Cray Wanderers midweek trip to Merstham ended in a second straight league defeat as a goal in each half gave the Moatsiders a merited victory which could have been even more convincing but for some fine saves from Jack Turner in the second half.

The game began at a great pace particularly from Merstham who looked threatening in the opening minutes especially through Korrey Henry down the right. However, it was Cray who created the first real opening in the sixth minute. Cameron Brodie found Andy Drury who played a neat flick through to Chris Dickson down the left of the area and was unlucky to see his lofted shot drop just over the bar.  At the other end though there was a let off when a ball across from Troy Williams was skewed wide of the left post by Chace Jacquart.

Merstham perhaps were edging the game and Henry was unlucky not to score but was denied by an exceptional block by Beckwith and then a free kick out on the right from Dylan Adjei-Hersey was headed wide by Rueben Collins.

Cray weren’t without their moments in attack and following a throw in down the left Anthony Cook’s ball across found Kai Reason who shot wide.

A minute later for all Merstham’s swift attacking play the opening goal was a somewhat scrappy affair as a ball over the top was latched on to by John Ufuah who went past Jack Turner and his goalbound effort was knocked into the net by Beckwith who was looking to clear the ball.

The Wands came close after a free kick from Anthony Cook looked to have been charged down possibly inside the area but another free kick was given right on the edge and from the free kick Cook’s shot hit the outside of the right post.

Close to the break, Henry headed in from a free kick but the linesman’s flag cut short the goal celebrations but at half time Merstham led 1-0.

Cray looked to begin the second half brightly but Merstham continued to look a threat going forward and on 55 minutes the quick Henry down the right was tripped inside the box by Richie Danquah for the award of a penalty. Turner had been successful with saving recent penalties but not on this occasion as Henry confidently stroked home the spot kick.

Aside from a shot from Reason which went over, Merstham were rampant at this stage and almost scored a third when Ufuah’s ball to the far post found Henry but his close range shot was saved well by the legs of Turner.  Then it became chance after chance for the Moatsiders as from a corner the ball came to Jacquart whose shot came back off the left post.

Then came another chance as Henry went through and was denied by a magnificent diving save from Turner pushing the ball round the post.  Then Turner did well again to parry a stinging drive from Dylan Adjei-Hersey.

It looked like Cray were in danger of getting submerged at this time but did have a chance when from a free kick down the right, Drury’s cross was met by the head of Reason but was well claimed by keeper Toby Bull.

Still chances for Merstham came and it should really have been three nil when great play down the left by Ufuah saw the ball squared to the far post where Henry spooned the ball over the bar.  Then, a fine slalom like run from Adjei-Hersey saw the ball played to Ufuah who was again denied by the legs of Turner.

The last real chance of the game fell to Cray in the 81st minute when a fine cross from Freddy Barton into the area fell to Chris Dickson whose first time shot was very well saved  by Bull and did well to follow up before a Cray player could turn in a rebound.

For Cray it was a disappointing outcome after the optimism of the previous game and although perhaps one or two decisions in the first half went against them there could be no realistic complaint that Merstham were the better side on the night and but for Jack Turner could have gone down to a heavier loss.  Cray now have to prepare for what looks a tricky FA Trophy tie at home to Bedfont Sports on Saturday and try to swiftly move on and look to get back to winning ways with a tricky run of fixtures in the league upcoming.           

Team: Jack Turner, Kasim Aidoo, Marvin McCoy (Freddy Barton, 56), Dean Beckwith (Capt.), Richie Danquah, Cameron Brodie, Andy Drury, Anthony Cook, Jai Reason (Adam Coombes, 72), Richard Afrane-Kesey (Jamie Yila, 67), Chris Dickson: Subs: Daniel Uchechi, Jack Hanson

Att: 190