Cray Wanderers 3-2 Margate
Cray Wanderers 3-2 Margate

Cray Wanderers picked up their first league win of the season from their Kent derby with Margate on Wednesday night in an entertaining and open game thanks to a double strike from Freddie Parker and a penalty from Joe Taylor.   

With injuries to a number of key players manager Tony Russell brought in centre back Harry Hudson on loan from Watford and Geofrey Okonkwo from Cray Valley, but their bad luck continued inside six minutes when Andre Coker had to limp off and then his replacement Aaron Rhule also had to go off early in the second half.

Margate had started the game better, but it was Cray who had the first real chance when Lewis Carey found Joe Taylor with a long pass, but the striker put his chance wide.

Rhule went close as The Wands had a good spell, while at the other end Kudus Oyenuga set up Adem Ramadan, but he was also off target. Then on the half hour The Wands took the lead when Taylor’s shot from the edge of the box was parried by Jon Miles into the path of Freddie Parker who coolly slotted the ball into the corner of the net from ten yards out.

Then three minutes later it was 2-0 to the home side when Bradley Pritchard was brought down in the box and Taylor sent Miles the wrong way with his penalty. Straight from the kick off Carey made a superb save from Kadell Daniel’s powerful drive to keep Cray two up at the break.                   

The second half saw Margate quickly pull a goal back when Ramadan crossed from the left for Noel Leighton to powerfully head home from six yards out and Daniel was denied by Carey soon after following a lapse in concentration at the back from The Wands.

As the half went on the play became very open with gaps in midfield and both sides were guilty of losing possession too easily, but neither side created any real chances right up until the 73rd minute.

Then the home side extend their lead when Taylor pulled the ball back from the bye line to set up Parker who again found the corner of the net net from just inside the box to make it 3-1.

With Cray now looking confident and playing some great football, Pritchard and Parker both forced saves from Miles in the Margate goal with shots from distance.

The Wands then looked comfortable, but the drama was not completely over as in injury time Gate defender Dan Johnson was on hand to convert a goalmouth scramble and make it 3-2.

The win takes Cray Wands up to eighth in the Isthmian League Premier Division table ahead of their FA Cup game at home to Hythe Town on Sunday.               

Cray – Carey, Williams, Carlse (Allen 45), Nelson, Hudson, Frederico, Pritchard, Lewis, Coker (Rhule 6) (Murphy 55), Taylor, Parker. Subs not Used: Okonkwo, Etumnu.

Margate – Miles, Porter, Ssessingnon, Johnson, Swift, Robins, Oyenuga (Jeffrey 79), Leighton, Daniel, Rogers, Ramadan. Subs Not Used: Hatfull, Pont, Holloway, Ashley.   

Goals; Cray – Parker 30 & 73mins, Taylor 33mins pen. Gate – Leighton 51mins, Johnson 90mins.

HT 2-0 FT 3-2

Att: 242

Referee: Mr Luke Donaldson