Sunday 22nd August 2004
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Cray quickly settle with life in Ryman League

CRAY WANDERERS are quickly settling down with life in the Ryman League and remain unbeaten in their first three league games of the season, writes Stephen McCartney.

Ian Jenkins’ side, who clinched the Go Travel Kent League championship for the last two season’s, opened their Division One campaign with a 2-1 win at Burgess Hill Town before following up with an entertaining 2-2 draw at Hayes Lane against Leatherhead.

However, former Herne Bay striker Leigh Bremner was sent off, leaving the home side one man short for the last seventy minutes, although the Wands had enough chances to go on and beat their Surrey opponents.

Cray created a whole host of chances in Saturday’s goal less draw at Hayes Lane against Croydon, who lacked someone upfront to make a difference, as it was the Kent side that spurned the most opportunities.

The one real chance Croydon created came with thirteen minutes remaining when a thunderbolt from 22-yards from Alfie Nunn was brilliantly tipped over the bar by a flying save from Cray stopper Dean Mann.

However, Joe Francis', Cray’s assistant manager, admitted he felt frustrated after his side failed to take any of their many chances to put the game beyond Croydon’s reach.

He admitted: “Very, very frustrating.  First time in two year’s I’ve come out of the dressing room most annoyed.”

It was one of those games when the home side did everything right, apart from finding the composure to find the back John Odlum’s net.

Francis said: “You do get that feeling it was one of those games.

“However, you can’t let that sort of mentality creep into the players minds.

“You have to try and instill a little bit of belief and that is what we did at half time.

“We continued to open them up and carve them open, but just lacked that little bit of composure in front of goal."

Although Croydon only had one real chance in the game, Francis acknowledged if his side were coming up against a better side, they would get punished if they didn’t take their chances.

“We dominated the game.  We started very strongly but at this level I think the strikers have the capability of undoing you if you switch off, even momentarily, and you can be undone,” he said

“It could have happed a couple of times.

“Dean (Mann) has pulled off a fantastic save late on and kept us in it, which would have been absolutely criminal (if they scored).

“The players are really disappointed in the dressing room,” he revealed.

He admitted: “It’s the first time we’ve really been a bit down after a game, but we have to pick ourselves up and we’ve got another chance to make amends on Tuesday and we will get the boys up.”

Francis, however, sees the Croydon stalemate as two points dropped.

He added: “I had in my mind for seven points after three games, so we can consider today as two points dropped.

“It’s early doors and the signs are great – we would have been more displeased if we weren’t creating chances – and we created a lot today.”

Cray make the trip to Tolworth to play Corinthian Casuals on Tuesday night, and will be looking to bounce back and bag three points.

Francis admitted: “We will be going there very positive".

He promised: “The one thing about this side over the last two years is they always react.

“Whenever we’ve had a poor display or a bad result or things have gone against us, a little bit of belief from Jenko (Jenkins) and myself, and I think we will be ready to start all over again.”

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