Whitstable Town 1 Cray Wanderers 5
Cray Wanderers 4th game of pre-season ended in a professional and slick victory at Whitstable Town with Joe Taylor scoring all five goals for the Wands including four before half time.
On a warm and sunny afternoon after the early morning rain, after an even start to the game, Cray took the lead in the 14th minute when Taylor got the final touch to prod the ball over the line from Mitchell Nelson’s flick on and they never looked back from there. In the 21st minute, Taylor scored his second with a low finish from the edge of the area.
Whitstable looked to be making a comeback when six minutes before half time pulled a goal back with a neat finish from Marcus Elliott. However a minute later the two goal lead was restored when Taylor followed up a save from Dan Easton to make it 3-1. On half time, Taylor converted again from a Freddie Parker cutback to complete the first half scoring. The second was less dramatic and four minutes after the break Taylor scored his fifth with a classy, lofted finish from Karl Dent’s pass. After that Cray were able to see out the remainder of the game for a satisfactory afternoon.
For this match, Cray were led from the bench by Nathan White with Tony Russell and Joe Vines away and with Sam Wright a nominated substitute.
Three trialists began the game at the Belmont on a superb pitch and the omens were good for a quality game of football with both sides looking to play attractive football.
Cray were the first to bare their teeth and Joe Taylor tested keeper Dan Easton with a near post shot down the right which was blocked by the keeper. Then two trialists wearing no 7 and 8 combined down the right and the cross from the no 7 just missed the onrushing 8 and went across goal.
For the home side Tom Bryant tested Lewis Carey with a shot from the edge of the area which the keeper got down well to save.
Cray looked to make the breakthrough and Barney Williams found the no 7 whose shot at the near post was pushed out by Eason and as Williams looked to convert the ball was put behind for a corner.
From the corner in the 14th minute, Cray took the lead when Parker’s cross was partially pushed out by Eason and at the far post Mitchell Nelson glanced the ball towards goal and Taylor got the final touch to turn the ball over the line.
Seven minutes later Cray scored a second with a well taken goal and Tom Carlse laid the ball across to Taylor who from the edge of the box rifled in a low shot which crept into the net to make it 2-0.
There was a chance for Whitstable when Alex Anderson broke through and advanced on goal but Carey showed great awareness to come out claim the ball.
Whitstable did pull a goal back in the 39th minute when following a move down the right, the ball came to Marcus Elliott who found space to drill a shot into the bottom right corner from 10 yards.
A minute later though Cray Wanderers made it 3-1 when a trialist wearing no 11 fired in a shot from the edge of the area which was parried by Eason and following up Taylor tapped the ball home to complete his hat-trick.
Whitstable almost pulled another goal back when James Trueman down the left of the area broke into the box and his shot on goal was cleared off the line by Jay Leader.
There was still time in a breathless first half for a fourth Cray Wanderers goal when the no 11 found Parker down the left and his half hit effort fell invitingly to Taylor who volleyed the ball into the net.
Half Time: 1-4
It appeared we were in for more of the same in the second half when in the 49th minute, Cray scored a fifth and Taylor made it a nap hand when Karl Dent’s superb pass found the striker down the left of the area and coolly lifted the ball over Eason and into the net.
The rest of the half was played at a more sedate pace but there were still one or two opportunities and a corner was flicked wide by Mitchell Nelson. Then for Whitstable, Anderson shot wide of goal.
For Cray down the right of the area, Dent lifted a shot over the bar while for Whitstable they put together a neat passing move which ended with a shot by Liam Gillies which required Carey to push the ball out and behind for a corner.
The Wands looked for a sixth goal and another neat pass from Dent put Neil Spencer away down the right and sent his shot fractionally over the bar. Then Spencer became provider as his cross field ball found Taylor looking for a double hat-trick but his shot was saved.
Then Taylor was denied by Eason after a strong run from Charles Etumnu and he laid the ball across to Taylor but Eason was just able to gather the ball before Taylor could shoot.
Before the end Cray threatened again when after a neat move Carlse hit a shot which was inadvertently blocked by Taylor.
The last action of the game came with practically the last kick for the home side who kept battling on and from a free kick 20 yards from goal, Osman Proni’s shot was well saved by Carey pushing the ball out.
In the end Cray were solid and professional while playing some stylish football and it was a very satisfactory afternoon particularly for the sharp as a tack Taylor.
This was an enjoyable afternoon at a great place to watch football and now Cray head to Essex for their next friendly on Wednesday night when they travel to the Parkside to face Grays Athletic, ko 7.45pm.
Cray Wanderers: 1. Lewis Carey, 2. Barney Williams, 3. Tom Carlse, 4. Jay Leader (15. Charles Etumnu), 5. Mitchell Nelson, 6. Tom Phipp (12. Lee Lewis), 7. Trialist (14. Karl Dent), 8. Trialist, 9. Joe Taylor, 10. Freddie Parker, 11. Trialist (18. Neil Spencer):
Whitstable Town: Dan Eason, Jack Mackenzie, James Trueman, Connor Sanders, Tom Bryant, Marcus Evans, Luke Girt, Osman Proni, Marcus Elliott, Tarik Ibrahim, Alex Anderson: Subs: Danny Patterson, Liam Dickson, Owen Pitt. Liam Gillies, Muhammed Cham, Ryan Birch
Referee: Kirsty Dowle