Cray Wanderers returned to winning ways after two consecutive defeats with a strong and determined display to come from behind to win at Merstham and at the same time remain unbeaten away from home in the Isthmian Premier.

Cray who had lost to Haringey Borough in the FA Cup and then on Saturday were beaten in an eight goal thriller to Enfield Town got off to a bad start at the Whisky Bible Stadium when Yannick Monga took advantage of a swift breakaway to give Merstham the lead after just four minutes.   Cray though were looking dangerous going forward and drew level on 18 minutes when Joe Taylor crashed home his 14th goal of the season turning the ball home from Karl Dent’s cross.

The second half was more of a scrappier affair but Cray began the half on the front foot and went in front in the 57th minute when Bradley Pritchard found space from Taylor’s pass inside the area and coolly slotted home his second goal of the season and seal the 100th league win under the management of Tony Russell.

The match got off to a blistering start and Cray began well but in the fourth minute and with their first attack Merstham took the lead.  From a Cray attack, Merstham broke out and top scorer Omar Folkes broke down the right and his ball across was flicked out by Ellis Brown to the back post where Yannick Monga pounced to drive home a well struck shot past Lewis Carey.

The first real Wands chance came in the 12th minute when Bradley Pritchard played in Mundele down the right of the area but was denied by an excellent save from Matte Pierson who blocked the ball with his chest and the ball went behind for a corner.

Merstham came close to going two nil up when from a free kick 25 yards from goal, ex-Cray Wanderers full back Peter Wedgeworth stepped up to rifle in a shot which Carey did superbly to push the ball over for a corner.  From the corner the ball came to Monga inside the area but Carey parried the ball on the line.  Finally in a good spell of Merstham pressure Folkes inside the area turned and shot which was claimed by Carey.

Cray were able to weather that storm and in the 18th minute drew level when the ball was worked down the right and Dent who had begun in impressive fashion broke into the area and squared the ball across to Joe Taylor who made no mistake from 12 yards for his 14th goal of the season.            

From here Cray perhaps dominated the remainder of the half.  Firstly Taylor curled a shot over from Mundele’s pass and then Coker saw a shot deflected through to Pierson. This was followed from a right wing corner, Dent’s ball to the far post was volleyed over by Charlie Allen.

Cray came close to taking the lead early on when Jay Leader who had an excellent game at the back alongside the always imperious Nelson found Williams down the right who played in Taylor who drove in a shot at the near post which was pushed behind well by Pierson.

Merstham’s best opportunity perhaps of the second half came when down the right, Brown combined with Monga to play the ball across to Wedgeworth up from the back who fired over.

It was looking like the next goal would be key to deciding the game and in the 57th minute Cray took the lead when down the right Taylor did well to win the ball and play in a fine pass to Pritchard who found space to trap the ball and fire past Pierson for a superb and calm piece of finishing.

From here Cray began to get a hold of the game and although Merstham applied pressure and had possession the defence held strong and Carey was well protected for the most part. 

There was one possible bit of late drama when Merstham won a free kick in a decent position on the edge of the area but Wedgeworth blazed his shot over the bar and Cray could see out the game to pick up an excellent three points.

The Wands are on their travels once again on Saturday in the Isthmian Premier as they travel to Sussex to face Lewes, 3pm ko.  

Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Barney Williams (Capt.), Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Charlie Allen, Bradley Pritchard, Karl Dent (Lee Lewis, 82), Ben Mundele (Tom Murphy, 77), Andre Coker, Joe Taylor:  Subs:  Jerome Federico, Freddie Parker, Geofrey Okonkwo

Att:  147