Ryman League Division One South: 5/11/16
Tooting & Mitcham United 4
Dunn 23, Dixon 60, 64, O’Neill 62
Cray Wanderers 0
Cray Wanderers suffered back to back league defeats for the first time since January as they were well beaten by a vibrant Tooting and Mitcham United side.
After a fairly bright opening ten minutes, the home side started to take control and took the lead just after half way through the first half. A purple patch in which the Terrors scored three goals in five minutes after the hour made it a mountain to climb for Cray and in the end were well beaten. Cray remain seventh after this defeat but could drop to eighth if Lewes beat Ramsgate tomorrow. Tooting and Mitcham move up to third, six points behind leaders Dorking Wanderers.
Cray had to make one change to the side which beat Marlow in the FA Trophy last Saturday. Captain, Lea Dawson returned following a one game suspension in place of Bradley Woods-Garness who has joined Cambridge City since then. Lee Prescott was moved into a more central striker role. Danny Haynes and Jey Siva remain suspended for two more games.
On a fairly cold early November afternoon, the promise was there in the early stages for an excellent football match as both teams attempted to play the ball to feet and on the ground.
Cray actually got off to a decent start and looked threatening down the right hand side. Brandon Scott had the first attempt towards goal after five minutes when he took Ben Mundele’s pass, cut inside but fired over the crossbar.
Tooting though looked a confident side and Jordan Wilson set up Chace O’Neill for a close range strike which was blocked by Paul Lorraine.
Then O’Neill played in former Wand, Peter Wedgeworth down the left hand side and his near post cross-shot was claimed by Nick Blue.
Around the quarter of an hour mark, Tooting and Mitcham were beginning to get on top and Cray were indebted to Blue once again when Taurean Roberts cut in from the left and his goal bound effort was pushed behind for a corner.
Cray offered only really glimpses of their true selves but Karl Dent was unlucky when his run down the left and shot at the near post was blocked for a corner.
The Wands were perhaps guilty of playing around at the back and the home sides pressing led to some hairy moments and should really have gone behind when the ball was given away on the edge of the area but Michael Dixon’s shot was pushed aside well by Blue.
A goal for the home side was looking on the cards and it came in the 23rd minute with again Cray having trouble clearing their lines. Jordan Wilson ran into the penalty area and his shot was again pushed away well by Blue only out as far as Wedgeworth who set up prolific scorer, Billy Dunn who scored his thirteenth goal of the season with a crisp finish.
Cray looked to get back into the game but chances were few and far between. Sol Taiwo with a free kick 25 yards out, saw his effort sail over the bar.
The game got a bit scrappy after that with Tooting having the upper hand with a free kick from Jordan Wilson deflected over the bar and then O’Neill’s shot was blocked towards Blue.
It seemed that Cray needed half time to come to regroup as this was a rare occasion this season where the Wands have started slowly, as they have dominated quite a few first halves this season before struggling more in the second. Could the roles be reversed this time?
Half Time: 1-0
If anything the home side were quicker out of the traps in the second half and Wilson let fly with an effort from twenty yards which skimmed the crossbar.
The combination of Jordan Wilson, O’Neill, Dixon, Dunn and Roberts were causing Cray all sorts of problems with their passing and moving and the Wands had to really dig in to stay in the game.
Cray though did have their first shot on target when substitute, Ade Osifuwa was set up by Scott and Mundele and his effort had power and direction and made Matte Pierson get down to save.
Two minutes later for Tooting, Roberts shot went straight to Blue and O’Neill set up Dixon but his shot was mis-kicked and skewed wide of goal.
However, this was a brief reprieve as on the hour, Tooting and Mitcham made it 2-0 when Dixon who was giving Jay Leader as hard a match as I’ve seen, turned the defender on the edge of the area and curled as shot wide of Blue into the net.
Two minutes later, the game was practically over with a third goal when the ball was worked down the left and O’Neill who played well throughout, burst into the box and placed a smart finish into the net.
In the 64th minute a golden spell of attacking from the home side was completed when Dunn hit a shot which Blue pushed aside but Dixon following up notched his second with a close range strike.
At this stage, the Wands supporters were wishing that the home side would declare with twenty five minutes still to go and thankfully as the evening began to get bitingly cold, Tooting and Mitcham could dictate the rest of the match without over exerting themselves. Dixon, on a hat-trick shot wide but that was the last of the attacking menace.
Cray for their part never really got going as an attacking force and the Tooting defence was pretty solid throughout
It came as something of a relief when the final whistle went and there could be no complaints, the better side had won today and showed how tough this division is going to be.
The Wands will next be in action on Wednesday against another free scoring side in Whyteleafe which gives them a chance to bounce back from today pretty quickly.
Cray: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Timi Osidobu, Jay Leader, Paul Lorraine (Jai McKinlay, 61), Lea Dawson (Capt.), Sean Roberts, Solomon Taiwo (Ade Osifuwa, 52), Lee Prescott, Karl Dent (Edgar Morais, 61), Brandon Scott: Subs: Joel Massamba, Dillon Green
T&MU: Matte Pierson, Callum Wilson, Peter Wedgeworth, Eddie Dines, Quincy Rowe, Sol Patterson-Bohner (Capt.), Jordan Wilson (Claudiu Hoban, 72), Chace O’Neill (Ollie Bennett, 75), Michael Dixon, Billy Dunn (Lee Hall, 83), Taurean Roberts: Subs: Danny Bassett, Adreano Moraes
Referee: Ryan Atkins
Assistants: Alex Taylor-Rose, Santiago Illan