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Cray lose ground in play-off chase
6:52am Sunday 15th April 2012 in Ryman Premier League
Hopes of a promotion play-off place for Cray Wanderers looked to be crumbling like the pitch surface at Hayes Lane after Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Lewes.
It was a third consecutive home defeat for the Wands, who must now call upon their recent impressive away form and win at Bury Town next Saturday to have any chance of keeping their promotion ambitions alive.
Cray stood fifth in the table before kick-off versus Lewes who were sixth, but ninety minutes later the Wands had dropped out of the play-off places after a tightly-fought game that saw little flowing football or goalmouth action on a dry, dusty pitch where the wind made playing conditions even more difficult.
Cray 'keeper Andy Walker made outstanding saves in the early first and second halves, but his opposite number Matt Ingram had a more comfortable afternoon as a lightweight Cray attack found it hard to break down a visiting defence strongly marshalled by the outstanding Steve Robinson.
Walker could do nothing to prevent Lewes's winning goal in the 22nd minute when Nathan Crabb persevered on the left to hold off two Cray defenders and then put in a perfect cross for the unmarked Ian Draycott to head home at the far post.
Cray were close to an equaliser six minutes later when Mark Willy met Jack Clark's corner-kick with a firm header that whistled narrowly wide.
What proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Cray had started badly with an injury to midfield dynamo Chris Saunders, and despite reshuffling the side late in the second half to push Tyrone Sterling into attack on the left, the Wands had no reward for a period of late pressure on the Lewes goal.
Cray: Walker, Long, Willy, Saunders (Lozano 28), Vines, Sterling, Whitnell, Stavrinou, Young, Phillips, Clark (Darvill 64). Subs not used: Perkins, Dolby, Power.
Resting eight of their regular first team players, Cray lost 5-2 at Kingstonian in the London Senior Cup semi-final on Thursday night. The goals came from young Dan Parkinson who had a most promising game at right back, and Danny Young.
Cray are running a coach to Bury Town next Saturday departing from Oxford Road at 10.30am.
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