Saturday 01st May 2004

Honours even in Cray and Stones double header

Cray Wanderers and Maidstone United met each other at reserve team level and at first team level on May Day and it was undoubtedly the Wands who had the bigger smiles when the day was done, writes Jerry Dowlen.

Cray's reserves won their second piece of silverware in 48 hours when David Batt's headed goal in the 97th minute proved to be the 1-0 winner against the Stones in the Division One and Two League Cup final at Chatham Town FC in the morning.

Extra time on a heavy waterlogged pitch seemed to be the last thing that the Wands would have wanted, after having played 120 gruelling minutes on Thursday night when defeating Whitstable Town in the final of the Kent Intermediate Cup.

But Sam Wright's team showed their resilience, and with 'keeper Grant Hall in outstanding form they battled through to retain the trophy that they also won in last year's Division One League Cup competition.

After that it was a short journey to Central Park where Ian Jenkins sent out a much-reshuffled eleven to fulfil the first team fixture against the Stones.

With the Kent League championship already won, Cray clearly wanted to rest some of their regular first-teamers before next Saturday's final of the Kent League Cup, a match which offers the Wands a chance to make this a treble-winning season, or a possible five trophies in all, counting the reserve team!

Inevitably there was a subdued, end-of-season feel to the game, but what football there was came mostly from Maidstone in the first half, and Richard Sinden shot them into the lead just after the half-hour mark.

Cray's best spell midway through the second half saw Robert Browning equalise after 65 minutes when he stroked a curling shot high into the top corner of the net.

The game seemed there for the taking for Cray, but Jamie Kempster slashed a shot wide, and Browning ended a strong run with a weak pass straight to an opponent.

Ross Edwards headed what proved to be the winner after 83 minutes and the ever-dangerous Sinden, who had been held up a good few times by the offside flag, demanded a good save from Micky Simmons shortly afterwards.