Cray Wanderers six game unbeaten start to the Isthmian South season came to an end as also undefeated Lewes won a tense encounter marred for the Wands by finishing the game with nine men at the Dripping Pan for the second season in a row.

In a game which didn’t reach any great heights, the match started fairly cagey although for Cray, Brandon Scott saw an early effort blocked but Lewes perhaps shaded the opening twenty minutes.

Cray were just starting to dominate possession when they took the lead in the 24th minute.  From a corner down the right, Karl Dent’s excellent cross was met firmly by Jay Leader who powered a header past Chris Winterton and into the net for his second goal of the season.

Lewes has been a bogey team for Cray in recent years and there seems to be a jinx or curse on the place as the Wands seemed to be coping well with what the home side had to offer before in the 44th minute Bradley Stevenson was harshly sent off following a stern challenge by the left touchline by Jamie Brotherton on the on-loan Gills player who was perhaps unwise to raise his hands to the forward who certainly made the most of the push.  Brotherton’s challenge to the surprise to some of the home fans wasn’t considered worthy of at least a yellow card whilst Stevenson hardly devastating push was deemed a red card.  In the cold light of day perhaps a stern talking to from the referee would have sufficed.

Worse was to follow as three minutes into stoppage time for treatment to Cray keeper Nick Blue when after a neat build up down the right, the ball came to Steve Brinkhurst who was adjudged to have been brought down by Dent’s challenge just inside the area and the referee awarded a penalty.  Brotherton stepped up to score comfortably and leave the game tied at 1-1 at the break.

Lewes dominated the start of the second half and took the lead in the 57th minute when Charlie Coppola played a lovely ball through to Bouwe Bosma who looked perhaps a fraction offside, charged on and as Blue advanced forward, lobbed the ball into the net with some style.

Any hope of a Cray fightback were dented further in the 76th minute when Mitchell Nelson was sent off for a lunging tackle on Bosma just outside the area.  Lewes couldn’t quite put the game to bed but Cray really were not able to create a chance to make the home team sweat for the win.

Lewes came close to scoring again when Gus Sow somehow screwed a shot wide from close range but Cray despite working hard just couldn’t work a miracle and save a point.  In nine previous league games, the Wands have only been able to muster two draws and seven defeats.

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Zak Henry, Karl Dent (Timi Osidbou, 75), Michael Power (Michael Frieter, H/T), Bradley Stevenson, Brandon Scott (Freddie Parker, H/T):  Subs: Marcus Evans, Joe Vines.

Att: 475