Cray Wanderers final game of 2021 saw Margate run out winners in an entertaining Christmas Kent derby and inflict a sixth home league defeat of the season.  A day after the game on 28th December Cray Wanderers announced the departure of manager Danny Kedwell by mutual consent. The club are advertising for a replacement with an interim manager expected for Saturday's trip to East Thurrock United. 

The game began in lively fashion with some good passing from both teams but no real chances created until the 10th minute when Cray took the lead.  Cray won a free kick down the left and Tom Hanfrey played a pass up to Kyel Reid who strode forward to the left edge of the area and hit a sweetly struck shot which hit the left corner of the net for his second goal for the club.

Cray enjoyed some good possession and in the 19th minute looked to extend their lead when Reid and Jai Reason combined to set up Anthony Cook just to the right of the area and from 20 yards curled a shot fractionally over the angle of left post and crossbar.   Then Hanfrey found Dickson down the left and his cross-shot fizzed across the box and couldn’t find a player to apply a finish.

Cray came close to getting a second which would have given them a bit of comfort when Reason, Jack Hanson and Dickson combined to set up Reid down the left of the area but fired over the top.

Margate had shown the occasional flash of what they could do first half but drew level in the 37th minute when Ben Greenhalgh made a run forward and his shot deflected off Ethan Kaiser back towards goal where Godo latched onto the ball, went round Vose and the stroked the ball into the net.

This seemed to tip the balance Margate’s way and came close to going in front before half time when down the left, James Bessey-Saldanha whipped over a very good cross which just glanced off the head of Bola and away from goal and eventually put behind for a corner.  

There was a blow at half-time as Dean Beckwith had to go off with a groin pull and was replaced by Marvin McCoy.

Margate came out impressively just after the break and a couple of times tried to work the ball down the right hand side.  In the 50th minute they were close to going in front when after Bessey-Saldanha saw a shot deflected behind for a corner the cross from the right from Greenhalgh was met by a terrific header towards the far post from Lewis Knight which was clawed away by Vose and following up Bessey-Saldanha fired over.

Two minutes later Margate did go in front when a fine ball from Knight down the right put Crossley Lema through into the box and crashed in a near post shot and Cray needed to clear their heads.

On the hour Cray threatened to draw level when Freddy Barton put over a fine cross from the right which was met by a flicked header from Chris Dickson from 14 yards which was well held by Bridle-Card.  At the other end Greenhalgh hooked a volley from 35 yards which went well wide.

After a brief lull the game had a dramatic seven minute spell and in the 70th minute, Godo took advantage of an errant back pass to advance on goal and his shot from just outside the area was fingertipped onto the underside of the crossbar by Vose and not over the line. 

Shortly after Margate came close again when Montel Agyemang went through and his shot seemed to go under Vose but managed to scramble back to claw the ball away and again judged to not be over the line.  

In the 74th minute Cray got back on level terms slightly against the run of play when a ball was played up to just outside the area and Chris Dickson looked to clip the ball goalwards and perhaps took a deflection of Ben Swift and looped towards goal and Bridle-Card couldn’t stop the ball from going into the net.

To be fair to Margate they didn’t allow this piece of mis-fortune to derail them and three minutes later from a corner down the left, Greenhalgh’s ball towards the near post was met by Swift and Vose did well to make a save to push the ball out but fell towards the far post where Knight nodded the ball into the net.

There wasn’t time for another leveller for Cray and Margate saw out the remaining minutes to complete a league double over the Wands. They certainly merited the win on their second half performance . 

Cray remain 21st in the table and do need now to get a run going with urgency as we enter 2022 after the defeat and now head for East Thurrock United on New Year’s Day in a big game down the bottom of the table and in 2022 will proceed with a new man at the helm. 

The club also announced ahead of the game the passing of club President Keith Reeve at the age  of 92 on Christmas Day. A minute silence took place before the game.


Cray Wanderers:  Bailey Vose, Freddy Barton, Dean Beckwith (Marvin McCoy, H/T), Ethan Kaiser, Tom Hanfrey, Cameron Brodie, Jack Hanson (Jamie Yila, 66), Jai Reason, Anthony Cook (Fjord Rogers, 83), Kyel Reid, Chris Dickson:  Subs: Andy Drury, Kasim Aidoo


Att: 441