There was late drama at Princes Park as a 90th minute goal from substitute Michael Power gave Cray Wanderers a 1-0 win against local rivals Thamesmead Town.

The blustery conditions meant this was never going to be a classic but there was plenty of endeavour and commitment from both sides.  Cray did create the better openings particularly in the second half and Power’s late intervention meant the Wands moved up to fourth in the league table and eight games unbeaten.

Thamesmead for their part had gone four games without defeat and with the conditions in their favour in the first half tested the Cray defence and an early Tobi Ajala free kick out on the left was whipped in and Nick Blue had to push behind for one of many first half corners for Thamesmead.  Scott Kinch twice went close and Joe Denny saw an effort blocked.

As the first half wore on Cray looked to add a bit of quality to the game and the best chance came just after the half hour when Aaron Rhule won a corner down the left. Karl Dent’s cross to the far post was met by Lea Dawson who glanced his header wide of the right post. Then Dent was found by Ben Mundele’s pass but drove a shot wide.

Then another Dent corner was flicked on by Lea Dawson to Jay Leader who laid the ball back to Dean Carpenter who blasted a shot just over the bar.  As the half drew to a close Thamesmead posed a threat from corners and set pieces but the Wands defence proved resolute and were perhaps happier to go in 0-0 at half time.

The second half was rather scrappy in places but Cray were able to create some good openings mostly through the creative ability of Dent.  Cray had a good chance to break the deadlock when Dent’s right wing corner was headed wide at the far post by a diving Mitchell Nelson.

From another Dent free kick out on the right touchline, his cross was nodded out by Kinch to Aaron Rhule who hit a first time volley just wide.

Then twice Cray were denied by goalline clearances both from Dent corners.  First from a right wing corner Dent’s cross to the far post found Leader whose headed was cleared off the line by a combination of Harvey Brand and keeper Lewis Carey.

This was followed by another Dent corner to the far post finding Nelson whose header was headed against his own post by Brand and off the line.  Then Dent was denied by a good save from Carey and it looked as though the game was destined to end goalless after Alex Teniola flashed a volley over the bar for the home side.

There was a blow for Cray when Dent had to go off on a stretcher with an ankle injury two minutes from time but it was shortly after this that Cray broke the deadlock. A ball forward from Dawson caught out the offside trap and Michael Power strode on and lobbed the ball calmly over Carey for his 11th goal of the season and seal a huge three points for Tony Russell’s team.

Cray are next in action on Tuesday night against 2nd placed Sittingbourne at Woodstock Park and will go there in good heart.       

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Dean Carpenter, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson (Capt,), Zak Henry, Karl Dent (Michael Frieter, 89), Freddie Parker (Michael Power, 77), Aaron Rhule, Jerome Federico (Barney Williams, 90+7): Subs: Marcus Evans, Kyron Lightfoot

Att 110