Cray Wanderers remain in fourth place in the Isthmian South after picking up a point from an entertaining contest with third placed Carshalton Athletic at Colston Avenue.

The Wands had the better of the first half and Michael Power saw a 23rd minute penalty saved well by home keeper Alex Kozakis.  However, Cray were awarded a second penalty kick a couple of minutes into stoppage time and this time, Power made no mistake from the spot to give Cray a 1-0 lead at the break.

Carshalton though were unbeaten throughout November and fought back strongly in the second half and levelled six minutes after the break through Danny Dudley’s close range effort.        

The game was intriguing from the outset and Cray had much the better of the opening 45 minutes.  They created the first real opening with Aaron Rhule testing home keeper Alex Koziakis with a shot from just outside the area.  Then Rhule’s cross was knocked back by Michael Frieter to Lea Dawson from twenty yards but the Cray skipper’s shot went over the bar.

The Wands were awarded their first penalty in the 23rd minute when Dawson played through Rhule inside the area and was nudged in the back by Bobby Price and went down in the box.  However, Power’s spot kick was saved well by Koziakis diving to the left and put behind for a corner.

Carshalton threatened when Jordan Cheadle’s floated free kick was headed over by Paris Hamilton-Downes whilst at the other end, Power’s deflected right wing cross forced Koziakis to tip the ball away from goal.

Cray had dominated the half but didn’t have anything to show for it until the second minute of injury time when the Wands were awarded a second penalty.  Mitchell Nelson’s ball forward found Power who played a fine ball through to Frieter who was clipped over by Hamilton-Downes inside the box.  Power showed great character to take a second penalty and this time made no mistake from the spot to give Cray the lead they deserved at the break with his 22nd goal of the season.

Carshalton looked a different side after the break and boxed Cray in for the first few minutes of the second half and levelled in the 51st minute.  From a left wing corner, Mikel Miller’s cross was headed out as far as Raheem Sterling-Parker whose ball into the six yard box was glanced in by Danny Dudley up from the back.

Cray almost went back in front against the run of play when Frieter’s corner kick to the far post was met powerfully by the head of Nelson but was cleared off the line by Hamilton-Downes and following up Dawson headed straight to Koziakis.

Carshalton had the better openings after that with Peter Adeniyi testing Blue with a shot from just outside the area.   Then Adeniyi put a superb ball through to Miller down the right but shot over the bar when well placed. 

Blue then had to make a fine one handed save from Cheadle’s excellent free kick strike and then Ricky Korboa shot wide.

Both sides went at it tooth and nail in the second half but Cray came closest to winning the game when first Frieter’s shot was held by Koziakis.  Then with two minutes to go Cray almost grabbed a winner when with a superb piece of opportunism Power cracked a tremendous first time shot from thirty yards which just went over the top.

In the end the game finished in a 1-1 draw which on reflection was about right in the end.  The Wands stay fourth in the table, three points behind Carshalton in third but with two games in hand and are 13 unbeaten in the league.  They are next in action on Saturday, 9th December when they entertain Hythe Town.

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson, Zak Henry, Michael Frieter, Michael Power, Aaron Rhule (Ralique Lawrence, 87), Brandon Scott (Jerome Federico, 80):  Subs: Freddie Parker, Dean Carpenter, Marcus Evans

Att:  343