Cray Wanderers made it three games unbeaten after picking up an excellent point at a very strong Bishop’s Stortford side thanks to Mitch Chapman’s first goal for the club eleven minutes from time cancelling out Frankie Merrifield’s first half strike.

On a rare Friday evening league game Cray perhaps just edged the early proceedings with a free kick out on the right played into the box towards Mitch Chapman was cleared away by a defender.  

Then just after the ten minute mark, Nyren Clunis found space to fire in a shot which was well held by Jack Giddens.

On the quarter of an hour mark Bishop’s went ahead with a quality piece of finishing from the prolific Frankie Merrifield.   The ball was worked from the right to Ollie Peters whose ball across found Merrifield who curled a shot from 12 yards wide of Shaun Rowley and into the net.

Cray were slightly rocking at this stage and Merrifield became the provider two minutes later to set up Peters who down the right hit a shot which came back off the top of the crossbar.

The game then evened out for a spell and Sam Skeffington hit a shot well off target while at the other end Giles was unlucky to see his shot from outside the area go just wide of goal.

Cray though ended the first half well and Skeffington set up Clunis for a shot which was deflected behind for a corner.  

The Wands forced one or two late corners and before half time, Wood’s right wing cross found Skeffington who shot over the top but at half time were still very much in the match.

The second half was an end to end affair from the start and Cray came close to levelling when Charles-Cook cross from the right to the far post was met by the head of Tom Derry but Giddens was able to claim at the left post.

Then the ball went up the other end and Giles from inside the area saw a shot well saved by Rowley and Cray cleared the ball before Tosin Olufemi could get a touch to the ball.

For Cray down the right a cross into the area sought out Dan Bassett who connected to the cross but Giddens got down smartly to claim the ball.

Cray were indebted to Rowley once again shortly after when he got down well to turn aside Egbri’s cross-shot and then Chris Harris was denied a shooting chance by a fine block from the superb Jalen Jones.

Jones almost scored at the other end when from a Wood right wing corner into the box the defender headed over.

Then, Cook, who was lively when he came on down the right saw his shot loop onto the roof of the net via a Bishop’s Stortford defender for a corner.

In the 79th minute Cray got the goal their performance had merited when from a free kick out wide on the right, Wood’s ball into the box was glanced on by Derry and down the right of the area the ball fell to Chapman who picked his spot perfectly to shoot past Giddens and into the net for his first Wands goal.

A minute later though Bishop’s Stortford almost went back in front when Chris Harris latched on to a long pass and fired wide of goal.

The game was entering five minutes of injury time when Cray almost won the match when down the left of the area, Bassett was unlucky as his volley was hit into the ground and Giddens did very well to turn the ball behind for a corner.

Bishop put on a lot of late pressure from throws and corners but in the end Cray proved resolute enough to see out the storm and picked up a fine point against a quality side.

In the end a draw was probably about the right result and perhaps shows more of a maturity about this Cray Wanderers side as perhaps last season would have lost this match.   Cray now move on to a Kent derby against Margate on Bank Holiday Monday at Hayes Lane, 3pm ko with Cray in 13th place and Margate one place above with both on 5 points.


Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Roman Charles-Cook, Harold Joseph (Sinn’kaye Christie, 52), Jalen Jones, Sam Wood, Sam Skeffington (Billy Crook, 70), Mitch Chapman, Michael Ademiluyi (Anthony Cook, 52), Dan Bassett, Nyren Clunis, Tom Derry: Subs: Ben Krauhaus, Gary Lockyer

Att:  399