Cray Wanderers produced a fine display to stretch their unbeaten league run to 13 games after beating a very good Hythe Town side at Hayes Lane.  The win keeps Cray in fourth place in the Isthmian South, one point behind Corinthian Casuals and Carshalton but with games in hand.

The Wands played well first half and led 2-0 at the break with good goals from Michael Power and Brandon Scott.   Hythe were still in the game when Kieron Campbell pulled a goal back two minutes after half time.  However, Cray stepped up the gears and Lea Dawson plundered a third goal just before the hour.  Hythe were reduced to ten men when Jerson dos Santos was sent off with seven minutes to go and the scoring was completed when Jerome Federico scored a fourth in injury time.

The match pitted the sides in fourth and seventh in the table and just a point separated the sides so not surprisingly it was quite a cagey start to the game.  However, In the 20th minute, Cray took the lead with a very well worked goal.  Lea Dawson found Brandon Scott who in turn found the impressive Ben Mundele down the right.  There didn’t seem too much danger as Mundele seemed boxed in but managed to work his way past a couple of players to slip a ball through to Power inside the area who set up Aaron Rhule whose shot from fourteen yards was pushed out by Will Godman but Power showed good awareness to follow up and turn the ball into the net at the near post via a slight touch by the keeper.

Cray went two nil up in the 35th minute with a goal of simple beauty.  Michael Freiter played a ball from inside his own half which broke the Hythe offside trap and Scott latched onto the ball, strode forward and as Godman advanced took the ball wide of the keeper and rolled the ball into the net.

Hythe had a good spell before half time and came close when Ben Wilson found Sidney Sollis who from the edge of the area cracked an effort against the crossbar.

The visitors pulled a goal back in the 47th minute when substitute Kieron Campbell was played in down the left and showed good pace to step inside the box and confidently place the ball wide of Andy McCorkell to make it 2-1.

The game then went from end to end but Cray saw efforts from Zak Henry and Freiter saved well by Godman and then Dawson saw a header cleared off the line.

A third goal was coming for Cray and did so in the 58th minute.  From a left wing corner Freiter’s ball into the area was pushed up in the air by Godman under pressure from Power and Dawson and it was the Cray captain who maybe got the slightest touch off Godman to turn the ball into the net despite Hythe protestations of a foul.  It didn’t seem that there was a foul and it was a fair challenge to go for the ball.

The game lost a bit of its rhythm as the temperature got colder and with seven minutes to go, Hythe’s hopes were dealt a blow when Jerson dos Santos was sent off for a second bookable offence. 

Ryan Palmer hit the post for Hythe late on but in the first minute of injury time Cray put the seal on an impressive display with a clinically taken fourth goal when Freiter’s ball through beat the tired Hythe back line and Jerome Federico strode on down the right and finished with great style to make it 4-1.

The Wands are next in action on Wednesday night (13th December) when they play one of their games in hand in another Kent derby against Sittingbourne, 7.45pm.  

Cray Wanderers: Andy McCorkell, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson, Zak Henry (Dean Carpenter, 86), Michael Freiter, Michael Power, Aaron Rhule (Ralique Lawrence, 81), Brandon Scott (Jerome Federico, 77):  Subs: Freddie Parker, Marcus Evans

Att: 398