Cray Wanderers remain unbeaten and top of the Bostik South-East but lost their 100% winning start to the season after a 1-1 draw against Whyteleafe at Hayes Lane.

Whytleafe who were fifth coming into the game got off to a flyer here with Ben Wilson’s curling free kick strike in the fifth minute rocking Cray on their heels early on.  However two minutes later, Jerome Federico struck an unstoppable strike to tie the game. Both sides were reduced to ten men in the latter stages of the match.   

An exciting evening’s entertainment was guaranteed as Whyteleafe went ahead after five minutes when out on the left, 25 yards from goal, Bradley Wilson curled a free kick around the wall and past Nick Blue at the near post for a great piece of opportunism.

Two minutes later though Cray who are such a resilient and tenacious side fought back when Archie Johnson’s strike from outside the area was pushed out by Tyler McCarthy and the ball was half cleared out to Jerome Federico down the right who from 14 yards lashed a tremendous shot into the top left corner and we were all square with barely a chance to breath.

Cray had the better of the first half chances after this when Bradley Pritchard’s cross was headed over by Freddie Parker.  Pritchard then saw a dipping shot pushed over by McCarthy, Jay Leader fired over the top.  This was followed by Parker seeing a shot come back off the left post.

The second half saw a good spell of pressure from Whyteleafe and Eddie Dsane had the ball in the net but was disallowed for offside.  Then Bentley Graham was denied by a fine point blank save from Blue. 

For Cray, Tom Phipp shot wide and Pritchard tested McCarthy with a low shot but the best chance fell to Parker who was found by a great pass from Phipp but his shot was pushed away well by McCarthy.

In the 85th minute Cray were reduced to ten men when Mitchell Nelson was sent off for two bookings in the space of a couple of minutes conceding a free kick on the edge of the area.

Whyteleafe nearly won the game in the last minute but Louris Chin headed wide but the visitors also went down to ten men when Graham was sent off for a challenge on Ben Mundele in midfield.

Overall a draw was a fair result and keeps Cray top four points clear of Hastings United who have played a game less. The Wands are next in action on Saturday in a local derby at VCD Athletic.

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Barney Williams (Capt.), Archie Johnson, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Bradley Pritchard, Sean Roberts (Zak Henry, 76), Tom Phipp, Freddie Parker, Junior Dadson (Ben Mundele, 70), Jerome Federico (Marcus Evans, 86): Subs: Iffy Onweachu, Malik Solebo

Att:  140