Cray Wanderers moved ten points clear at the top of the Isthmian South-East after a tremendous, hard fought victory against 2nd placed Hastings United at Hayes Lane on Remembrance Sunday. 

A pulsating contest from the off saw Hastings shade most of the first half on chances including two goal line clearances from Barney Williams before Cray went ahead on the stroke of half time with a well taken goal from loanee debutant Wilberforce Ocran.  Cray had the better of the second half and went two nil up following a superb strike from Tom Phipp on 56 minutes.  Hastings pulled a goal back a minute later when Williams diverted a corner into his own net but Cray dug deep to pick up a big three points against a good side.

Cray had the ball in the net in the 4th minute when Bradley Pritchard fired into the net but Junior Dadson was offside then Dadson saw a shot saved by Charlie Horlock.  Then Hastings came into it and Nick Blue made a fine save with his feet to deny Lanre Azeez and shortly after came out to block Youssef Bamba’s close range effort.

Hastings then created the best chance of the game when Daniel Ajakaiye worked his way into the area and unselfishly set up Bamba who saw his goal bound shot headed off the line by Barney Williams.

Incredibly shortly after Bamba found Jack Dixon who seemed certain to score from 12 yards but Williams cleared off the line once again.

The Wands had perhaps rode their luck a little there but just before half-time Cray began to stem the tide and on 44 minutes took the lead.  The ball was worked down the left via Dadson and Pritchard and Ben Mundele put in a cross which was headed on by Phipp inside the area, deflected off Sam Beale into the path of Ocran who turned the ball in from six yards for a debut goal.

The second half began similar to the first for Cray with an early effort ruled out for offside when Federico’s right wing cross to the far post saw Ocran outjump a defender to steer an impressive header into the net but must have strayed fractionally offside.

This was followed by a Pritchard ball into the box falling to Ocran who volleyed against the angle of post and crossbar as Cray sought out a second goal.

In the 56th minute, the second goal arrived for Cray and in some style as Federico strode forward and played the ball to Phipp who crashed home an unstoppable first time shot from 18 yards which flew past Horlock for his second goal of the season.

Hastings though showed their mettle and got back into the game a minute later.  They won a corner down the left and Bamba’s ball to the near post was steered into the net by Williams to make it game on once again. 

Hastings saw a shot from Beale saved by Blue while Cray thought they had scored a third when Federico who had an excellent second half down the right got into the area and fired in a cross-shot which Horlock just touched round the post for a corner.

The last chance of the game came to Freddie Parker who was thwarted by a good blocked save from Horlock but Cray saw out the remaining minutes to pick up a huge three points and go ten points clear of Hastings, VCD Athletic and Phoenix Sports at the top although Hastings have a couple of games in hand.

Cray are next in action in the Kent Senior Cup on Wednesday evening at home to Charlton Athletic, 7.45pm ko before travelling to Guernsey on Saturday afternoon.   

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams (Capt), Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Tom Phipp, Sean Roberts, Bradley Pritchard, Wilberforce Ocran (Freddie Parker, 72), Junior Dadson, Jerome Federico (Archie Johnson, 88): Subs:  Malik Solebo, Karl Dent, Zak Henry

Att:  345