Cray Wanderers 3-5 Wingate & Finchley
Cray Wanderers 3-5 Wingate & Finchley

Cray Wanderers suffered their seventh consecutive defeat on Wednesday night when they lost out in an eight goal thriller to Wingate & Finchley at Hayes Lane. 

Fielding two debutants in defender Tom Hanfrey and forward Richard Afrane-Kesey The Wands lined up in a 5-4-1 formation with Danny Kedwell in the middle of three centre backs and they made a very positive attacking start.

Anthony Cook caused lots of problems with a series of dangerous corners, one of which that was tipped over the bar by Wingate keeper Ben Goode, another that was the cause of a shout for hand ball and then one more that was headed wide by Quaine Bartley.

From there the visitors came into things, with Loic Hernandez setting up Alphonso Kennedy who headed over. With the game wide open Bartley and Andy Drury had efforts of target for Cray, while Bilal Sayoud had a powerful shot saved by Jack Turner in The Wands goal.

Then came the breakthrough for Wingate when Kennedy’s powerful shot from distance was parried by Turner and Liam Smyth was on hand to convert the rebound from close range.

The pacey and skillful Kennedy then fired just wide across goal soon after and Daniel Pappoe headed a chance from a corner over the bar as the visitors looked to extend their lead. Cray also threatened though with Cook lobbing a long ball over the bar and Afrance-Kesey hitting the post with a long range shot from out wide.

A strong run from Sayoud set up Smyth at the other end, but the striker somehow missed his chance from a few feet out.

Then on 39 minutes The Wands drew level when Bartley broke down the right and sent in a  great ball for Cook to equalise from ten yards out.

Afrane-Kesey then had a shot saved at the near post by Goode, while at the other end Sayoud missed two chances and Lewis Hobbs headed wide from a corner. 

The second half saw Cray start well again, Afrane-Kesey had a shot saved and put another chance wide, before the visitors re-took the lead on their first real attack.

Sam Hatton drove the ball from distance, which Turner managed to palm away, but as The Wands defence failed to clear their lines the ball came back to Hatton who this time caught Turner out with a dipping drive from 25 yards that made it 2-1 to Wingate & Finchley.

The visitors sensed blood and adopted a shoot on sight policy from there with Dominic Sadi hitting a fierce shot from range, which Turner parried out to Sayoud who bundled the ball home for 3-1 and within minutes it was 4-1 when Sadi hit another thunderbolt that beat Turner all ends up this time.

Stunned into action Kedwell rang the changes and also altered the formation, the introduction of Adam Coombes making a difference to Cray’s attacking threat.

Fellow sub Archie Burnett put in a great ball from the right for Coombes to head home for 2-4 and after Sayoud had been denied by Turner, Cray made it 3-4 when Hobbs brought down Kasim Aidoo in the box and Cook converted the penalty past Goode.

A frantic last ten minutes followed, a diving effort from Coombes saw him put Aidoo’s cross just wide of the far post as Cray looked to level up, but with two minutes to go the visitors killed the game off.

With The Wands pressing forward, Wingate broke up field and Jabir Laraba showed some great speed and footwork to create space on the edge of the box before driving the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3-5 and end the scoring for the night.

This was a tough one for The Wands who looked to be in the game for long periods, but let things get away from them around the hour mark and couldn’t claw their way back against a fast paced and strong opposition. 

The Wands now travel to Carshalton Athletic on Saturday hoping to turn things around, having slipped into the bottom four with this result.                          

Cray – Turner, Barton (Yila 77), Aidoo, Drury (Burnett 67), Cray, Hanfrey, Brodie, Kedwell, Afrane-Kesey, Bartley (Coombes 68), Cook.

Subs not used: McCoy, Rogers. 

Wingate – Goode, Hatton, Hernandez, Hobbs, Pappoe, Andall-Gibbons (Njie 90), Smyth (Laraba 68), Sayoud (Gibbons 85), Kennedy, Peters, Mubaiyi, Sadi.

Subs Not Used: Peters, Goather-Braithwaite.

Goals: Cray – Cook 39 & 78 pen, Coombes 69mins. Wingate – Smyth 22, Hatton 58, Sayoud 64, Sadi 66, Laraba 88mins.

Ref – Mr Scott Rudd  

HT 1-1

FT 3-5    

Att; 140