Pre - Season Friendly
Beckenham Town FC, Eden Park Avenue
CRAY WANDERERS 3
Duckworth 8, 35, McCollin 26
TUNBRIDGE WELLS 3
Seenan 74, 75, Barton 90
Cray’s pre-season campaign continued as a late comeback from Tunbridge Wells saw the visitors come back from 3-0 down in the last quarter of an hour.
The match was played on the second pitch at Beckenham Town FC and it was Cray who opened the sharper in this match which was in contrast to Saturday’s defeat at Sittingbourne. Cray took the lead with their first dangerous attack in the 8th minute when following hesitation at the back Andre McCollin stole in and pushed the ball wide of the advancing keeper to set up James Duckworth for a tap in from 6 yards out.
Wells were indebted to their keeper who made two good saves to deny Lea Dawson and Duckworth again as Cray looked dangerous every time they attacked and Duckworth and McCollin look to have a good understanding up front.
After a brief lull in the proceedings Cray went further ahead in the 26th minute when Grant Basey who impressed in the first half with his accurate passing from the back slipped a great ball through to McCollin who once again showed his pace and experience to beat the defence and confidently rolled the ball into the net from just inside the area.
Light rain had started to fall when on 35 minutes it was 3-0 to Cray after a great piece of finishing from Duckworth. Another accurate ball forward from Basey was nodded into the area and Duckworth beat ex-Wand Gary Beckett to the ball and expertly lobbed the ball over the keeper with a tremendous piece of opportunism.
Tunbridge Wells managed by former Wands manager Keith Bird only threatened in the last couple of minutes of the half and Nick Blue had to be alert to make one sharp save before the break.
Half Time: 3-0
With the usual spate of substitutions from both sides at half time the game didn’t have the same flow of that of the first half.
Cray did look to put together some good passing moves at the start of the second half with Leigh Bremner and Troy Williams introduced up front. Cray were unlucky not to get a fourth goal on the hour when Williams’ free kick from 20 yards came back off the crossbar possibly following a touch from the keeper.
At times the game looked too comfortable for Cray but there was a real sting in the tail as Wells produced a very strong last quarter of an hour of the game.
On 74 minutes Cray conceded a rather sloppy goal following a defensive mix up and Chris Seenan had a routine task of slotting the ball home to reduce the arrears.
Incredibly within a few seconds of that the Wands defence was caught out again and Seenan this time struck home a powerful shot from just inside the area to make it 3-2.
This put some urgency back into Cray’s play and Marlon Patterson with another 20 yard free kick forced the visitor’s keeper to parry the ball away.
Tunbridge Wells had a great chance to level with a few minutes to go but Andy Irvine who was played through blazed over the bar when well placed.
That looked to be the last chance for Wells as Bremner with a fine piece of play showing he has lost none of his sharpness received the ball out on the right wing and curled a terrific shot in which went just wide of the left post.
Then with the last kick of the game, Tunbridge Wells were awarded a free kick some 30 yards from goal. The kick was floated in and Jason Barton rose highest to plant a header into the back of the net and complete an unlikely comeback by Tunbridge Wells.
Despite the eventual disappointment of the result there were many positives to take from the first half performance particularly and there is much for the fans to look forward to in an attacking capacity.
Cray Wanderers would like to thank Peter Palmer and all at Beckenham Town FC for their kind assistance with getting this game arranged at comparatively short notice and for their hospitality throughout the game.
Cray: Blue, Wilson, Reeves, Payne, Basey, Carpenter, Roberts, Igbehere, Dawson, Duckworth, McCollin: Selected subs: Deakin, Patterson, Bremner, Williams, Appiah