On a remarkable night Cray Wanderers marched to the top of the Isthmian South after a devastating attacking display saw Cray score nine goals and record their biggest ever victory in the Isthmian League against Ashford United at Hayes Lane.  It also took their tally of goals for the season to 104 in all competitions.

Cray had the opportunity with the match with Lewes to come on Saturday to move to the top of the table by two points but expected a tough challenge from an Ashford United side which had been in good form since the middle of December. 

The Wands briefly went top on Saturday after their 1-0 win in Guernsey but Cray were in no mood to let up and after a dominant start to the game went 1-0 up in the 3rd minute Cray took the lead after just three minutes after Aaron Rhule was brought down out on the left 15 yards from goal.  The free kick was whipped in by Karl Dent and MacDonald went for the ball and got the merest touch to take the ball past George Kamurasi in the Ashford goal to give Cray a dream start.

In the 17th minute Cray got the second goal they had been threatening when from another free kick this time down the right and around twenty five yards out, Dent put over a great ball into the box which was attacked by Mitchell Nelson who got to the ball before Ola Williams to turn the ball in for his sixth goal of the season.

This led to a purple patch of Cray play and scored a third goal after 22 minutes following a corner down the right.  Dent who already had a hand in the first two goals sent his corner to the back post where Dawson’s header was half blocked by Kamurasi and following up the predatory MacDonald was on hand to make it 3-0 from close range.

Incredibly two minutes later it was 4-0 when from another right wing corner the Ashford defence struggled with the ball across to the far post where Leader headed in his fourth goal of the season on his 100th appearance.

Cray though continued to attack with great pace and scored an excellent fifth goal in the 36th minute when MacDonald made a great run through the middle and as the defence parted played a cute backheel to Brandon Scott who burst down the left of the penalty area and finished superbly which made it 5-0 at the break.

The interval didn’t change the flow of the game and in the 53rd minute came a moment of jawdropping quality from Barney Williams who from out of nowhere smashed a ball towards goal from 35 yards out on the left which went in off the crossbar for his first goal of the season.

Two minutes later it became 7-0 as a long ball forward caught out the tiring back line and Ralique Lawrence latched onto the ball and showed bravery as Kamurasi came out to meet him and steer a header over the keeper and into the net despite getting clattered.

Ashford United kept plugging away to their eternal creditand  pulled a goal back when the ball was worked down the left and Andrew Dalhouse won a header to set up Matt Day who with a low drive fired into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

In the 72nd minute after a patient build up starting down the left Carpenter sent an excellent arcing ball out to the left where Ben Mundele picked the ball up, ran towards goal and slipped a fine finish wide of the keeper to make it 8-1.

Then three minutes later and with still fifteen minutes to go incredibly Cray scored a ninth goal when another ball forward caught out the defence and Lawrence once again was the quickest to react to finish with some style from just inside the area.

Cray had certainly sent out a warning to the other teams in the division with the quality of their attacking play but now head to Saturday’s crunch match with 2nd placed Lewes knowing they will be given a much stiffer test but go into the match bouyant.

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson (Capt.) (Dean Carpenter, 48), Zak Henry, Karl Dent (Michael Freiter, H/T), Charlie MacDonald, Aaron Rhule (Ralique Lawrence, H/T), Brandon Scott: Subs:  Michael Power, Marcus Evans

Att:  239