Cray Wanderers ended the 2023-24 season in style with victory at Dulwich Hamlet in front of a sell out crowd of 3334.  In an end to end game Gary Lockyer was the man of the match for Cray Wanderers scoring four goals for a perfect hat-trick.

Cray were looking to end a run of seven league games without a win but on a murky afternoon the game itself was bright and Anthony Cook from the penalty spot and Lockyer put Cray 2-0 up before Roarie Deacon pulled a goal back for Dulwich before half time.  The game turned for Cray who scored three goals in eight minutes all scored by Lockyer and although Kaya Hansson made it 5-2 four minutes from time, substitute Tom Beere completed the scoring in the last minute.

The Wands were looking to end the winless run and from the side which started against Bognor Regis Town last Saturday into the team came David Ijaha, Tom Bonner, Anthony Cook, George Porter and Frankie Raymond for Charlie Paye, Ellis Brown, Tom Beere, Enoch Muwonge and Jack Holland.   

In a match between the sides in 10th and 17th respectively there wasn’t a great deal riding on the game but with a handful of ex-Hamlet players in the Cray Wanderers team and a lot of pride to play for it promised much for a great match.  Before kick off there was a guard of honour formed by both sides for Hamlet captain Mark Ricketts who was playing his final match before retirement.

The game started at a brisk pace and Ricketts almost scored for Hamlet in the 2nd minute with a shot from distance which whistled just past the left post.  Meanwhile at the other end a cross from the left into the area fell to Anthony Cook who fired over the top at the far post.

The match then went into a brief stalemate and was an even affair but in the 21st minute Cray were awarded a penalty when from a free kick down the left, Frankie Raymond’s ball into the area came to Cook who was adjudged to have been brought down by Craig Braham-Barrett and Cook scored confidently down the middle to make it 1-0.

Dulwich looked to hit back straight away and Anthony Jeffrey hit a shot from distance which was parried by Shaun Rowley who had a superb game and Ryley Scott fired well over.  Then for Dulwich, the lively Danny Mills down the left was denied by a great tackle by David Ijaha when it seemed certain to score.

Cray though were looking dangerous after each attack and in the 31st minute a ball over the top sprung the Hamlet offside trap and Gary Lockyer went through down the left and saw his shot pushed out by Will Lakin but following up the Wands striker fired the rebound into the bottom right corner.

Hamlet were not without chances and a ball across from Braham-Barrett came to Mills whose shot was met by a fine save from Rowley and Jeffrey hit a shot wide

However, in the 42nd minute Hamlet pulled a goal back when down the right Wanadio’s cross was headed into the net by Roarie Deacon.

There was still time in the half for Hamlet to almost equalise when a Jeffrey cross down the left was met by the head of Mills but Rowley did well to make a smart stop and at the break the game was still in the balance.

The second half began like the first full of attacking ideas and for Hamlet, Jeffrey made a good, strong run down the left and into the area and his near post shot was pushed behind for a corner.

The Wands had to make a change when Sam Wood came on for Frankie Raymond but in the 55th minute, Neil Smith’s side scored a third when from a ball in from the right was flicked on by Nyren Clunis and came to Lockyer down the left of the area who crashed a shot wide of Lakin and into the net.

Dulwich Hamlet almost pulled another goal back straight away when Wanadio was well placed to shoot but via a block from Ijaha crashed back off the crossbar and away to safety for Cray.

In the 60th minute Cray put real daylight between the teams with a fourth goal when from the second of consecutive Sam Wood corner’s, the second from the right, the cross into the box was met by a glanced header from Lockyer which although the keeper saved the shot was well over the line and complete a hat-trick and make it 14 goals for the season.

Three minutes later it was 5-1 when from another right wing corner, this time the ball came to Alfie Evans whose shot was blocked but following up Rowley smashed home his fourth with a crisp finish.

A few minutes later Wanadio saw his strike pushed out by Rowley before Cray introduced Enoch Muwonge and Tom Beere for the latter stages of the game.

It looked like the game was winding down in the closing minutes but in the 86th minute Dulwich Hamlet made it 5-2 when down the left, Wanadio’s cross was steered home by substitute Kaya Hansson.

There was still time in the final minute for Cray to score a sixth when after hesitation at the back and with Lakin a bit stranded Beere was able to stroke the ball into an open goal from 20 yards.

Had it not been for Lockyer’s scoring heroics Shaun Rowley could have been up for man of the match as he made another fine stop to parry Wanadio’s shot but in the end Cray finished the season with a big win in front of an incredible crowd of 3334 and finish what at times has been a difficult season with a flourish and finish with 50 points and in 17th place.


Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Emmanuel Kwatchey, David Ijaha, Tom Bonner, Josh Hallard, Alfie Evans, Frankie Raymond (Sam Wood, 51), Anthony Cook, Nyren Clunis (Enoch Muwonge, 68), George Porter (Tom Beere, 73), Gary Lockyer:  Subs:  Charlie Paye, Archie Johnson

Att: 3334