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Kingstonian 1-1 Cray Wanderers

A late penalty after a debatable free kick decision dashed hopes of an early Christmas present to Kingstonian after a game of missed chances and yet more rain - albeit of the heavy drizzle type.

With Bobby Traynor in the starting line up for the first time in three weeks, he rewarded the few fans who had braved the elements instead of heading into the town centre with a shot slotted into the back of the Cray net in the second half.

Dean Lodge out on the left in the 63rd minute crossed in to the centre only to see Ryan Royston head the ball away. Jamie Beer pounced on the loose ball, as he came in from the right and passed to Traynor, who swiftly turned and scored, beating the 'keeper and a defender who failed to get a goal line clearance.

But for Kingstonian a series of missed chances before and after would cost them dear in this pre-festive season top table clash.

The misses began from the whistle. Jon Coke's life in-swinger centred on Traynor in the second minute who then drilled it across the goal. Two minutes later he was denied again.

Lodge went for a run up the right and found Traynor in the middle. He shot low and powerfully but Glen Knight in the goal somehow tipped it out past the right far post for a corner.

Glen Knight saves from Bobby Traynor
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Two minutes again and Lodge was instrumental in the next chance with the possibility of the weather - the wind and rain being in the home side's faces - playing its part. His long pass was aimed towards Saheed Sankoh but Knight arrived at the ball fractionally before and Sankoh went over him in chasing for the ball.

Not surprisingly Cray had to reply soon otherwise they were in danger of being overwhelmed and, with three chances going to the Woods' brothers, they began to make their presence known.

First Jamie tried a long speculative 40-yard shot, hoping for the wind to carry it and Luke Garrard to be off the line. With it covered by Garrard, the ball went wide in the 10th minute. His second shot three minutes later was at closer range - 30 yards - and closer still to the upright.

Luke Garrard fingertips a free kick past the post
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Lewis then tried his chance in the 14th with a header past the far post from the right after Ross Lover's free kick found him.

Sankoh then scuffed one of the best chances of the game when Lodge picked himself up after a tough tackle from Mark Willy and took the free kick.

This was followed up minutes later, in the 21st, by Simon Huckle making a last-gasp kick as Wood - the Lewis one - shot from five yards out. Cray were beginning to put on some pressure and Jamie this time saw his cannoning shot deflected away by Lodge for a corner.

Coke a minute earlier had found Traynor in a packed Crays' defence. Traynor shot goalwards, only to be denied as the ball rebounded off Lodge 10 yards out with the keeper beaten.

The weather began to take its toll and for the rest of the first half chances became sparser with most falling to the visitors. Lover had the best chance with his shot going across the goal after swivelling and shooting in the 31st minute. Both the Woods also missed a chance after a cross in from the right and then Lodge ended the half with a slice that went wide to the left.

The second half once again saw Kingstonian on the attack and taking advantage of a rainless wind behind them - now coming from the south instead of the east.

Dean Lodge on the run
Photo: Stephen Baird

Traynor found himself almost alone, having beaten the offside trap, in the 48th minute with only Knight to beat but the keeper managed to get his hand to it.

Sankoh then found himself taking an early bath after he gave way for AFC Wimbledon loanee Stephen Goddard four minutes later.

The game then began to meander again until Coke's snapped shot just after the hour was stopped point blank style by Steve Aris in defence. Galvanised it only took two more minutes before Traynor finally opened up the scoring for his first goal since the penalty at Croydon on October 30th.

A minute later a chance to double the tally went begging as Traynor shot wide. Then five minutes passed and Lodge's corner came sailing into the area and with Traynor going for the ball he was beaten to it by the defence for a second corner kick. Now on the right Lodge once again aimed into the centre and the ball was headed over.

In the 82nd minute Lodge right foot rocket from 35 yards out went just wide. Huckle had crossed the ball in from the left. And that ought to have been it as while Cray tried to exert some pressure, it was not a lot. Then referee Wes Linden stepped up and gave a free kick for an innocuous-looking challenge out on the left and 15 yards short of the corner flag. Lover stepped up to take it and with Lodge jumping as a one-man wall to stop it, on the edge of the box, the ball hit his arm.

Depending on who saw it, depends on how high his arm was. A penalty was awarded nonetheless and Michael Power stepped up beat an unfortunate Garrard who was close to what was an excellent spot kick.

Dean Lodge suffers a knock
Photo: Stephen Baird

It was the lack of chance conversions that in the end cost Kingstonian the two points, even though Cray had their fair share of chances themselves.

Saturday 8th December 2007
(Cray Wanderers H)
Alan Dowson interview
[WMA file - 3:41 - 887Kb]

Sat 8th Dec 2007
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Division One South
Cray Wanderers1
1Luke Garrard
2Jamie Beer16
3Simon Sobihy
4Wayne Finnie
5Gavin CartwrightCautioned
6Simon Huckle
7Nick Rundell
8Jon Coke12
9Bobby Traynor
10Saheed Sankoh14
11Dean Lodge
12Wes Goggin8
14Steve Goddard10
15Danny Summers
16Neil Lampton2
17Luke Naughton
Match Report By
Michael Underwood