Margate 3-4 Cray Wanderers
Margate 3-4 Cray Wanderers

Cray Wanderers began 2020 by returning to winning ways after a seven goal thriller on a murky afternoon at Margate to move back up to 6th and end a three game losing run.

Cray were looking to start on the front foot and had the better of the first half and deservedly led on the half hour when Joe Taylor netted against his former club by following up a blocked shot on the line. 

The second half was non-stop action and three minutes after the break Taylor notched his second of the game turning in Joel Rollinson’s cross. Margate though staged a spirited fightback and within a minute, Kadell Daniel broke through to pull a goal back.  Then in the 62nd minute, Jack Richards’s corner kick was headed in by Noel Leighton.  

Cray though regrouped and on 68 minutes restored the lead with a superb 25 yard strike from Lee Lewis.  Ten minutes from time, Cray took a two goal lead once again as Ben Mundele broke through and drove a shot into the net for his first goal of the season.  However, straight away Margate fought back when Daniel converted a penalty but Cray managed to see out the remaining minutes to claim the points.

The Wands were rather unfortunate to lose at home to Leatherhead on Boxing Day and from the side which started the game, there was the welcome return of Tom Phipp for the first time since early November while Mitchell Nelson also returned following illness and Tom Murphy. They all started in place of Jerome Federico, Karl Dent and Geofrey Okonkwo.  Margate had also been without a win since December 7th but both teams did well to serve up an early 2020 cracker.

Cray began the game in a very positive manner and had the first half opening when Lee Lewis and Tom Murphy combined to set up Joe Taylor but Margate keeper Joe Tupper saved with his legs albeit the linesman’s flag was raised and the effort wouldn’t have counted.

Cray continued to look good going forward and following another corner, the ball eventually came out to Lee Lewis who shot over the top.

The first real near miss came for Cray when Bradley Pritchard’s free kick was glanced fractionally wide of the left post by the head of Phipp.  Cray now had their tails up and Lewis shot wide from just outside the area and then Phipp shot over from 30 yards. Then down the right, Rollinson hit a shot which went into the arms of Tupper.

A goal for Cray looked likeely and it arrived on the half hour after a very patient passing build up from Cray which included 14-15 passes.  The ball was switched from right to left and Charlie Allen did well to slip a pass through to Pritchard down the left hand side of the area and his ball across to the far post was perfectly placed for Taylor whose initial shot was blocked on the line by Porter but following up Taylor lashed home from five yards for his 25th goal of the season.

Following the goal a shot from Lewis was held by Tupper but Margate then had their best spell of the half.  Firstly Adel Ramadan set up Kieran Monlouis and his shot was deflected behind for a corner. Then, perhaps Margate’s best chance of the half, again Ramadan set up Monlouis down the right who just pulled his shot wide of the left post.

Before the break, Rollinson hit a well struck shot which was held by a diving Tupper but on the balance of play Cray deserved their half-time lead.

The first half was entertaining but merely a starter for the main course of a dramatic second half.  With Tom Phipp feeling his way back into action, he was replaced at half time by Karl Dent. The half started in blistering fashion and for Margate Monlouis tested Carey with a shot from 20 yards. 

However, on 48 minutes Cray grabbed a second goal when Taylor jabbed in from about three yards via a deflection.

A minute later, Margate got themselves back into the game when the tricky and skilful Kadell Daniel made a strong run forward into the penalty area and drove a well hit shot past Carey.

The game now end to end, Rollinson shot over the bar for Cray while at the other end Margate claimed a penalty in the area when Leighton went down but a free kick was given on the edge of the area instead.

In the 62nd minute, Margate drew level when Jack Richards’ corner into the heart of the area was powered home by Leighton.

Margate now had their tails up and looked to impose some pressure of their own and Tommy Lamb set up Richards whose ball into the box was well claimed under pressure by Carey.

Cray though were able to regroup and six minutes later they retook the lead. Another good spell of passing down the left saw Taylor and Murphy combine to set up Lewis who from 25 yards hit a crackerjack of a shot high into the top left corner of the net.

Margate almost hit back again straight away with Leighton seeing his shot blocked by Mitchell Nelson and the rebound turned wide by Daniel.

As Cray were began to quell the Margate fire yet another good passing move saw the ball come to Murphy who hit a stinging shot which was turned away superbly by the hands of Tupper.

Then in the 80th minute, Cray looked to have made the game safe when Mundele broke into the penalty area and showed great composure to fire under Tupper to give Cray another two goal advantage.

Margate to their credit didn’t throw the towel in and a minute later were awarded a penalty when Lewis was adjudged to have fouled Richards inside the box albeit the initial contact looked to be outside the area.  From the spot, Daniel scored his second of the game to set up a grandstand finish.

Margate did threaten to tie the game again but despite one or two corners and a couple of defensive clearances Cray were able to hang on and pick up a big three points for Tony Russell’s side and in the process complete a league double over Margate.

This game was a credit to the Isthmian Premier and surely a great match for neutrals. The victory see the Wands move up to 6th on 37 points and a point off the playoff places.   

Margate: Joe Tupper, Chris Sessegnon, Jay Porter (Capt.), Jordy Robins (Tommy Lamb, 63), Dan Johnson, Liam Friend, Jack Richards, Kieran Monlouis, Noel Leighton, Kadell Daniel, Adem Ramadan (Roman Campbell, 58):

Subs: Michael Abnett, Nathan Geddes, Craig Holloway.  

Scorers:  Daniel 49, 81 (p), Leighton 62

Cray Wanderers:  Lewis Carey, Ben Mundele, Charlie Allen, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson (Capt.), Tom Phipp (Karl Dent, H/T), Lee Lewis, Bradley Pritchard, Tom Murphy (Geofrey Okonkwo, 89), Joel Rollinson, Joe Taylor:

Subs: Jerome Federico, Stefan Abatan, Joe Vines. 

Scorers:  Taylor 30, 48, Lewis 68, Mundele 80

Referee: Lee Dyson

Attendance – 367


 
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