Cray Wanderers 23 match unbeaten run came to an end as Lewes went back to the top of the Isthmian South table after two goals in the opening ten minutes saw Cray beaten at home in the league for the first time this season and complete a league double over the Wands for the Rooks.

On a wet and soggy afternoon the two teams in 1st and 2nd in the Bostik South fought out a game which was full of incident and Cray finished the game with nine men after two red cards in stoppage time.

In front of Cray’s biggest home crowd since September 2013 of 516 what they probably didn’t expect was the start to the game with Lewes taking the lead in clinical fashion after just 45 seconds on the clock.  Rooks skipper Frankie Chappell played a good pass from the back which caught out the Cray midfield and Omar Lawson latched onto the pass, ran on and finished very efficiently from just outside the area.

Within a minute Cray almost drew level with their best opportunity of the first half when Lea Dawson got away down the left and found Charlie MacDonald inside the area whose effort was blocked by a defender and the ball came out to Brandon Scott who pulled his shot wide of the right post.

Lewes continued their fine start to the game when the ball was worked down the left where the impressive Billy Medlock played a neat pass to Jamie Brotherton inside the area who got behind Mitchell Nelson and was adjudged to have brought him down with a trip.  Brotherton who scored from the spot when the two sides met in September did so again with a confidently taken kick to put Lewes 2-0 nil up in the ninth minute.

The visitors had a degree of control of the first half after that and Lawson tested Nick Blue with a low drive and other efforts went over the top from Ghassimu Sow and Charles Coppola.  For Cray, Karl Dent fired a free kick in a good position over the top.

The second half saw a massive Cray improvement and Lewes keeper Chris Winterton was much the busier.  Firstly Charlie MacDonald got on the end of a Ben Mundele cross to plant a header towards goal which was cleared by Winterton and Steve Brinkhurst.   Then Winterton dropped a cross and the loose ball fell to Lea Dawson whose header went straight to the keeper.   This was followed by Brandon Scott finding space to hit a shot from the edge of the box which Winterton pushed away.

A Cray goal was coming and did so in the 68th minute when Mundele exchanged passes with Dent to storm down the right of the area and his cross shot flew past Winterton and into the net possibly via Chappell on the line with MacDonald also looking to follow up  This was Mundele third goal in the last three home games.

Lewes almost regained their two goal advantage when Brotherton hit the goal frame down the left of the area but Cray threw everything at Lewes in a bid to level the scores.

Dawson saw two efforts blocked inside the area then from a throw in from Barney Williams down the left to the near post was flicked on by Nelson, the ball was half cleared out to Scott who from ten yards saw his shot saved instinctively by Winterton who blocked the shot.

The pressure was quite incessant and the Wands last real chance came from a corner down the right when Williams’ ball to the far post was headed over by Jay Leader.

The game entered stoppage time and Cray started to get a little flustered and first Williams was frustrated at not getting a throw in and promptly threw the ball down in anger which would normally receive a yellow card but Williams must have sworn at the referee or said something untowards as a red card was shown. 

Finally a couple of minutes later remarkably Cray found themselves down to nine for the third time in the last four meetings with Lewes when Nelson seemed to clash heads with Cotton in the middle of the field but the referee must have considered the use of an elbow and received his second yellow card and he too was sent off.

Cray now have to bounce back and are next in action on Saturday as they travel to Herne Bay looking to kick start another unbeaten run.

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson (Capt.), Zak Henry (Dean Carpenter, H/T), Karl Dent (Michael Power, 83), Charlie MacDonald, Junior Dadson (Ralique Lawrence, 65), Brandon Scott: Subs:  Michael Freiter, Marcus Evans

Att:  516