Cray Wanderers moved up into 5th place in the Isthmian Premier League table after an excellent victory against unbeaten Folkestone made it five league games without defeat for Cray and the first away win of the season.

Twice Cray had to come from behind in the first half as Folkestone took the lead with a brace of goals from Adam Yussuf, the first with a 12th minute penalty and another with a fine header from an Ira Jackson cross. However, Cray showed resilience and Tom Derry scored his first goal for Cray with an emphatic header from a Dan Bassett cross in the 19th minute. After Cray had to rejig things following injuries to Roman Charles-Cook and Harold Joseph, in stoppage time the Wands drew level again with a precise header from Sinn’kaye Christie from a Billy Crook cross.

Cray went in front in the 64th minute with a superb piece of finishing from Sam Wood who cut inside from the left and smashed a shot into the bottom right corner for his first goal of the season.  Cray soaked up pressure well and three minutes from time scored a fourth when Dan Bassett who had a tremendous game out on the left found space to fire in a shot which went in off the left post via the hand of keeper Bailey Vose to help seal the victory.

Prior to the kick off there was an impeccably observed minute silence and National anthem as respect for HM Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III.

On a damp evening Cray began the match well and had the first real shooting chance in the 8th minute when Dan Bassett hit a well struck shot from the edge of the area which was well held by ex-Wand Bailey Vose. 

Slightly against the run of play in the 12th minute, Folkestone were given the opportunity to take the lead with the award of a penalty after a cross down the right towards the far post saw Adam Yussuf pushed to the ground by Roman Charles-Cook and from the spot Yussuf slotted home his fourth of the season.

Cray got back into the game quickly and deservedly levelled in the 19th minute when down the left, Dan Bassett who was having a huge impact sent over a cross which was met by a strong, firm header from Tom Derry to notch his first Wands goal. 

Unfortunately for Cray, Charles-Cook who had just returned to the side following a wrist injury had to come off and Harold Joseph came on in the 24th minute.

Still Cray just seemed to have the edge but once again fell behind in the 33rd minute after a razor sharp break from Folkestone saw the ball moved down the right and Ira Jackson’s cross to the near post was headed in once again by Yussuf.

At this stage the game was looking like it might drift away from Cray as Invicta had the ball in the net two minutes later but was disallowed for offside. Kadell Daniel steered a header off a post and across goal and then down the right Jackson saw a shot turned behind by Shaun Rowley.  A Ronnie Dolan free kick was glanced wide by Daniel and then Jackson was denied by another excellent save from Rowley getting down well to turn the ball aside.

Again Cray had to make a change in the last minute of the half when Anthony Cook came on for the injured Joseph.   

With two minutes of injury time played, Cray who had just weathered an Invicta storm levelled once again when from a free kick down the left, Cook found Billy Crook who in played the ball into the box where a relatively unmarked Sinn’kaye Christie had time to plant a header past Vose and into the net and at half time the game was tied at 2-2.

The second half saw an early whipped cross from Yussuf go across the goal for Folkestone but Cray were defending well and there were not so many chances for Invicta in the early stages of the half.

In the 64th minute, Cray went in front for the first time with a goal of genuine quality when down the left, Crook found Sam Wood who cut inside and with time was able to rifle an unerring shot wide of Vose and into the net with an exceptional strike.

Cray almost scored a fourth when down the right Michael Ademiluyi set up Derry who was unlucky to see his shot go just past the left post.

There was some late pressure from Folkestone and Callum Davies with a fizzing strike from distance forced Rowley into another great save pushing the ball behind for a corner.

Cray though had played almost a perfect game in the second half and three minutes from time Bassett who gave an exemplary example in wing play managed to break forward and from just outside the area saw his shot via the hand of Vose hit the left post and almost in slow motion seemed to roll into the net.

The Wands saw out the remaining minutes and picked up a huge three points, the first on the road this season and Cray are now unbeaten in five league games and did well here against a very good, direct and talented Invicta side and having weathered that late first half storm showed resilience to win the game.


Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Roman Charles-Cook (Harold Joseph, 24, Anthony Cook, 45), Jalen Jones, Sinn’kaye Christie, Sam Wood, Sam Skeffington, Mitch Chapman, 

Billy Crook, Michael Ademiluyi, Dan Bassett, Tom Derry (Gary Lockyer, 90): Subs:

Jargal Enkh, Ben Krauhaus