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Frankie Merrifield scored twice as Bishop's Stortford beat Cray Wanderers 3-1 in Isthmian League, Premier Division




Frankie Merrifield bagged a brace as Bishop's Stortford came from behind to triumph 3-1 at Cray Wanderers on Sunday.

Aaron Greene was also on target as the Blues overturned a half-time deficit to make it five games unbeaten at the start of the Pitching In Isthmian League, Premier Division campaign.

The result means Steve Smith's men, who are yet to taste defeat in seven matches in all competitions this term, are fourth in the table just one point behind leaders Worthing.

Frankie Merrifield, pictured in action against Enfield in pre-season, scored twice for the Blues. Picture: Nathan Cracknell
Frankie Merrifield, pictured in action against Enfield in pre-season, scored twice for the Blues. Picture: Nathan Cracknell

The Wands, who groundshare with Vanarama National League side Bromley, made a fast start on the artificial surface at Hayes Lane, with Jerome Federico's cross from the right falling to Joe Taylor in space inside the box but he miscued wide.

And the hosts took a 16th-minute lead when Freddie Parker was given too much space on the left wing and was able to cut in and curl the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Merrifield had a penalty claim turned down before Parker could have doubled the home team's lead with a deflected effort.

Federico's pace was causing Sam Mvemba all sorts of problems at left-back and his crossing wasn't bad either - an inch-perfect delivery to the far post nearly crept into the top corner with Jack Giddens not getting near it.

The Blues, who are the only team in the league with an unbeaten record, went close to equalising when Greene let fly from 30 yards and the ball whistled past the right post.

For the Wands, Federico picked out Parker in the middle with a cross and Sam Robbins blocked the effort, before Joe Taylor's cross fell to Bradley Pritchard but a poor first touch allowed Jack Thomas to clear.

Before half time, the hosts' Mitchell Nelson was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card for a high tackle on Ben Marlow while Greene got in behind the defence and was denied by goalkeeper Lewis Carey from a tight angle.

The Blues began the second half on the front foot with a high press and forced some mistakes. Greene drew a save from Carey with a rising shot from the edge of the box that was tipped over, before Merrifield's header from Greene's corner went wide.

With no chances of note at the other end, the pressure eventually told in the 57th minute as brilliant work by Marlow enabled Greene to equalise with a left-footed half-volley from the corner of the box.

Just 10 minutes later and the Blues took the lead. Darren Foxley cut in from the right and played in Greene who was fouled by Jay Leader for a penalty which Merrifield converted by sending Carey the wrong way.

Merrifield soon netted his second goal of the day and fifth of the season when he slotted the ball between Carey's legs after Leader had lost the ball on the edge of the box thanks to great pressure from Foxley.

Cray Wanderers: Carey, Carlse, Leader, Nelson, Phipps, Banton (Murrell-Williamson 32), Taylor, Parker (Allen 82), Mundele, Federico, Pritchard. Not used: Williams, Lewis, Onoabagbe.

Blues: Giddens, Thomas, Robbins, Henshaw, Marlow, Merrifield (Richardson 79), Greene (Brown 89), Mvemba, Jones, Foxley (Davidson 83), Haines. Not used: Mullings, Baker. Attendance: 338.

The Blues went into the weekend's contest on the back of a 1-1 home draw with Folkestone Invicta last Tuesday (October 6).

Greene opened the scoring for the hosts in the first half but his effort was cancelled out by Jordan Wright 13 minutes from time.



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