Thursday 01st September 2005

Cray brush aside championship rivals

Cray Wanderers 3-1 Thamesmead Town
Wednesday 29 October 2003
Go Travel Kent League Premier Division
by Stephen McCartney

Cray Wanderers brushed aside their championship rivals Thamesmead Town in front of their highest crowd of the season at the Clive Christian Stadium in Hayes Lane on Wednesday night,

The home side created their first chance after 94 seconds but Jamie Wood's shot was saved by Thamesmead Town goalkeeper Steve Northwood.

Moments later Thamesmead's Marc Meridan delivered a cross for Jason Clews, but the former Beckenham Town striker headed wide of the right post from eight yards.

Thamesmead's Dean Kearley headed past Dean Mann after six minutes but the goal was disallowed for offside.

Danny Evans played a delightful ball over the visiting defence, splitting Meridan and Barry Stewart but Ricky Bennett slipped over inside the Thamesmead penalty area, allowing Northwood to collect the ball comfortably.

Peter Deadman's free kick from the left hand side found Mann in form as he dived to push the ball out underneath the crossbar after seventeen minutes as the visiting side had a bright spell.

Cray's seventeen year old right midfielder, Ross Lover, saw a 25 yard shot saved by Northwood, before Andy Silk  drilled a shot wide of the left post.

Cray took the lead after 37 minutes when Lover received a perfectly played long ball and centred for Ricky Bennett and the ball struck Northwood before finding the bottom left hand corner of the net.

A rare mistake by Cray skipper Ian Rawlings, allowed Michael Power to snatch at a shot, which sailed over the crossbar, despite being surrounded by three Cray defenders.

Thamesmead manager Paul Blade blasted his team during the half time break, and they allowed Bennett a shot on goal after only 34 seconds. The shot hit the foot of the right post and was finally cleared by the Thamesmead defence.

Power won the visitors a free kick ten minutes into the second half but his resulting kick from 28 yards ballooned over the crossbar before Mann dived low to his left to save Kearley's pile driver soon after.

Tony Gallagher gained an unfair advantage after 67 minutes when he tried to punch the ball into the net following Deadman's flag kick, and received a booking from Rochester referee Ian Cooper.

Adam Heaslewood was unlucky not to increase Cray's lead when his long range shot went the wrong side of the left post, but Thamesmead were given a lifeline when they equalised after 73 minutes.

Marc Meridan delivered a corner from the left hand side and Mann, who was under pressure in a crowded six yard box, punched the ball into the back of his net.

Mann made up for his mistake a minute later saving Power's shot but the home side restored their lead after 76 minutes,

A good Cray move down the left set up Heaslewood who clinically struck a shot from 20 yards into the top right hand corner.

Silk hooked the ball off the line after Mann flapped at the ball, but Ian Jenkins' side wrapped up their victory by scoring seven minutes from time.

Heaslewood's free kick ricochet inside the Thamesmead penalty area.  The ball struck Northwood twice and James Taylor reacted to the loose ball to slot home into the bottom right hand corner from close range.

Cray Wanderers: Dean Mann, Andy Silk, Ian Rawlings (Capt), John Mayall, Danny Evans, James Taylor (Danny Whelan 90), Adam Heaslewood, Jamie Kempster, Jamie Wood, Ricky Bennett (Sam Wood 83), Ross Lover (Phil Turner 77).  Subs: Danny Whelan, Ian Jenkins

Thamesmead Town: Steve Northwood, Marc Meridian, Peter Deadman (Curtis Williams 70), Tony Gallagher, Dean Kearley, Barry Stewart (Lee Loveridge 80), Pedro Knight, Wayne Barrett (Capt) (Dean Burns HT), Michael Power, Jason Clews, Sam Thomas.  Subs: Aran Heyrettin, Mark Penny

Attendance: 171
Referee: Ian Cooper (Rochester)
Assistants: Tim Slater and Bob Woods