Thursday 01st September 2005

Missed chances cost Herne Bay

Defending winners Cray have one foot in final

Herne Bay 1-4 Cray Wanderers
Go Travel Kent League Premier Division Cup, Semi-Final First leg
Saturday 27 March 2004
by Jerry Dowlen

Last Saturday week when Cray Wanderers beat Deal Town 4 - 0 at Hayes Lane, their opponents were left wondering how it could have been four-nil when it surely should have been nearer four-three?

And at Winch's Field on Saturday, Herne Bay players and supporters went home shaking their heads and wondering: "How on earth was that a four-one scoreline?"

With steadier nerves and a bit more luck in front of goal the Bay could have had the ball in the Cray net at least three times before the Wands had a shot in anger at the other end. And there were times in the second half too when sharper shooting by the home side could have given them much less of a mountain to climb in the 2nd leg when they come to Hayes Lane next Saturday.

Unfortunately for the Bay, they came up against Cray 'keeper Micky Simmons at his most inspired. While his back four were hesitantly adapting to the unfamiliar conditions of a high-bouncing ball on a hard-baked pitch - Hayes Lane last week was a sponge-pudding surface - man-of-the-match Simmons sprang acrobatically across his goal to make an unbelievable double-save from Bremner and Denly in the 15th minute.

Simmons produced several more good saves during the 90 minutes while Cray, with an economy of effort, grabbed first half goals from Jamie Wood and Jamie Kempster on 28 and 32 minutes - their first two chances of the game.

Lady Luck still refused to smile on the home side after the interval. Jamie Wood's 55th minute shot put the Wands three-up with the help of a deflection. Two shouts for "handball" went unanswered at the other end but then the referee did see Richard Dimmock use his hand in the penalty-area and John Utterson slammed the spot-kick past Simmons.

It was a touch of class by substitute Matt Woolf that put the Wands out of sight after 81 minutes. After a move started by the tireless Ricky Bennett on the right, Woolf collected the ball in centre midfield with seemingly no threat to the home defence, but a quick shimmy and chip-shot left 'keeper Jack Delo clutching thin air as the ball drifted over his head and dropped into the far corner of the net..

Cray Wanderers: Simmons, Whelan, Rawlings, Gray,  S Wood (Evans), Browning, Lover, Kempster (R Dimmock),  J Wood,  Bennett, Heaslewood (Woolf). Subs not used: Mayall, Silk.