Bostik League South – 7/4/18
VCD Athletic 0
Cray Wanderers 0
Cray Wanderers moved up to third place in the Bostik South table but had to be content with a point following a goalless stalemate with VCD Athletic at the Oakwood. In the final Kent derby of the season chances were at a premium throughout the game as two very good defences held firm and Cray made it six games unbeaten. Both goalkeepers made key saves in the game with Nick Blue making a tremendous early save to deny Rashid Kamara’s shot whilst VCD keeper Joe Mant did well to deny Junior Dadson on a couple of occasions.
Tony Russell was able to name an unchanged starting lineup from the team which did well to fight back and take a point from a 2-2 draw with Greenwich Borough at Hayes Lane on Easter Monday. VCD who came into the game 16th in the Bostik South had an excellent win at near neighbours Phoenix Sports on Monday.
It looked from the start like it might be a similar game for Cray as last weekend’s match at Chipstead where one goal might win it. Cray were moving the ball very confidently at the start of the match and looked to carry the greater threat early on but couldn’t create a clear chance.
In fact it was the home side who had the first strike on goal and it turned out to be a key moment as in the 9th minute, Rashid Kamara made a run from midfield and hit a fine curling shot from just over 20 yards which Nick Blue did extremely well to push onto the crossbar and over for a corner. From the corner from Aymun El-Moyhalbel the ball came to Marc Gorbell who turned the ball wide.
For Cray from a free kick out on the right hand side, Karl Dent put a cross towards the back post where Jay Leader nodded the ball back and Joe Mant got a good hand to the ball to punch the ball away. Then, Charlie MacDonald got away down the right and put a good ball across which Jeffrey Imudia had to clear before Junior Dadson could get a touch.
The Wands were dominating possession and Barney Williams cut inside from the left and saw a drive blocked by a VCD defender on the edge of the box and the Vickers did this well throughout the game getting telling blocks in to prevent Cray from testing Mant too much.
The game then went through a phase where not a great deal happened of note save for a couple of bookings for Imudia and Lea Dawson and a free kick for VCD from the right by El-Moyhalbel which Williams had to put behind for a corner.
Then VCD had a little spell of pressure when from a corner from the right, Jeffrey Gyamfi’s ball in was put behind for another corner. This was followed by a free kick 25 yards out slightly left of the penalty area and El-Moyhalbel curled the ball just over the top.
Five minutes before half time, Cray came the closest yet when from a throw in down the left, Williams found MacDonald who put the ball into the box for Dadson whose effort was pushed out by Mant and following up Aaron Rhule put the ball into the side netting. Then MacDonald who was having a fine game put a great ball into the area from the left but Rhule just couldn’t get on the end of the cross.
Then with the last real action of the first half Mitchell Nelson found Dent on the edge of the area who in turn found Dawson who played in Dadson down the left of the area but fired over the bar.
Half Time: 0-0
The second half offered more of the same with Cray dominating possession but VCD Athletic were very well drilled and defended solidly to prevent Cray turning their dominance into goal scoring opportunities.
They also posed the occasional threat themselves going forward and from out on the left, Gyamfi found Alastair Gordon who put a dangerous ball into the box but El-Moybalbel just couldn’t get on the end of the cross. For Cray a ball forward sought out MacDonald and Mant had to come out of his area to head the ball away and in doing so caught his own player Gorbell inadvertently.
Cray were unlucky not to score when after a patient build up Dent found Dadson down the right of the area and his near post shot was pushed away well by Mant.
For VCD, Kamara found Jonathan Adebayo whose shot was blocked by the typically rock solid Cray back line. Then for Cray a Nelson thrown in from the left to the near post was put behind for a corner. The corner was punched up in the air by Mant and as the ball landed to Dawson he was adjudged to have fouled the keeper. Then MacDonald put a ball into the box for Dawson whose header was claimed by Mant but the Wands skipper had strayed fractionally offside.
It looked like one goal would was going to win the match and El-Moyhalbel who had a very good game for VCD fired a shot just wide of the left post from Gordon’s lay off. For Cray Dent saw a shot from out on the right go well over before a spell of treatment for MacDonald after the ball hit him in the face with about fifteen minutes to go.
VCD whose game plan had worked perfectly to this stage ventured forward and both Kamara and Alfie Cue saw shots blocked by Nelson and Leader respectively.
There weren’t too many opportunities late on as both defences kept a tight grip on the game but Cray were unlucky not to claim the three points when Michael Power got into the area and his near post drive was blocked by Imudia and following up Brandon Scott turned and his effort was blocked by Gorbell for VCD. Then Kyron Farrell’s corner from the right was flicked on by Power and Mant came out to claim.
Cray did apply late pressure through five minutes of added on time but despite a couple of corners Cray couldn’t get the winner and VCD hung out for a point they probably merited for their dogged display. It has to also be said that Cray’s back line were once again superb away from home and have conceded just 12 league goals on their travels which out of 22 away matches played is quite a record. Not a great match by any means but very competitive and a draw was about the right outcome on the day.
The point moved Cray up to third following Greenwich Borough’s home defeat to Hythe Town but the Wands are nine points behind Lewes and seven behind second placed Carshalton Athletic who both won away from home and at this stage seem favourites for the two automatic promotion places save a late season collapse of form. Cray next week are at home to South Park before travelling to Walton Casuals on 21st April in another key match at the top of the table.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Barney Williams, Ben Mundele, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Zak Henry (Kyron Farrell, 51), Karl Dent (Michael Power, 75), Charlie MacDonald, Aaron Rhule (Brandon Scott, 61), Junior Dadson: Subs: Michael Freiter, Marcus Evans
VCD Athletic: Joe Mant, Temitope Eweka, Jeffery Gyamfi (Kojo Awotwi, 77), Junior Baker, Marc Gorbell (Capt.), Jeffrey Imudia, Jonathan Adebayo, Alastair Gordon, Alfie Cue, Rashid Kamara, Aymun El-Moyhalbel: Subs: Olugbenga Jubrill, Umar Adeyoola, Boyan Dimov, Mpania Kalenga
Booked: Imudia, Gorbell, Eweka
Referee: Aaron Farmer
Assistant Referees: Charlie Dickens, Derryl David