Ryman League Division One North: Game 32
Cray Wanderers 0
Brightlingsea Regent 3
Newson 30, Kelly 82, Gordon 83
The Wands suffered a disappointing night as Brightlingsea Regent’s first ever visit to Hayes Lane ended in a comfortable victory. To compound Cray’s disappointment Max Fitzgerald was sent off in the second half.
This was Cray’s first game since the 10th of February and from that last game there was only one change to the starting lineup with Warren Whitely returning in place of Rory Hill
Both teams started the game looking to play good football and produced a decent first half. The first real attempt of the game came to the visitors in the seventh minute when the lively Phil Kelly shot straight at Dean Gardikiotis from just outside the area.
Cray had a good chance to take the lead on thirteen minutes when Warren Whitely’s telling cross from the left was met by the head of Nick Humphrey. His fine header was tipped over the crossbar by Andrew Plummer in the Regent goal. Orlando Smith was a major factor in the game in the early stages and he hit a great shot from 25 yards out which went just over the crossbar.
Brightlingsea were knocking the ball around very cleverly but Cray had a half chance when Chris Piper’s corner was flicked on by Humphrey to Max Fitzgerald who knocked the ball wide under pressure. Then Smith played the ball into the box to Piper whose dinked half-hit shot went straight to Plummer.
Regent came close on twenty-five minutes when Ricky Griggs corner to the back post was headed over by George Clarke.
They didn’t have to wait long to score as on the half hour Brightlingsea took the lead. Kelly played his way down the left and his cross was not well dealt with by the Cray defence and Ben Newson struck a crisp shot into the bottom corner of the net.
It was almost two-nil six minutes later when after more hesitation at the back Clarke hit the top of the crossbar with a strike from close range.
A couple of minutes later Smith laid the ball off to Whitely who cut in from the left and hit a well struck shot which stung the hands of Plummer.
Half Time: 0-1
The second half was pretty much one way traffic as Brightlingsea grew with confidence and looked threatening throughout.
Early on Jake Turner hit a scuffed shot from 20 yards which went straight to Gardikiotis. For Cray Chris Piper then played a good pass through to Moses Ashikodi who worked his way into the box but couldn’t quite connect with a shot and the ball went wide.
Kelly came close for the visitors when his run and shot was met with a fine save by Gardikiotis. Jake Gordon had a shot blocked by Fitzgerald and from the resultant corner, Kelly headed the ball wide.
Brightlingsea were looking more and more likely to add to their tally and Newson had a shot at goal, then a goal was disallowed for offside and then Gordon hit a tremendous shot which was met by a fine save from Gardikiotis. He also had to be alert to smother another effort from Newson.
Cray’s hopes of getting back into the game took a turn for the worse on 73 minutes when Fitzgerald was sent off for a slightly mistimed tackle reducing the Wands to ten men.
Kelly shot over the crossbar after Newson’s effort was saved before the visitors extended their lead in the 82nd minute.
Newson hit a shot which was pushed wide by Gardikiotis for a corner. From Ricky Griggs corner the ball fell to Kelly who headed the ball home from close range.
A minute later it was 3-0 when Gordon was quickest to react to follow up a shot saved by the keeper.
Cray plugged away and a couple of minutes from the end Nathan Simpson’s free kick was pushed over well by Plummer.
Brightlingsea had a couple more chances before the end of the game but the match was pretty much done and dusted. Cray will look to bounce back with a trip to Soham Town on Saturday.
Cray: Dean Gardikiotis, Cesc Fakinos, Nathan Simpson, Max Fitzgerald, Steve Springett, Nick Humphrey (Capt.), Orlando Smith, Chris Piper, Adrian Stone, Moses Ashikodi (Alex Teniola, 62), Warren Whitely (Rory Hill, 63): Subs: James Pass, Frank Griffin, Alex Gardikiotis
Sent Off: Fitzgerald 73
Booked: Humphrey, Piper
Brightlingsea: Andrew Plummer, Ricky Griggs (Terry Amass, 86), Josh Gould, Amir Berkane, Jake Holman, Matt Cripps, George Clarke (Oliver Canifer, 71), Jake Turner, Jake Gordon, Phil Kelly (Jordan Heath), Ben Newson: Subs: Warren Joseph, Jake Gould