Cray Wanderers maintained their seven point lead at the top of the Isthmian South-East and with it one of only two unbeaten records in the League with a tremendous finish from Ben Mundele two minutes from time to beat a determined and tenacious Haywards Heath Town side who were reduced to ten men halfway through the second half.

In the first ever match In the first ever match between the two sides on a very bright and sunny early November afternoon, there were few opportunities in the first half for either side but Cray perhaps showed the better attacking intent.

Cray created the first real opening after 12 minutes when Jerome Federico down the right found Mundele who worked his way through three challenges to set up a shooting chance inside the area which was pushed away well at the near post by keeper Josh Heyburn.

The home side did forge an opening though when a ball into the area from the right was knocked back out to Callum Saunders who hit a low shot from 20 yards which was saved by the legs of Nick Blue.    

Perhaps the best opening of the opening half came to Cray down the right hand side with Federico making a run down the right and laid a cross to the near post where Bradley Pritchard steered the ball just wide.

There was more action in the second half and Barney Williams was unlucky when he cut in from the left hand side and from the edge of the area fired just over.

Cray were very much dominating the game and possession and were handed a numerical advantage when Callum Saunders was sent off on 66 minutes for a second bookable offence after a challenge down the left hand side on Archie Johnson.

Despite going a man down the home side perhaps came the closest yet to a breathrough when a good run by Kieran Rowe down the right led to a ball across towards Andrew Dalhouse but Mitchell Nelson did well to block and turn the ball behind for a corner.

The best chance of the match came with twelve minutes remaining when down the left Junior Dadson cut to the byline and his ball across was hooked out by a defender to Karl Dent whose shot was blocked and came out to Federico who shot over from 8 yards.

Haywards Heath almost grabbed a winner out of nowhere when Laing picked the ball up just shy of 30 yards out and hit what looked like a speculative shot which hit the top of the crossbar and over it seemed possibly by the fingertips of Blue but no corner was given.

With time running out and a draw looking likely Cray grabbed a winner when Tom Phipp slipped a ball through to Mundele who broke into the area down the right and from the edge of the six yard box hit a sweet strike wide of Heyburn and into the bottom right corner of the net.

Cray were able to see out the remaining minutes for a big three points on a tough afternoon and after 11 games have 31 points and sets up next Sunday’s match with Hastings United at Hayes Lane as the top two go head to head.      

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams (Capt), Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Tom Phipp, Sean Roberts (Karl Dent, 74), Bradley Pritchard, Freddie Parker (Archie Johnson, 59), Junior Dadson, Jerome Federico (Malik Solebo, 81): Subs:  Zak Henry, Marcus Evans

Att:  143