Cray Wanderers made it two wins in a week and remain unbeaten away from home in the Isthmian Premier after victory at Lewes on a sunny afternoon at the Dripping Pan. 

This broke new ground with the Wands first ever league win against Lewes and did so after falling behind to a 23rd minute goal from Dayshonne Golding.  Cray though fought back and Joe Taylor’s immaculate lob made it 1-1 in the 33rd minute and on the stroke of half time Mitchell Nelson scored his first goal of the season.  Five minutes after the restart Andre Coker was on hand to score from six yards from Taylor’s assist and Cray had control of the game.  Lewes pulled a goal back with five minutes to go through Stefan Ilic but Cray held on to move up to 7th in the table and onto 20 points after 12 games.

Cray in 9th at the start of play had won at Merstham on Tuesday night and Tony Russell named an unchanged side. Lewes were 18th and this was manager Darren Freeman’s last game in charge.

On a sunny, mild afternoon the game got off to a sedate and fairly quiet start and it came as a surprise in the 23rd minute when Lewes took the lead out of nothing when Peter Gregory was brought down by Mitchell Nelson but managed to squeeze the ball through to Dayshonne Golding who broke into the area and slipped the ball past Lewis Carey and into the net.

Lewes came close again when James Hammond shot over from 25 yards but in the 33rd minute Cray got back on level terms with a superb piece of finishing from Joe Taylor when down the right he received a pass from Charlie Allen and from quite a tight angle managed to lob the ball past Stroomberg-Clarke and high into the net for his15th goal of the season.

On the stroke of half-time Cray went ahead when after a free kick 20 yards from goal Dent’s ball into the area was on two occasions only half cleared under pressure from Bradley Pritchard and the ball fell to Nelson who hit a first time shot low into the bottom right corner of the net and Cray had turned the game around completely.

The second half began with Cray carrying on where they left off at the end of the first half and five minutes after the restart the Wands went 3-1 up.  From a throw in down the left, the ball came to Taylor whose ball across was hard to defend against and Dent left the ball to Andre Coker who from four yards turned the ball home.

Cray now had a good level of control of the game and a terrific passing move saw Dent and Murphy combine to put Taylor through but his shot was saved although the flag was raised for offside.

Then Carey’s ball towards the impressive Taylor was flicked on to Coker who played a pass to Pritchard who was unlucky to see his volley blocked by a defender.

The Wands were looking for a fourth goal to kill the game off and came close to do so when from down the left the ball came to Murphy just inside the area and his shot on the turn went just wide of goal.

This was followed by another Cray chance as Taylor set up Charlie Allen who had a superb match who saw his shot blocked inside the area for what would have been his first Cray goal.

Cray almost broke away for a fourth goal following a Lewes corner kick when Coker picked up the ball on the edge of his own area, ran forward and into the penalty area and drove a shot at the near post  which Stroomberg-Clarke did well to parry and push behind for a corner.

Just as the game was beginning to wind down, Lewes made it a dramatic finish in the 85th minute when they pulled a goal back.  Down the left, Jordy Mongoy left fly with a shot which was pushed out by Carey and following up to the loose ball Stefan Ilic rifled a shot into the net.

Despite the goal, Cray were very clever in the remaining minutes and took the sting out of the game with some good possession football and managed to keep Carey well protected and the Wands saw out the match and end their Lewes hoodoo.

Cray moved up to 7th with the win and on to 20 points and continue on the road on Tuesday night when they travel to 2nd placed Horsham looking to keep up their unbeaten start away from home to the league season.

Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Barney Williams (Capt.), Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Charlie Allen, Bradley Pritchard, Karl Dent (Tom Phipp, 65), Ben Mundele (Tom Murphy, 38), Andre Coker, Joe Taylor:  Subs:  Jerome Federico, Lee Lewis, Geofrey Okonkwo

Att: 648