Cray Wanderers promotion hopes took a knock as their fourth successive away trip into Kent ended in defeat at ten man Hythe Town and a third straight league loss.  Cray remain fifth in the Isthmian South and are currently six points behind second placed Corinthian Casuals.  The win also kept Hythe’s playoff hopes very much alive and put them six points behind Cray in a congested promotion race in 7th place.

This was both teams first league game for a fortnight following the cold snap of last week meant a fixtures wipeout and the snow of last week was replaced by steady rain before the match. 

Hythe started much the better side and took the lead in the 13th minute with a goal which really came out of nothing when a ball into the area was headed out to Ryan Palmer who cut inside and curled home a fine low shot from just outside the area which beat the diving Blue and into the bottom left corner.

Darren Oldaker came close to scoring again straight after but the home side were dealt a blow when Jerson dos Santos was sent off for violent conduct after holding down Zak Henry in a headlock after 27 minutes.

Hythe came close to scoring again when Zak Ansah was denied by a brave save by Blue but Cray came more into before half time but the nearest they came was when Junior Dadson’s left wing cross was deflected across his own box by Ryan Johnson.

Seven minutes into the second half Hythe broke away and scored a second goal when Oldaker’s played a fine ball through to Ansah who finished with great assurance to give Cray a mountain to climb.

The Wands threatened but didn’t create too many clearcut chances with Mitchell Nelson’s header blocked by the Hythe defenders maybe the best opportunity.

Cray though kept plugging away and pulled a goal back six minutes from time when Charlie MacDonald outpaced Mitchell Dickenson and advanced on goal and finished well into the bottom left corner of the net.

The Wands almost snatched a point in injury time when Michael Power down the left cut inside and from the edge of the area fired over the top.

Cray now go into a key match on Wednesday evening against 8th placed Whyteleafe who and just need to get breathing space again to preserve their playoff place.

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson (Capt.), Zak Henry, Michael Freiter (Dean Carpenter, H/T), Karl Dent (Charlie MacDonald, H/T), Junior Dadson, Brandon Scott (Aaron Rhule, 63): Subs: Marcus Evans

Att:  188