Cray Wanderers extended their unbeaten to ten matches in league and cup after victory against Bowers & Pitsea in a first ever league meeting between the sides at Hayes Lane. 

Cray who moved up to ninth in the Isthmian Premier table won the game with three clinically taken goals in a eleven spell in the first half as Andre Coker, Joe Taylor and Tom Carlse finished explosively to turn what promised to be a tight game on its head.  Bowers & Pitsea had much the better of the second half and pulled a goal back from the penalty spot through Bradley Warner.  Despite Cray losing skipper Barney Williams with a sending off eight minutes from time, the Wands did enough to win their third league game of the season and move on to 14 points.

On a very chilly but thankfully dry night, Cray created the first real opening of the game in the 4th minute when the hugely impressive Tom Carlse down the left tore down the wing and put over a cross which was fired over the top by Joe Taylor from 14 yards.

From here though, it was Bowers & Pitsea who had a good spell and shaded the opening quarter of an hour.  Firstly the ball was worked down the left and a ball into the box from Bradley Warner found Quentin Monville whose near post shot was well blocked by Lewis Carey for a corner.

Then, Bowers & Pitsea broke away from a Cray attack with Monville again taking a pass from Warner, this time down the right and his shot was well pushed out once again by Carey at the expense of a corner.

This was followed in the 13th minute with a let off for Cray when a ball in to the box from Warner was met by the head of Lewis Manor but his header came back off the left post and back out into play.

However, in the 20th minute Cray Wanderers took the lead with a fine goal when Barney Williams switched the play superbly out from the right to the left with a terrific pass out to Tom Murphy who whipped over a great ball into the box which was cleared partially by a defender out to Andre Coker on the right edge of the penalty area who hit a curling shot which flew past keeper Callum Chafer and into the top left corner.

Eight minutes later Cray went two nil up with another great goal which again stemmed down the left hand side.  Harry Hudson played a ball forward to Carlse who accelerated down the line and sent over a cross to the edge of the area to Taylor who despatched a powerful first time shot which gave Chafer no chance and Cray had a bit of daylight before half an hour.

In the 31st minute it got even better when defensive hesitancy at the back saw Pritchard rob a defender inside the area and following up was Carlse who tucked home a tidy finish from 10 yards for his first goal of the season and Cray capped off a devastating spell of attacking football to lead 3-0 and took the lead into the break.

The second half saw attempts at a Bowers & Pitsea comeback.   After forcing a succession of corners, Warner then drove a free kick from 20 yards wide of goal.

Bowers & Pitsea were presented with a chance to pull a goal back in the 64th minute when they were awarded a penalty when down the left Manor found Joseph Gardner who just inside the box was brought down by Williams.  From the spot kick, Warner who had a good game throughout stroked home the penalty to make it 3-1.

Cray had a better spell after the goal but couldn’t find the fluency of the first half and Bowers & Pitsea kept coming forward looking for another goal and almost got one when Warner found the unlucky Monville who down the right of the area smashed a well struck shot against the top of the right post.

The Wands almost got a fourth goal when Jerome Federico found Bradley Pritchard down the right and his ball across was diverted goalwards by Murphy but Chafer did well to claim the ball on the line.               

 In the 82nd minute Cray were reduced to ten men when skipper Barney Williams who had been booked in the first half was shown a second yellow card for bringing down David Knight down the left and Cray had to batten down the hatches for the remainder of the game. 

Cray almost broke out to score when Federico who made a lively appearance for the last twenty minutes again combined well with Pritchard to set up Taylor for a well hit shot which again well held by Chafer.

Finally Bowers & Pitsea almost grabbed another goal when from a throw in the ball dropped to Monville whose dipping drive down the left crashed back off the post to make it three times they had hit the woodwork during the game.

Cray though had shown enough quality in defence to hold out for the three points and to keep their good run going.

Cray now look forward to Saturday as they attempt to reach the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round for only the second time at Haringey Borough and travel to North London in good heart and full of confidence.  

Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Barney Williams (Capt.), Tom Carlse, Geofrey Okonkwo,  Harry Hudson, Bradley Pritchard, Lee Lewis (Charles Etumnu, 79), Andre Coker (Jerome Federico, 71), Karl Dent (Charlie Allen, 66), Tom Murphy, Joe Taylor:  Subs:  Freddie Parker, Grant Hall

Att: 135