Wingate & Finchley vs Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier, Saturday 4th November – Match Report
Wingate & Finchley 1
Cray Wanderers 3
Lockyer 31, Raymond 49, Cook 59
Photos: Ozay Booth
Cray Wanderers moved up to 17th and out of the bottom four in the Isthmian Premier after a pre-Fireworks Night victory at Wingate & Finchley.
The Wands went ahead in the 31st minute when Gary Lockyer made it three goals in four matches with a classy finish from Ellis Brown’s cross. However, six minutes later the home side levelled with a quality free kick strike from Ruben Carvalho. Wingate & Finchley though were reduced to ten men five minutes from half time when Alkeo Bani was sent off for violent conduct which led to a players altercation.
Cray took advantage early in the second half going back in front when Frankie Raymond fired in at the near post following a corner in the 49th minute. Then ten minutes later, Anthony Cook got on the scoresheet from a free kick on the right edge of the penalty area. From there Cray were able to see out the last half hour for the third win on the road this season.
On a chilly but thankfully mostly dry afternoon, Cray were looking to return to winning ways in the league after three games without a win and from the team which played Ebbsfleet United in the Kent Senior Cup on Tuesday night, into the side came David Ijaha, Nyren Clunis and Alfie Evans in place of Sam Wood, Reggie Rye and Tom Penfold who has joined Hastings United. On the bench for the Wands were new signings Antonio Dembele who joined from Harrow Borough and defender Emmanuel Kwartchey on a month loan from Leyton Orient.
Wingate & Finchley had lost their last two matches both at home and from the side beaten by Enfield Town on Tuesday there were three changes with Loic Hernandez, Alkeo Bani and Rhamar Garrett-Douglas coming in for Ryan Sellers, George Wilkinson and Luke Ifil.
The game started in a very scrappy fashion with the home side dominating possession early on but not really creating too much with the nearest when Ahmet Biler down the left found Alkeo Bani whose shot from outside the area was blocked.
Cray began to get more into it after fifteen minutes and a free kick from Anthony Cook played towards the near post came off the chest of keeper Ben Goode for a corner. Then, Ellis Brown down the left cut into the area but his ball across had no takers in the box.
In the 28th minute, Cray came close when from a corner down the right from Frankie Raymond the ball into the area was helped on by Alfie Evans to set up Gary Lockyer for a shot on the turn which was well held by Goode.
Three minutes later Cray took the lead when after a speedy counter attack the ball came to Brown down the right and his ball across to the near post was turned in expertly by Lockyer for his fourth goal of the season.
Despite the hard work of going in front, the lead lasted only six minutes as Wingate & Finchley levelled with their first shot on target when from a free kick to the right of the area, Ruben Carvalho curled a classy strike into the left corner of the net.
Two minutes later though the game had a flashpoint moment when after the award of a Wands free kick down the right following a coming together of players, Bani appeared to raise his hand which led to a skirmish and was shown a red card for violent conduct.
From the free kick, Anthony Cook’s cross to the far post was volleyed over by Jack Holland.
With the man advantage, Cray began the second half on the front foot and Evans saw a shot blocked and behind for a corner. From the corner the ball came to Jamie Mascoll who also saw a strike deflected wide of the right post for another corner.
From the corner from the right, Raymond played a one-two with Brown and after cutting into the area fired in a near post shot with precision which beat Goode and into the net.
Cray almost scored a third shortly after when Yahya Bamba was played through and finished well but the flag was raised for offside.
That was only a temporary reprieve as in the 59th minute it was 3-1 when following the award of a free kick in a central position Anthony Cook curled the ball round the wall and through the dive of Goode and into the net.
The Wands were able to bring on Emmanuel Kwartchey for his debut for the last twenty minutes in the back four in place of Cook.
Wingate & Finchley almost pulled a goal back when Mathew Achuba set up Anointed Chukwu who fired wide of the left post.
For Cray, a cross from the left was helped on by Lockyer for Brown whose shot was on target and held by Goode.
Antonio Dembele and George Porter came on for the closing ten minutes and in the end the Wands were able to show good game management skills to see out the match and pick up a vital three points.
Cray’s league position hadn’t really been reflected in performances so with the win, the Wands can start looking onwards and upwards. There were some fine performances especially from Raymond, Evans, Ijaha and Holland at the back and Lockyer up front was very sharp and linked up well with Brown.
The Wands will next be at home for a double header with Tooting & Mitcham United visiting in the London Senior Cup on Wednesday night and then in the league at home to Carshalton Athletic on Saturday, 11th November.
Wingate & Finchley: Ben Goode, William Cracknell, Loic Hernandez (Olarinde Williams, 67), Alkeo Bani, Ben Frempah, Mathew Achuba (George Wilkinson, 86), Rhamar Garrett-Douglas, Ruben Carvalho (Emmanuel Yeboah, 79), Anointed Chukwu, Elliot Long, Ahmet Biler: Subs: Christian Frimpong, Zack Newton
Sent Off: Bani 40
Booked: Hernandez 33, Frempah 43, Mathew Achuba 65, Garrett-Douglas 90
Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Anthony Cook (Emmanuel Kwartchey, 69), David Ijaha, Jack Holland, Jamie Mascoll, Alfie Evans, Ellis Brown, Frankie Raymond, Nyren Clunis, Yahya Bamba (George Porter, 81), Gary Lockyer (Antonio Dembele, 81): Sub: Hugo Webb
Booked: Mascoll 36, Ijaha 41
Referee: Derrick Laing
Assistants: Dani Mansour, Carl Jones