Thursday 01st September 2005

Ten goals in two matches for goal crazy Cray


Tuesday 26th
July 2005
Pre-Season Friendly Stephen McCartney reports from
Park View Road
Erith & Belvedere 2 Sam Friskey 57 (pen)
Ozzie Akif 66
Cray Wanderers 3 Drew Watkins 77,90
Jon Maine 85 (pen)


Following their convincing 7-1 win at Woodbridge Town at the weekend, Cray Wanderers returned to Kent and notched up another victory, but they needed three goals in the final thirteen minutes to beat fancied Kent League side, Erith & Belvedere at Park View Road.

The first chance fell to the Ryman League division one visitors after ten minutes when midfielder Jamie Kempster headed Leigh Bremner's cross from the right flank wide from 16 yards.

Fifteen minutes later the Deres created their first chance in a cagey opening, when former Cray favourite, Paul McCarthy whipped in a cross from the flank and former Bromley and Horsham striker, Steve White, now back in Deres' colours, was strong to nick the ball off Mark Hammond, and slipped the ball to Barry Gibson, but whilst off balanced his rising shot flew wide of the near post.

Cray then created three chances in as many minutes with Bremner, Jon Maine and Kempster all going close before the Deres had the ball in the net after 33 minutes.

McCarthy threaded a neat ball into the path of Dan Jeffries and as goalkeeper Steve Northwood advanced, he rolled the ball towards goal towards the far post.  But White ghosted in and rifled the ball high into the net and the goal was ruled out for offside.  I don't think Jeffries was very pleased!

But White almost made up for that error on the stroke of half time when he went close with a 30-yard drive.

During the half-time interval, Erith & Belvedere made two changes with five new players wearing amber and black.  In total 37 players took to the field in this friendly.

Erith & Belvedere, however, were awarded a penalty in the 57th minute.  Cray goalkeeper Northwood plucked Jeffries shot out of the air, but the striker was brought down from a strong challenge from Joe Vines and the referee pointed to the spot.

Jeffries, however, felt the full brunt of the challenge and had to be stretchered off, and assistant manager, Wayne Baldacchino revealed after the game: "His ankle has blown up hugely.  We are not quite sure if it's a break or ligaments but he's gone off to hospital for a precautionary x-ray.

"Fingers crossed its not major but we are probably losing him for between two-four weeks whether its a break or not."

Sam Friskey managed to beat a diving Northwood to find the back of the net from the resulting penalty.

And the Deres raced into a 2-0 lead nine minutes later, and only three minutes after Cray changed goalkeepers.

Dean Mann had made a fine double save but Deres' half-time substitute, Ozzie Akif rifled home the rebound from close range.

Baldacchino blamed the frequent substitutions he was forced to make, with it being a pre-season friendly, for his side squandering a two-goal lead as Cray came back to steal the victory.

Drew Watkins scored his first with a 22-yard drive which found the bottom far corner with substitute goalkeeper Neil Murray well beaten.

And with five minutes left, Jamie Wood won his side a penalty and Maine sent Murray the wrong way from the penalty spot.

And it was Watkins again, that sealed the victory.  Receiving a square pass from Maine, the former Folkestone Invicta wing-back, took one touch to control the ball and from the second, from the same distance as before, his shot sailed past the goalkeeper and into the roof of the net.

Baldacchino said afterwards: "Very disappointed.  I don't think we deserved to lose.  We should have at least got a draw out of that game.  2-0 up and cruising, possibly too many subs but the idea of making subs is to give people a run-out.

"So in a match circumstance it was disappointing.  Normally we wouldn't make so many substitutions and I felt with the eleven we started, we looked quite comfortable, we were competing in every department, on the floor, in the air, zones, everything was equal.

"We nicked a 2-0 lead and I felt we were strong enough and capable enough to keep that but unfortunately a couple of lads came on didn't quite concentrate to the levels required."

He did admit a change of formation helped the team race into a 2-0 lead.

"We matched them in every department," he said.  "I was very pleased with the work-rate.  We were closing them down very quickly, we didn't allow them any time or space.

"We went from 4-4-2 at half time to 3-5-2 just to accommodate the lads that came on, and it's the 3-5-2 that got us the 2-0 lead.

"So I felt the 3-5-2 was more productive but the amount of substitutions and the trialists that came on just lost the plot a little bit and lost concentration."

Cray Wanderers' assistant manager, Joe Francis, however, played down the victory, as it was only a pre-season friendly.

"Yes I'm happy, but pre-season friendlies you never get too ecstatic about do you?" he said.

"I thought it was a good game, both sides disciplined, had a go, it's a game of football, still in July."

And it's these games in July that give managers and coaches time to look at new players, and Francis admitted he was pleased with Gary Ward and Joe Wood, who both came off the bench.

"We are just having a chance to look at people and people in different slots, just get people fit really so we can make our final adjustment.

"Gary Ward has come over from VCD Athletic and we are just having a look at him. It's very difficult for players to break into this squad because its established.

"Gary has applied himself really well in training and we'll make our mind up in a couple of weeks and if we don't want him he can make alternative arrangements, but we haven't made our mind up yet.

"Joe Wood is Sammy Wood's bother, and we've known about Joe for two or three years now.

"He's a lovely little footballer, he's got that creative eye and he's looking to play again."

And Francis added: "We are really positive (about the league season).  We've kept everyone together from last year, we've only lost one player (Matt Woolf (work) and added a couple of new ones.

"My old friend Gary Abbott, who will be an absolute plus for us, because of his experience and the way he wants to work with the youngsters, we are very positive."


Erith & Belvedere: Ricky Hall (Neil Murray 65), Tom Maycock, Edwin Mante, Luke Morrish, Tony Dakin (Peter Afolayan 46), Sam Friskey (Adam Groborsky 81), Mark Horan (Sam Whittington 72), Paul McCarthy (Ozzie Akif 46), Dan Jeffries (Darren Adams 56), Steve White, Barry Gibson (Jamie Lawrence 72)

Cray Wanderers: Steve Northwood (Dean Mann 63), Drew Watkins, Mark Hammond (Jamie Wood 46), David Gray (Dean Morris 46), Danny Bower (James Taylor 46), Joe Vines, Ross Lover (Chris Dickson 46), Jamie Kempster (Gary Ward 63), Gary Abbott (Joe Wood 46), Leigh Bremner (David Hall 63), Jon Maine