A goal five minutes into injury time by substitute Alfie Evans earned Cray Wanderers a point against second placed Chatham Town, dealing a blow to the Chats chances of catching league leaders Hornchurch and ending a run of two successive home defeats

Cray took the lead in the 21st minute when Jack Holland scored his first goal for the Wands heading in a Frankie Raymond free kick but Chatham levelled in the 34th minute courtesy of Harvey Bradbury heading in a Jordy Robins cross-shot.

Chatham Town went in front in the 63rd minute through substitute Francis Mampolo but Cray battled hard and merited a point in the end with Evans firing home from a Raymond corner to make it 2-2 in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Cray were looking to bounce back from Sunday’s home defeat to Folkestone Invicta against a very confident Chatham Town side who have impressed in their first season in the Isthmian Premier and seem certain to be playoff bound.  From the side which played on Sunday into the team came Tom Bonner and Enoch Muwonge for Cameron Black and Rhys Murrell-Williamson who have departed the club.  For Chatham Town who had ex-Wands players Danny Kedwell, Jamie Mascoll and Jamie Yila in their starting lineup there were a couple of changes to the side which beat Haringey Borough last Saturday with new signing Harvey Bradbury from Farnborough and Jordy Robins coming in for James Dunne and another ex-Wand, Chris Dickson.

On a bright if chilly and a touch breezy afternoon the game was played at a brisk pace and Cray came close to scoring in the third minute when Gary Lockyer found Muwonge down the right and his cross came to Tom Beere inside the area who turned to find space and his shot was pushed out by Mitchell Beeney.

For Chatham, a left wing cross by Mascoll had to be palmed away by Shaun Rowley.  Then from a free kick, Jack Evans found Mascoll whose cross deflected off Jack Holland for a corner.  This was followed by Ashley Nzala winning a corner and the ball came to Evans down the right whose looping cross came back off the left post and following up Sid Nelson setup Jordy Robins for a shot over.


Chatham were enjoying possession but in the 21st minute Cray went in front when from a free kick down the left, Frankie Raymond sent over a fine ball into the area which was met emphatically by Jack Holland with his head to score his first Cray Wanderers goal.

For Chatham Town in the 26th minute, Evans hit the post for the second time from Nzala’s pull back down the right and following up Bradbury was flagged offside.

In the 34th minute Chatham equalised when after a good spell of passing down the left Yila and Mascoll combined to find Robins whose cross-shot was glanced into the net by Bradbury.

Chatham began to dominate the rest of the half and Nzala headed wide at the right post but had to leave the field through injury and was replaced by Francis Mampolo, recently signed on loan from Tonbridge Angels five minutes before the break.

Chatham almost took the lead before half time when Yila’s cross down the left to the far post was fired wide by Bradbury and then Miguel Scarlett made a run forward and set up Yila for a shot that was blocked.

Cray began the second half in positive fashion and Sam Wood who had an outstanding second half found Beere who volleyed wide from 25 yards.

Chatham Town, who probably needed to win the game to put pressure on Hornchurch at the top of the table, looked to respond and Yila found Mampolo whose shot was deflected over for a corner.

The game then went through a bit of a lull before in the 63rd minute Chatham took the lead when Mampolo cut inside from the left and let fly with a shot from the edge of the area high into the net.

Cray introduced Anthony Cook, Ellis Brown and Alfie Evans to the game looking to turn the game and defensively Chatham were looking solid with ex-Wands boss Danny Kedwell having an influential match at the back before going off with fifteen minutes to go.

Cray looked to level and Sam Wood put over a cross which went across goal and then Cook fired well over from a free kick.

WIth ten minutes to go Cray came close to making it 2-2 when down the left Wood put over an exceptional cross to the far post which was headed wide by Alfie Evans.

Then Ellis Brown found Cook whose ball in the box was deflected behind for a corner by Scarlett with the Wands looking for a penalty for holding in the box.  From the corner, the ball into the six yard box came to Holland and Tom Bonner but neither could get a shot away.

With three minutes to go Wood put over a ball into the box from the right which was helped across to David Ijaha whose shot was saved by Beeney.

There were five minutes added on at the end of the game and with a minute to go, Evans found Holland whose shot was deflected behind for a corner.  From the corner down the right from Raymond the ball came to Evans who hit a shot through a crowd of players into the bottom left corner to make it 2-2.

In the end, Cray kept on going and in the end merited a point against a good side who deserve their place in the playoff race and can go into Monday’s game at Margate in good heart and moved up to 14th place on 46 points.  Cray had bounced back well from a couple of home defeats and with six more league games of the season to go will be looking to end the season with a flourish.j 

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Emmanuel Kwatchey, Jack Holland, Tom Bonner, Sam Wood, David Ijaha, Frankie Raymond, Tom Beere (Anthony Cook, 64), George Porter (Alfie Evans, 77), Enoch Muwonge (Ellis Brown, 69):  Subs:  Josh Hallard, Archie Johnson