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Home hoodoo continues as Cray lose to Hendon
Cray Wanderers' home ground hoodoo continued on Sunday when they slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Hendon at Hayes Lane.
After their 1-0 win at top of the table Margate on Boxing Day it was a disappointing change of form and fortune for Cray to see fifth-from-bottom Hendon take all three points with a last minute goal.
Cray made much the brighter start, with Jack Clark prominent in a wave of early attacking moves that kept the visiting goalkeeper busy.
Paul Vines saw a fierce shot held at the second attempt, Leigh Bremner miskicked as he closed in on goal, and Billy Burgess fired over the bar after running unchallenged from the halfway line.
Hendon weathered the storm and gradually came into the game, with Andy Walker grateful to hold a shot from Casey MacLaren after Cray's defence got into a tangle in the 30th minute.
Cray twice had to clear the ball off the line as Hendon ended the first half on top.
After the restart Cray were relieved to see Belal Aide-Ouakrim drill his shot wide of the post with Hendon making loud appeals for a penalty-kick after Isaiah Rankin had gone to ground.
Clark shot wide after a strong run at the visiting defence, and Danny Phillips headed wide from a James Fray cross as Cray tried to seize back the inititaive.
Paul Vines turned and shot over when Alex Stavrinou picked him out, but play was veering from end to end with Walker just managing to claim a low cross from Howard Hall before Rankin could stab the loose ball into the net.
Cray's failure to win home games has become an increasing mystery and worry to manager Ian Jenkins this season, and the hoodoo struck again with exactly ninety minutes on the clock.
A quick throw-in released Hendon substitute Dean Cracknell on the right, and his low cross was fired home by Aide-Ouakrim.
There was enough time for Cray to threaten from two corner-kicks, but the Hendon defence held firm.
Cray: Walker, Burgess, Clark, Fray, Willy, J Vines, P Vines, Stavrinou, Bremner (Power 70), Phillips, Sterling. Subs not used: Parkinson, Fasunan, Estrada, Hall. Attendance: 213.
Cray are away to Thurrock on Tuesday night (7.45pm) then away to Carshalton Athletic on Saturday (3pm).