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Cray share the points with Canvey
Superbly-taken goals by Paul Booth for Cray Wanderers and Bradley Woods-Garness for Canvey Island were the highlight of a nailbiting 1-1 draw at Hayes Lane on Tuesday night.
The two sides had different reasons for needing something from the game, with the Wands anxious to pull further away from the relegation zone and the Gulls looking to cement their presence in the play-off placings.
And it was Cray who drew first blood in the 25th minute. Booth received the ball in space on the left edge of the penalty area and despite the efforts of the visiting defenders to dispossess him he carried the ball to a more central position before executing an exquisite curled shot that sailed past the left hand of the helpless Ashley Jones.
This was a good first half display by the Wands, and shortly after the restart a header from Leigh Bremner flashed past the angle of crossbar and post.
Immediately after this the Wands were pegged back to 1-1. Disaster struck when the defence was opened up for Woods-Garness to burst through in the 55th minute and send an accurate lob over the oncoming Walker to land in the empty net.
The Gulls looked the more likely to score the next goal for a while, as Cray lost some of their shape, but with great credit to their battling spirit the Wands came again in the last fifteen minutes and it was anyone's guess what the final score might be as play raced from one end of the field to the other.
Walker made a crucial save on 73 minutes to deny Woods-Garness who had again got clean through, and then in the space of two minutes the Wands nearly scored twice.
The determined Bremner, playing one of his many splendid games for the Wands, battled through on the right and sent in a low cross that a defender hacked over the bar. From the resulting corner-kick Booth produced a goalbound header that Jones just managed to claw away, diving full-stretch to his left.
From a Canvey corner-kick the dangerous Woods-Garness then had his turn to nearly score from a header, and then the very last action of a hard-fought and even game saw Jones grab the ball from Booth before the unmarked Cray striker could connect with Sam Long's free-kick from the right.
Cray: Walker, Pooley, Clark (Fray 48), Saunders, Willy, Day, Booth, Stavrinou, Bremner, Phillips, Long.
Cray travel to play Bury Town on Saturday (3pm).