Cray Wanderers produced an outstanding performance with a five goal show on the road at Bishop’s Stortford to move up to 8th in the Isthmian Premier League table. 

In a hugely enjoyable, end to end game in the first half, Joe Taylor slotted Cray in front before the home side levelled four minutes later through Jack Thomas.  A late burst of first half goals from Tom Murphy and Karl Dent gave Cray a 3-1 lead at the break.  Taylor scored a second goal in the 54th minute and then Bishop’s Stortford’s captain, Sam Robbins was sent off for hauling down Ben Mundele and Murphy blasted a stunning fifth goal from the resultant free kick in the 68th minute.   

Cray came out the traps extremely quickly and came close to scoring three times in the opening quarter of an hour.  Firstly, a throw in from Barney Williams came to Joe Taylor inside the area who turned and from 12 yards saw a shot pushed away well by keeper Fred Burbidge. Then shortly after, Cray were awarded a free kick some 30 yards out and the impressive Lee Lewis stepped up and his fizzing shot almost caught out Burbidge who had to turn the ball round the left post for a corner.  This was followed after some neat Wands passing for Lewis, Tom Carlse and Karl Dent to combined to find Tom Murphy down the left and his cross into the box was met by Harry Hudson up from the back but his header into the ground went straight to Burbidge.

The home side came more into it but a goal was coming in the game and duly arrived in the 25th minute for Cray.  Following a free kick in midfield, Bradley Pritchard played a ball to Mundele down the right who did a superb shimmy to take the ball past a defender and into the box.  His shot was on target and pushed out by Burbidge but following up in predatory fashion was Taylor who slotted in from about five yards.

The Cray lead though was short lived and four minutes Bishop’s Stortford were back on level terms with an excellent individual goal from Jack Thomas who picked the ball up in midfield, strode forward and from 20 yards placed a shot wide of Lewis Carey and into the bottom right and we were back level once again.

Moments later, the home side nearly went in front when Cureton got on the end of a ball into the area but prodded the ball wide of the right post. 

However, Cray weathered this storm and in the 39th minute restored the lead when a ball out from the back from Carey found Murphy down the right who showed a burst of speed to break into the box and slip the ball under the diving Burbidge for his third goal of the season.

Shortly after, a throw in from Carlse found Karl Dent who hit a shot that was claimed by Burbidge as the pace of the game continued to quicken.

Then in the 43rd minute the Wands scored a superb third goal when Hudson and Taylor combined to find Murphy who found Pritchard down the left and he slipped a terrific pass through to Dent who with deadeye accuracy fired home from just inside the area for his first goal of the season.

In the 54th minute Carey would again be provider with a ball forward which caught out the offside trap of Bishop’s Stortford and Taylor found himself with plenty of time to move forward and with tucked the ball into the bottom left corner with some aplomb from 12 yards to make it 4-1.

Cray were now playing exceptionally well and perhaps the moment which finished the game came in the 66th minute when Taylor flicked a header into the path of Mundele who was too quick for Sam Robbins and turned past the Blues captain who hauled him back just outside the area and was sent off by the referee.

To rub salt into the wounds, from the resulting free kick, in the 68th minute Murphy blasted the ball round the wall and into the bottom left hand corner for a breath taking piece of play and make it 5-1 and effectively game over.

There were one or two chances for Bishop’s Stortford to reduce the arrears with substitute Olly Miles looking lively and down the left took the ball round Carey but his effort was cleared off the line by Hudson.  Then again Miles worked his way into the area down the right but shot into the side netting.  

The game then ended but rather unfortunately it appears that one of the home side supporters aimed a racial remark to Mitchell Nelson which led to a rather unpleasant ending to the game and for a player who had as good a game as it is possible to get to suffer a racial insult like that soured what was a truly tremendous game of football played by two sides looking to play the right way and the crowd would have been hugely entertained. Bishop’s Stortford are a great club run by dedicated, proud men and women and deserve better than a so-called supporter of the club to ruin the enjoyment of many and take the game back to the bad days of the 70’s and 80’s and unfortunately seems to be prevalent in the modern game again especially in the social media field but this is the first time personally I have heard of this happening at a Cray Wanderers game that I have been to.

It didn’t harm Cray’s night too much and they moved up to 8th place on 10 points from the seven games played and on Sunday return to the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round where they entertain Soham Town Rangers.


Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Barney Williams (Capt.), Tom Carlse, Mitchell Nelson, Harry Hudson, Lee Lewis, Bradley Pritchard, Ben Mundele (Freddie Parker, 67), Tom Murphy (Jerome Federico, 80), Karl Dent (Charlie Allen, 60), Joe Taylor:  Subs:  Geofrey Okonkwo, Grant Hall


Att: 205