushed away.
Still Cray continued to threaten from corners and another right wing Dent cross to the far post found Leader whose headed was cleared off the line by Harvey Brand.
Thamesmead though were still in the game and Ajala cut inside from the left and his shot was held by Blue. Then O’Connor’s free kick was fired over the bar and then drove a shot wide.
Cray were still looking the more likely winners and Dent made a strong run forward and hit a shot which was pushed out by Carey and the ball was put behind for a corner.
From the corner came the nearest chance yet when Dent’s corner again was pin point to the far post and an unmarked Nelson’s header was headed onto the post by Brand and away before the ball could cross the line but was certainly a close shave for the home side.
The game was looking like it would peter out to a goalless draw after Teniola lashed a volley over for Thamesmead.
Cray though were dealt a blow when Dent had to go off injured following an innocuous challenge from Kinch on the edge of the area and appeared to roll on his ankle and was taken off replaced by Michael Frieter.
It was just after the substitution that Cray caught Thamesmead cold in the 90th minute when Dawson’s ball forward sprung the offside trap and Power faced with a one on one with Carey lobbed the ball over the keeper and into the net to keep up his excellent scoring form.
The game had nine minutes of injury time which meant there was plenty of time for Thamesmead to grab a point but Cray did well to hold out and picked up a very good win against very decent opponents without maybe being at their very best. Defensively once again Cray excelled and did well to withstand several corners in the first half when conditions were against them.
This was the first of four away games in the next five league matches and they next travel to 2nd placed Sittingbourne on Tuesday night which may be a different type of match but in the meantime can look back on a satisfactory afternoon.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Dean Carpenter, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson (Capt,), Zak Henry, Karl Dent (Michael Frieter, 89), Freddie Parker (Michael Power, 77), Aaron Rhule, Jerome Federico (Barney Williams, 90+7): Subs: Marcus Evans, Kyron Lightfoot
Booked: Rhule, Dent, Williams
Thamesmead: Lewis Carey, Harvey Brand, Laurent Mendy, Scott Kinch (Capt.) (Dante McIntosh, 90+4), Richard Avery, Joe Denny, Toby Ajala (Ellis Green, 81), Tom O’Connor, Paul Vines, Alex Teniola, Bode Anidugbe
Booked: Kinch, Ajala
Referee: Z. Ellis
Assistant Referees: T. Dowdeswell, J. Howard