Whitehawk vs Cray Wanderers

Isthmian Premier – Tuesday 27th February, 2024 – Match Report

Whitehawk                                   2

Taylor 66, Kayani 90

Cray Wanderers                          0

Cray Wanderers seven game unbeaten run came to an end as two second half goals gave 10 man Whitehawk victory at the Enclosed Ground.  Despite the defeat Cray remained in 13th place in the Isthmian Premier league table.

This was a game of comparatively few chances and two strong defences but ex-Wand Joey Taylor put Whitehawk in front half way through the second half when his right wing corner towards the far post appeared to go in off the left post although there was a Whitehawk defender on the line.  Charlie Harris was sent off in the 73rd minute for the home side for a second bookable offence but were able to wrap up the game in the last minute when Imran Kayani applied a fine finish down the left of the area.

Cray had moved nineteen points clear of the relegation zone after three straight wins and from the side which beat Kingstonian on Saturday there was one change with Ellis Brown coming in for Rhys Murrell-Williamson.  Whitehawk named an unchanged side to the one which started the 1-1 draw at Hashtag United on Saturday.

The first half saw a fair amount of sparring with both defences on top and no real shots on goal for either keeper to make.  Cray created the first half opening and shooting chance in the 11th minute when Ellis Brown down put over a cross which George Porter laid off to Sam Wood to shoot over from outside the area.

Whitehawk threatened when Hamish Morrison set up Charlie Lambert down the right for a shot which went wide of the left post.  Then, just before the half hour Charlie Walker set up Lambert for a shot which was blocked by Tom Bonner and behind for a corner.

Just before half time Cray came closest to a first half goal when following a free kick down the right for which Charlie Harris was booked, Frankie Raymond’s cross towards the far post was missed by keeper Mitch Walker and David Ijaha glanced the ball towards goal which Luca Cocoracchio cleared off the line and came to Jack Holland whose effort was deflected off Cocoracchio and over for a corner.

HT: 0-0

The early stages of the second half were more lively with Charlie Walker testing Shaun Rowley with a free kick to the right of the area.

Then for Cray from a Sam Wood free kick the ball came to Tom Bonner inside the area but fired just over the top.

For Whitehawk, Walker saw a shot blocked and at the other end from Raymond’s free kick, Ellis Brown and George Porter saw efforts blocked.

It was looking like one goal may decide this very tight contest and in the 66th minute Whitehawk went in front when from a corner down the right, Joey Taylor’s inswinger towards the far post looked to have clipped the left post and into the net although Joe Tennent on the line could have got a touch but was credited to Taylor.

Shortly after, Harris shot wide for Whitehawk but in the 73rd minute was shown a second yellow card for a foul down the left of the area.  From the free kick, Raymond’s ball into the box was glanced out to Bonner whose shot was saved one handed by Mitch Walker and going towards goal but was able to claim the ball but it went over the line.

With Alfie Evans, Tom Beere and Rhys Murrell-Williamson added to the fray Cray had a lot of possession in the latter stages and applied pressure winning corners and putting over crosses but couldn’t quite find a shot on goal at the end of it.

The closest Cray came was for Murrell-Williamson who cut inside down the right and his shot from the edge of the area just clipped the crossbar and over.

Whitehawk had defended well through the game and in the last minute with Cray pressing for a leveller broke away to score a second when substitute Josh Nandhra set up Imran Kayani who had a good second half who down the left of the area applied a composed finish to settle the game.

In the end, Cray couldn’t grab a consolation goal and February’s fixtures ended with defeat on a soggy night by the end and Whitehawk had defended resolutely when down to ten men. The Wands kept going but clear chances overall were hard to come by.  Despite the defeat Cray stay 13th in the table on 42 points and still have a solid 19 points buffer from 19th placed Cheshunt and on Saturday visit league leaders Hornchurch looking to bounce back as a busy March gets underway.

Whitehawk: Mitch Walker, Hamish Morrison, Joey Taylor, Tommy Brewer (Ryan Worrall, 56). Joe Tennent, Luca Cocoracchio, Charlie Lambert (Rob O’Toole, 77), Joel Daly, Charlie Walker (Josh Nandhra, 86), Charlie Harris, Imran Kayani: Subs: Alex Malins, Adam Jones

Sent Off: Harris 73

Booked: Harris 45+1, Tennent 63, Kayani 72

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Anthony Cook, Jack Holland, Tom Bonner, Sam Wood, David Ijaha (Tom Beere, 77), Frankie Raymond, Ellis Brown (Rhys Murrell-Williamson, 82), George Porter (Alfie Evans, 77), Yahya Bamba, Gary Lockyer: Subs: Archie Johnson, George Brooke

Booked: Ijaha 50

Referee: Will Briers

Assistants: Nathaniel Roff, Rado Iliev

Att: 159