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Sending off hurts Cray
Leigh Bremner scored his 100th goal for Cray Wanderers in last night's home match versus Whitehawk, but late goals by the visitors' experienced players Dave Lawrence and Scott McGleish handed ten-man Cray a cruel 2-1 defeat.
The game turned on the controversial sending off of Cray skipper Mark Willy after he was adjudged to have been last defender when McGleish went down under a challenge from the home centre half in the 71st minute.
A disappointed Cray manager Ian Jenkins suggested afterwards that until that controversial turning point at Hayes Lane, the game looked to be heading towards a goalless with both defences in firm control.
A superb point-blank save by Andy Walker had prevented a 3rd minute goal from Paul Armstrong after McGleish's killer low ball into the goalmouth, but after that the game had been tight, with Cray only starting to look dangerous in attack when Tyrone Sterling was pushed upfield on the left in the second half.
Chances started to come thick and fast after the sending-off incident, with the Hawks hitting the bar and Walker making a brilliant save from McGleish.
Dramatically it was ten-man Cray who seized the lead on 81 minutes when Bremner surged into the box from the left, was brought down and slammed the resultant penalty-kick into the net.
Cray were looking assured in playing out time until the 89th minute saw the Hawks send in a corner-kick from the right that was powerfully headed home by ex-Millwall and Crystal Palace centre half Dave Lawrence.
And the Wands were undone a minute later when a long ball in from the right was headed home by 38-year old McGleish, ex-Leyton Orient who had also found the net in the Hawks' opening-day game versus Lowestoft Town.
There was still time for Cray to hit the bar in a breathtaking final period of the game that seemed to be like a video suddenly switched to fast-forward.
Cray: Walker, Burgess, Sterling, Saunders, Willy, Day, Sproson (Pooley 46), Stavrinou, Bremner, Phillips, Williams.
Cray are at home to Harrow Borough on Saturday (3pm).