Thursday 01st September 2005

Cray are stunned by stoppage time bombshell

Slade Green continue to give top clubs a hard time

Slade Green 2-2 Cray Wanderers
Go Travel Kent League Premier Division
Tuesday 10 February 2004
Martin Wiseman reports from The Small Glen

Slade Green may have to settle for a finish in mid-table this season, but one thing is for sure, they are having a mighty big ‘say’ in the current campaign’s Kent League championship race. 

Having taken good points off high flying VCD
Athletic, Maidstone United  and Whitstable Town, earlier in the season, on Tuesday night Green took on clear league leaders Cray Wanderers, who were fresh from last Saturday's FA Vase success, and grabbed a dramatic 92nd minute equaliser to square the game 2-2.

And on a night when possibly Cray's main threat for the title, VCD Athletic took full points off lowly Tunbridge Wells.

 And what a stunning leveller it was from Green involving their two star performers of the evening.  Good play from by teenager, Michael Dallon, having just been introduced as substitute, won Green a corner as the game moved heavily into stoppage time. 

The late flag kick was taken by Dave Martin – the scorer of a Beckham-esque free kick from 35 yards  to put Green ahead after 12 minutes.  He floated the ball deep to the far side of Cray’s box where Mark Sabatino- who as stand in skipper for the missing Darren Upson, had a storming game in defence – rose above everyone and powered an immaculate header into the top right hand corner of Cray’s goal. 

Then just seconds later, a further home attack could have even found Green snatching a most unlikely last gasp victory!!  But this would have been hard on a Cray side, who despite several enforced changes had recovered from a wobbly start to dominate large stretches of the both halves. It was the resolve of a hercualean home defence, a unit that had just recorded three straight clean sheets, that kept Cray’s attack at bay until a minute into first half stoppage time. 

The it was a probing thrust down the right from birthday boy, and captain for the night, young Ross Lover, who got the ball into Jamie Wood, whose bullet from 14 yards gave keeper Paul Vines no chance.

Cray’s incessant second half pressure finally saw them ease ahead for the first time when on 76 minutes, following John Mayall’s cross, a chaotic goalmouth melee ended with Matt Woolf forcing the ball home. 

Ex Greener, Dean Bowey, making his Cray debut, should have wrapped it up for Wanderers when a rare blip by the home defence presented the much travelled goal snatcher with a wonderful chance to make it 3-1.

But it was not to be, and Cray’s delight at what looked to be a certain 3 points, was shattered by that timely and talented final contribution from Green’s heroic duo of the night, Dave Martin and Mark Sabatino.  Referee, Mr Andrews, described it as probably the most enjoyable game he had encountered all season.

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