On Non-League Day Cray Wanderers took on Enfield Town in the Isthmian Premier and the two teams served up an eight goal thriller at Hayes Lane in front of a 600+ crowd. 

Both sides had suffered narrow defeats in the FA Cup last weekend and the return to league action saw good football from both sides and on a very wet and grey afternoon two goals in the first seven minutes set the tone for the afternoon.  Enfield went ahead through Muhammadu Faal after just two minutes but five minutes later Joe Taylor’s classy strike levelled the scores.  In the 41st minute against the run of play Faal restored Enfield’s lead which they added to in the second half through a brace from Ken Charles.  Joe Payne’s 30 yard deflected shot made it 5-1 with twenty minutes to go but Cray looked to stage a comeback and goals from Tom Murphy and Jay Leader looked to make it a grandstand finish.

Enfield Town came into the match unbeaten away from home and 4th in the league table and all the signs were there for a tough afternoon for Cray.  This was born out as early as the 2nd minute when Cray were caught cold when a ball from midfield was played through to the impressive Muhammadu Faal who broke into the area and as Lewis Carey advanced coolly lifted a shot into the net.

In the 7th minute though Cray were back on terms with an excellent goal worked down the left and Tom Carlse played the ball across to Joe Taylor who from 20 yards hit a superb shot which gave Nathan McDonald no chance in the Enfield goal and in no time it was 1-1.

For the next half hour, Cray began to take control of the match and played some fine attacking football.  The Wands were unlucky not to take the lead when down the right Bradley Pritchard’s free kick, 18 yards from goal was floated into the area and Mitchell Nelson’s header went just over the crossbar.

Then Taylor had the ball in the net which was ruled out for offside then Pritchard fired in a shot which was pushed out by McDonald and following up Federico looked to drive a shot at the near post but was blocked by a defender.  Cray also had a penalty shout when a Coker cross looked to have hit the arm of a defender in the six yard box

Enfield were dangerous on the break and Faal was denied a goal by a good save from the legs of Carey and had claimed a penalty when Faal went down under a challenge from Mitchell Nelson.

If they felt hard done by that decision in the 41st minute they went back in front when a ball from inside his own half by Sam Hatton went over the top to Faal who was not flagged offside and from inside the area fired in a crisp finish wide of Carey and into the bottom right corner of the net.

It was looking like the next goal in the match would be vital as to the destination of the result and it was Enfield who scored the third goal in the 52nd minute.  From a left wing corner, Sam Youngs ball into the box was flicked towards to the far post where Ken Charles was on hand to turn the ball into the net.

Cray pushed for a goal and Taylor twice came close to scoring however in clinical fashion, Enfield Town having soaked up the pressure grabbed a fourth goal in the 64th minute when Ryan Blackman played a ball out to the right to Bobson Bawling who found space to whip a ball across to Charles who from the edge of the box lashed a well-placed strike into the bottom right corner and it was 4-1.

Lewis Carey in the Cray excelled to make two excellent saves to deny Hatton and Blackman from free kicks but in the 70th minute Enfield Town scored their fifth goal when Joe Payne let fly with a shot which may have got a deflection towards goal which diverted the ball past Carey.

It was looking like it wasn’t going to be Cray’s afternoon when from another corner, the ball came to Taylor who powered a header against the underside of the crossbar and was cleared away.  However, the ball came back out to the left and Tom Murphy found space to cut inside and superbly curl the ball past McDonald into the bottom right and it was now 5-2 to the visitors.

In the 85th minute Cray had more hope when they pulled another goal back. After a patient build up Cray won a corner and the ball across from Pritchard into the six yard box was met by Leader who marked his 150th appearance with a headed goal and at 5-3 Cray could sense a comeback.

Before the end it was very nearly 5-4 with a couple of minutes to play when a Pritchard free kick out on the right was floated into the area and Leader headed over via the top of the bar.  

It would prove to be their last chance and Enfield almost scored again in stoppage time. Firstly, Alex Read broke forward and lobbed a shot just over the top.  Then in the dying moments Blackman who played well for Enfield was denied by an excellent save from Carey after he turned in the box and his shot was pushed round the post and an excellent game finished on a high.

Despite the defeat there was much to compliment Cray Wanderers in their performance and against a very good Enfield Town side and perhaps have played worse and won this season.

Cray now move on to three successive away matches in the league starting on Tuesday night when they make the relatively short trip to Merstham, 7.45pm kick off.   

Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Ben Mundele, Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson (Capt.), Tom Phipp (Freddie Parker, 65), Charlie Allen, Bradley Pritchard, Jerome Federico, Andre Coker (Tom Murphy, 68), Joe Taylor:  Subs:  Lee Lewis, Charles Etumnu, Geofrey Okonkwo

Att: 621