Cray Valley (PM) - 17/09/22
Cray Valley (PM) 1 - Hanwell Town 2
We travelled to Eltham in The London Borough of Greenwich to meet Cray Valley (PM) who play in the Isthmian League South East Division in the second qualifying round of The Emirates FA Cup. This was only the second time ever that we had met Cray, the only other time being in the London Senior Cup way back in 2012 when we came away with a 3-2 win. On this occasion we managed again to win with a single goal advantage but it was a hard fought contest which could have gone either way.
The game was proceeded by a two minute silence in honour of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second who had passed away 48 hours previously at the age of 96.
Not for the first time this season we changed our formation with three at the back and Isaac Olorunfemi and Mack Miskin filling wing back roles. George Nicholas, skipper Harry Rush and Jack Hutchinson slotted into mid field with Shomarz Barnwell and Conrad Lucan the two up front.
After a frantic opening few minutes we almost took the lead when a square pass by George into the path of Harry saw Harry’s fierce shot thunder against the Cray crossbar with the home team’s keeper Chris Lewington beaten. Play switched from end to end with neither side being able to create any clear cut chances with both sides having what looked liked a justified penalty appeal turned down.
On the half hour mark we gave the ball away needlessly in midfield and the home sides Adam Coombes sent a fierce shot over our crossbar. Minutes later an inswinging corner from the right side was flicked on by Cray’s Cem Tumkaya with the ball just missing the far post. Ten minutes before the interval, Cray took the lead as a good ball down the right side set Denzel Gayle through, his low cross found Adam Coombes who played the ball back into the path of Dan Bennett who scored from close range despite our desperate efforts to block his shot. The half time whistle sounded with Cray still leading and with us needing desperately to get back onto level terms.
Our team were out again very quickly during the half time break and it was clear that the management team were not happy with our first half performance but whatever was said at half time certainly had the desired effect as Jack Hutchinson, our Man of The Match, sent Isaac racing clear down the right and he played in Shomarz who’s low cross was turned into the net by Conrad to even up the scores. The home side fought back but at this stage we looked in control but without being able to create any clear cut chances until another excellent move down the right saw Conrad put Isaac in and from his cross, Shomarz scored slotting in the rebound after his initial scoring attempt had seen the ball strike the post before rebounding out to him.
Cray fought back strongly and should have drawn level in the sixty fifth minute but somehow Hugo in our goal turned a shot from point blank range over the bar when it seemed easier to score. This came at a critical time when Cray were doing most of the attacking with ourselves confined to long balls up front which were easily dealt with by the Cray back line. We defended in depth and made three substitutions in the final ten minutes as we hung onto our slender lead and there was considerable relief when the final whistle was blown.
1.Hugo Sobte 2.Isaac Olorunfemie 3.Mack Miskin 4.Calum Duffy 5.Dwayne Duncan 6.Connagh Wilks 7.George Nicholas 8.Harry Rush (capt) 9.Shomarz Barnwell 10.Conrad Lucan 11.Jack Hutchinson
Substitutes used: Mark Waters for Barnwell (80), Matt Mackenzie for Miskin (84) and Daniel Rowe for Lucan (90)
Unused substitutes: Gareth Chendlik, Chid Onokwai, Calum Woodcock and Joseph Otudeko