Last Game Win
Second Spot Secured
Ryman U21 Development League North: 9/5/17
Cray Wanderers U21s 2
Collier 43, Charles 85
AFC Sudbury U21s 3
Pengelly 24, 83, Blackwell 36
The final game of the 2016-17 Ryman U21 Development North season saw Cray Wanderers take on AFC Sudbury in a game for a one off occasion played at Glebe FC
As in many games this season, the young Wands side played well and there were many positive displays but the visitors just had that clinical edge to their finishing and the Suffolk team came away with a three points that guaranteed they would finish the season in second place, four points behind champions Billericay Town.
On a pleasant if slightly chilly by the end evening, Cray began the game well and Brent Brojaj mishit a shot which went wide.
The first real chance of the game though fell to AFC Sudbury after five minutes when Tev Allen down the right of the penalty area put over a cross which was met by Mikey Carrigan but his header came back off the top of the crossbar.
Cray then went back on the attack and Tyrelle David down the left found John-Paul Collier who hit a shot from twenty yards which went just wide of goal.
Sudbury then had a spell in the ascendancy and from a right wing corner Alfie Carroll saw a header deflected off target. Then Jordie Blackwell found space inside the area to line up a shot but his effort was blocked by Zak Henry.
A goal for AFC Sudbury was on the cards and it arrived in the 24th minute. From a free kick out on the left, 25 yards from goal, Blackwell’s cross into the area was only partially punched clear by Sean Law and following up Aaron Pengelly swept the loose ball into the net.
Cray came back into it and the lively Ralique Lawrence was unlucky not to score when from a neat pass down the right drove a cross shot wide.
The Wands were unlucky again when a strong run from Lawrence saw an exchange of passes with the impressive Ken Charles who burst onto Lawrence’s pass but his cross shot went inches wide of the left post. Then Tyrece Scott-Reilly put over a tempting ball from out on the left but no-one could get on the end of it.
Sudbury though made it 2-0 in the 36th minute with a good breakaway goal. The ball was worked down the left and Pengelly’s telling cross evaded Carrigan who appeared to have been fouled in the box but the referee played advantage and Blackwell unmarked was able to fire in from six yards out.
Cray though eneded the half on top and Charles saw a shot blocked and then he and Lawrence were both denied by stubborn defending.
Two minutes before half time though, Cray pulled a goal back when the ball after a spell of Wands pressure was worked down the left and finding space, Collier let fly with a shot which took a deflection off a Sudbury defender which deceived keeper Aaron Bean.
Half Time: 1-2
The second half was an end to end affair but didn’t see as many chances as the first half and Sudbury defended well.
Cray looked to draw level and Brojaj down the right drilled a shot across goal and just wide. For Sudbury, Dan Hanson fired wide of goal.
For Sudbury, Pengelly saw an effort saved by Sean Law from close range whilst for Cray, Collier saw a shot blocked inside the area and the ball was cleared.
The game then went through a phase in which not a lot happened but Lawrence who had a good game throughout saw a shot from outside the area deflected behind for a corner.
If the game was beginning to drift, then the latter stages did liven up with two very well taken goals.
In the 82nd minute, AFC Sudbury managed to put some daylight between the teams with a third goal, worked down the right and Hanson’s pass found Pengelly who from the right edge of the area swept home a first time shot which gave Law no chance to save.
Cray though got back into it five minutes from time with a fine goal of their own when Charles down the left cut inside and from the edge of the box curled a unstoppable shot into the bottom right corner of the net.
This led to an interesting final few minutes but Sudbury were able to withstand the Cray pressure and the last opportunity fell to Sudbury when Blackwell’s shot was deflected behind.
The final whistle then went and the end of what has been at times a difficult first season in this league.
With thanks to www.craywanderersfc.co.uk