Cray Wanderers returned to Isthmian Premier league football in style with a 3-1 win against Lewes at Hayes Lane. The match saw the start of a new era with Danny Kedwell, appointed Cray Wanderers manager in April with virtually an entire new team going up against a Lewes side managed by former Wands boss Tony Russell and a handful of ex-players from last season.


In a cracking game which was action packed from the start, Cray went 2-0  up in 25 minutes with two classy finishes from Anthony Cook but an Ollie Tanner strike made it 2-1 at the break. Cray though restored the two goal advantage in the 67th minute with Jamie Yila’s close range finish.


On a warm afternoon, it was Cray who started quickly and new signing Adam Coombes was unlucky to see his shot come back off the right post and then lifted a shot just over the bar from Joey Taylor’s through ball.   Lewes best early opportunities came with Ollie Tanner firing just wide after Joe Taylor’s shot was blocked by Harvey Brand and a Bradley Pritchard cross from the right went across goal.


In the 16th minute, Cray went ahead with a well worked goal which ended with Coombes down the right putting over a cross which fell to Anthony Cook inside the area who from 10 yards calmly placed the ball into the net.


The action continued unabated and Coombes fired over on the turn and then for Lewes from a free kick on the right edge of the area, Freddie Parker drove wide of the left post.


Cray went two nil up in the 25th minute as the ball was played from midfield and Jamie Yila flicked on an excellent header which Cook latched onto expertly and down the left of the area drove a crisp shot wide of Carey into the bottom right corner.


Lewes though were never out of the game and on 37 minutes pulled a goal back when Pritchard played a good ball down the left to Tanner who cut into the area and fired in a cross-shot which went in on the right post and into the net.


Cray though had chances to score before the break and Yila was denied by a save from Lewis Carey’s legs and then from a free kick on the right, Andy Drury’s cross was headed wide by Ejiro Okosieme. Then Coombes fired just over and Cook tested Carey with a dinked effort.


Cray though restored their two goal advantage in the 67th minute with substitute Anis Nuur involved and played the ball through to Coombes down the left and with Carey coming to meet him squared the ball to the far post for a tap in for Yila and a well-deserved goal for the winger.


 There was still time for more quality play and Lewes almost pulled a goal back when Parker set up Tanner whose shot was parried by Jack Turner and then Michael Klass from 30 yards tried his luck with a shot which was gathered by Turner.


For Cray, Coombes found Yila whose shot was blocked by Carey and following up Cook fired over the bar and the Wands ended the game on top and came close to adding to the score in the final ten minutes. Firstly Drury found Sadik Balarabe who made a powerful run forward and hit a shot which was tipped round the right post by Carey.   Then Carey did well to make a smart save to deny Fjord Rogers who was found by Cook and saw his slightly curling shot pushed over by the former Wands keeper.


In the end though Cray had done more than enough on a big day for the club to pick up the three points and can go onto this Saturday’s trip to FA Trophy holders Hornchurch with confidence.


Team: Jack Turner, Harvey Brand, Freddie Cray, Ejiro Okosieme, Joey Taylor, Cameron Brodie, Andy Drury, Lee Lewis (Anis Nuur), Anthony Cook, Jamie Yila (Sadik Balarabe), Adam Coombes (Fjord Rogers)


Att:  305