Thursday 01st September 2005
Saturday 7 August 2004 Go Travel Kent League Challenge Shield Jerry Dowlen reports from Bayliss Avenue
Thamesmead Town 1 Dean Burns 45
Cray Wanderers 2 Matthew Woolf 55 (pen)
Richard Dimmock 87

Cray sign off from Kent League by winning shield

A much-improved second half display by last season's Kent League champions Cray Wanderers saw them overcome League Cup winners Thamesmead Town at sun-soaked Bayliss Avenue and sign off their 26-year spell in the Kent League by winning the Charity Shield for the first time ever.

Cray will now ply their trade in the Ryman League where they surely know that a severe test will await them - hence the number of new signings during the summer. Most of the newcomers were on show, but a notable absentee from the line-ups was Michael Power, the 'Mead's promising young striker and top scorer last season.

Power put pen to paper to sign for Cray in a dramatic transfer coup during midweek, but it was agreed that he wouldn't take part in the Charity Shield game.

A quiet first half saw little goalmouth action at either end. Curtis Williams demanded a fine save from Grant Hall at close range while Matt Woolf went nearest for Cray during their best spell around the half hour mark.

But it was "advantage Thamesmead" when some sleepy work by the Wands ended with a free-kick being conceded in front of goal in the 45th minute. Peter Deadman dummied to take the kick but it was David Martin who let fly and sent his 25-yarder flying past Hall to put the 'Mead one-up.

Cray raised their game in the second half, but even though the 'Mead found themselves being pushed back deeper in defence they still thought that referee Mr Cooper was harsh on them, to say the least, when he awarded Cray a penalty-kick on 55 minutes. Dave Weatherhead was adjudged to have handled a cross into the box, and after the home team's fierce protests had subsided, Matt Woolf tucked away the spot-kick to level the score at 1 - 1.

Worse was to follow for Thamesmead when their 'keeper Steve Northwood had to leave the field injured and centre half Dean Kearley went into goal.

Kearley looked assured between the sticks but his absence from the back four was sorely missed by the 'Mead as the Wands forwards began to run through the gaps.

Using a total of five substitutes at different times in the second half - Thamesmead used only two - Cray continued to dominate the play but they had a big let-off when Williams fluffed a great chance at the other end, shooting weakly wide when clean through.

With 90 minutes on the clock John Mayall released a deep cross from the right to pick out Richard Dimmock who shot past Kearley for the winning goal.

Robert Browning ran through but missed a chance to lob Kearley and add a third goal for Cray - a lapse that nearly cost the Wands dear because Ray Power went very close with a snap-shot at the other end, the ball coming back off the bar after Hall had managed to get enough fingertip on it as it flew past him.

Thamesmead Town: Northwood (O'Boyle), Dudley, Deadman, Brown (Jobling), Kearley, Weatherhead, R Power, Knight, Williams, Burns, Martin.

Cray Wanderers: Hall, Bower (Mayall),  Wood, Gray, Russell, Taylor (Browning), Millar, Kempster, Woolf (Dixon), Carter (Whelan), Bremner (Dimmock) .

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