Cray Wanderers five game unbeaten league run came to an end on Saturday as Hashtag United won the first ever league match between the sides with a second half goal against a Wands side down to ten men for just over an hour after the dismissal of Tom Bonner.

Cray were looking to continue the unbeaten run but looking for a win after three successive home draws.  From the side which drew with Haringey Borough on Sunday there was one change to the starting lineup with Yahya Bamba coming in for Alfie Evans.  On the bench for the Wands was new signing, former Peterhead winger Tone Kusel-Gabriel while Emmanuel Kwatchey’s loan spell from Leyton Orient has been extended.

The game began at a quick pace and Hashtag exerted some early pressure and Shaun Rowley made a quick block to deny Toby Aromolaran.  However, in the 3rd minute Cray came close when George Porter down the left put over a cross which flicked to the far post to Yahya Bamba whose first time shot hit the top of the woodwork.

For Hashtag, Misha Djemaili was an early threat and sent over a cross-shot down the right looking perhaps to catch out Rowley but floated just over.  Then Harry Haysom saw a shot deflected for a corner and at the other end a free kick from Frankie Raymond down the right into the six yard box was glanced on by Jack Holland but to keeper Ted Curd.

In the 18th minute Cray came close when another Raymond free kick from the right was again met by a Holland header but Curd did well to push the ball behind for a corner.

A minute later, Hashtag threatened with a free kick from 25 yards and Djemaili’s shot was turned over by Rowley.

From here the game lost a bit of its early quality and in the 26th minute, Cray were reduced to ten men after a bit of a spat in the middle of the field which saw Thomas Anderson booked for Hashtag but in the aftermath, Tom Bonner was shown a red card for raising his hands to the defender leaving Cray to play an hour plus a man down.

Cray looked to recover with David Ijaha playing at the back and shortly after Ellis Brown flicked wide from a left wing free kick but Hashtag almost took the lead when Rowley did well to make a blocked save to deny Djemaili.

Then from a corner, Max Cornhill headed wide for Hashtag but Cray were still very much in the game and a Brown cross from the left was knocked wide of the right post by Gary Lockyer.

The final action of the half saw a Djamaili shot which lacked power held by Rowley while for Cray, Bamba flashed a shot wide of the right post.

It looked like it was going to be a long second half for Cray being down to ten men and a couple of minutes after half time Hashtag had a good chance when Nathan Smith’s left wing cross to the far post was fired over by Alex Teniola.  

Cray battled on and in the 50th minute, Lockyer with his back to goal hooked wide of the right post and the game was still in the balance with Armolaran seeing an effort blocked.

Anthony Cook made a good run forward down the right for Cray and from the edge of the area shot wide of the left post.

Hashtag introduced substitutes Luke May-Parrott and Sakariya Hassan just after the hour and in the 64th minute took the lead.  From a corner down the left the cross into the box Rowley couldn’t get to and from a scramble in the six yard box May-Parrott stabbed home.

Cray now had to battle to stay in the game and introduced Emmanuel Kwatchey and Tone Kusel-Gabriel for the latter stages but despite putting in a great effort couldn’t get enough of the ball to threaten a very strong Hashtag defence.

For Hashtag, Hassan came close in the 71st minute with a shot on the turn which well held by Rowley.  Then Hassan cracked in a shot which hit the bar and went over.

Cray’s last half chance came in stoppage time when Raymond’s ball into the area was fired wide of the left post by Ellis Brown but that was basically the last action of the game.

This game was similar to the defeat at Canvey Island at the end of October where Cray battled hard with ten men and deserved something more from the game but Hashtag are a strong side and look set to have a good debut season in the Isthmian Premier.

Cray will look to bounce back with four successive home matches starting on Boxing Day against Margate and to return to winning ways


Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Anthony Cook (Emmanuel Kwatchey, 65), Tom Bonner, Jack Holland, Jamie Mascoll, David Ijaha, Frankie Raymond, Ellis Brown, Yahya Bamba (Tone Kusel-Gabriel, 65), George Porter, Gary Lockyer (Alfie Evans, 88):  Subs: Cameron Black, Sam Wood


Att: 177