They say seeing is believing. But those who witnessed Cray Wanderers league match on Saturday (5 October) at Hayes Lane would have good reason to doubt that statement.
As the final whistle sounded the team that had won only once in their last 11 league outings had claimed all three points in a 4-1 victory over the Met Police.
From the moment Dmitri Lapin headed Cray in front on 33 minutes belief began to rise up in the downcast hearts of the home fans who had suffered so much recently.
Prior to that first goal both sides were pretty evenly matched though it was the Met Police who started the brighter. But their inability to finish clinically in front of goal would come back to haunt them.
And Cray must have realized it would be their day when 15 minutes into the game the Met’s Howard Newton was brought down in the box. But to the dismay of his team mates and their travelling fans the referee waved away their appeals.
It took Cray nearly 20 minutes to mount their first real attack on goal. A cross from the right saw Warren McBean head just wide.
Despite this slow start positives signs were emerging from a Cray side that had conceded 42 league goals with only eight scored in reply. The defence was more robust and the movement and passing promised much.
Although they did ride their luck on occasions when a pass went astray – more to do with players still getting used to each other’s position play – but the Met couldn’t capitalize.
Manny Oser, the Met's lively winger posed a real threat down the right. It can’t be too long before a club from a higher league comes calling.
And it was Oser’s trickery that led to their equalizer. His cross found Howard Newton who found the back of Cray’s net on 35 minutes.
In previous games the player’s heads would drop. Not this time. It was a temporary setback that Cray took in their stride.
Though the goal did put wind in the Met Police's sails and Oser continued to be a thorn in Cray’s side. So much so that Jack Clarke, Cray’s left back, was cautioned for scything down the young winger.
The visitors finished the half stronger but again demonstrated their inability to finish in front of goal when Ty Smith with only the Cray keeper to beat, shot wide.
When halftime came many of Cray’s supporters were probably a little shocked to find they were still in the game. But they hadn’t seen anything yet.
Fifteen minutes into the second half Cray scored their second. Alex Stavrinou received the ball on the edge of the area and his stunning shot left the Met’s keeper beaten all ends up.
The visitors rallied and had several attempts on target. Cray’s response was to change their formation around by making some key substitutions, which soon bore fruit.
On the 71st minute substitute Jordan Clarke added a third and at last the home fans could truly believe that this was to be their day.
A late penalty, awarded when Clarke was brought down in the box and converted by Tommy Whitnell, was the icing on the cake.
By now Met’s players were going through the motions and when the final whistle sounded a huge sigh of relief echoed around the ground.
It is early days and if Cray Wanderers are to survive in this division they will need many more days like this. But it is a positive start and gives everyone at the club renewed hope that maybe just maybe Cray can pull off the great escape.