Kent Senior Cup 1st Round – Wednesday 30th October, 2019  

Cray Wanderers                                            0

 VCD Athletic                                                 2

Fuseini 45+1, MacDonald 62 pen

Pictures kindly provided by Jon Hilliger

Cray Wanderers cup interest for the 2019-20 season came to an end as VCD Athletic won a fascinating encounter at Hayes Lane to advance to the 2nd Round of the Kent Senior Cup.

Cray began strongly in the first half and VCD keeper Matt Funnell made four fine saves but VCD went ahead in stoppage time when ex-Bromley midfielder Ali Fuseini curled home a classy free kick.  Cray looked to get back into the game but ex-Wand Charlie MacDonald won a penalty just after the hour and converted the spot kick in off a post to seal the Vickers passage in the competition.

Cray were looking to rebound from the FA Trophy defeat at Maldon & Tiptree on Saturday and there were a few changes from Saturday’s side with Geofrey Okonkwo, Lee Lewis, Jerome Federico, Charles Etumnu and Karl Dent coming in for the rested Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Bradley Pritchard, Joe Taylor with Charlie Allen on the bench.  VCD Athletic, 7th in the Isthmian South-East have been hard to beat but without a win in their last seven games but the game promised to be competitive.

VCD Athletic began well and created the first chance in the 4th minute when Jack Steventon’s ball forward found Ali Fuseini who broke into the box but shot wide of the left post.  At the other end, Okonkwo spread a fine ball out to Tom Murphy down the left who from just inside the area played the ball across the area and just out of the reach of Andre Coker.

The game was being played at a decent pace and Jerome Federico saw a shot blocked from just outside the area for Cray but VCD had a good chance when from a free kick out on the right, the ball was played into the box and Temitope Eweka headed wide.

Cray began to take control and had a good spell and from a free kick 25 yards out to the right of the area Lee Lewis fired in a well struck shot which forced Matt Funnell into a fine save pushing the ball out and getting great distance to force the ball away from danger.

Then Tom Phipp and Federico combined to set up Karl Dent who from 20 yards hit a shot which Funnell did superbly to push round the left post.  This was followed by Phipp firing over from distance and Lewis who was having a fine game at right-back cut inside and shot over the bar.

As the half wore on, Coker down the right found Federico who from just inside the area tested Funnell who parried the ball away and again to safety.  There was a blow for Cray though in the 33rd minute when Murphy had to go off with an injury and was replaced by Palace Francis for his Wands debut.

For VCD, Fuseini turned inside the area and shot over from 12 yards but were indebted once again to Funnell who made another fine save to deny Coker who was played in by Charles Etumnu and his goalbound shot was pushed round the right post by the keeper. Then from a left wing corner, Dent’s cross was headed wide by Mitchell Nelson. Before half time VCD began to get forward and from a free kick, 25 yards from goal, Fuseini curled a shot wide of the right post.

However, in the first minute of stoppage time, VCD took the lead when from a similarly placed free kick, Fuseini hit at unerring drive round the wall and into the bottom right corner and put the Vickers in front at the break.

Cray looked to respond in the second half and began well and were unlucky not to get back on terms when Dent and Francis combined to play Barney Williams into the area and the ex-VCD man flicked a shot agonisingly wide of the right post with the keeper beaten.

Then Phipp fired over from 25 yards and Francis who made a promising debut did well to cut into the area down the left and his ball across just couldn’t get a to a Cray forward.

In the 62nd minute VCD were presented with a chance to go 2-0 up when substitute Charlie MacDonald was found by a neat pass from Alastair Gordon and was adjudged to have been brought down in the area and a penalty kick was given.  From the spot kick the always reliable MacDonald struck the ball in off the left post.

Cray were by no means out of the game and Federico’s right wing cross found Coker whose effort was blocked.  Then, Dent down the right played a fine ball to the far post but Coker sent his header over the bar.

From here, VCD controlled the game well and Dominic Odusanya shot over from 30 yards and MacDonald unselfishly set up Gordon who tested Carey with a fairly tame shot from 14 yard. Funnell was perhaps lucky when he clattered Coker outside the area as he came to meet the ball to only receive a yellow card for the foul.  From the free kick, Dent’s shot was deflected behind for a corner and then twice saw efforts blocked inside the area.

The last chances for Cray came when Dent sent up Francis who shot wide at the left post and Phipp found Lewis who from distance saw his shot held by Funnell.

VCD had done enough to win the game in the second half and could have scored a third when Courtney Barrington shot over the bar but there was no further scoring and Keith McMahon’s side advanced but Cray had played their part in a good cup tie with plenty of endeavour and with Francis and another young substitute Muqisa Hodasi coming on towards the end showed perhaps some future Wands stars.

Cray are next in action at home to Worthing on Saturday as it will be league football to dominate the rest of the 2019-20 season but still one with plenty to offer.

Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Barney Williams (Capt.), Lee Lewis, Mitchell Nelson, Geofrey Okonkwo, Tom Phipp, Charles Etumnu (Charlie Allen, 73), Tom Murphy (Palace Francis, 33), Jerome Federico (Muqisa Hodasi, 87), Karl Dent, Andre Coker:  Subs:  Max Gayle, Stefan Abetan

Booked:  Phipp

VCD Athletic: Matt Funnell, Dominic Vincent-Edwards (Charlie MacDonald, H/T), Bradley Simms, Jack Steventon (Capt.), Temitope Eweika, Robert Bartley

(Alex Gaggin, 68), Henry Ikeije, Alistair Gordon, Ali Fuseini (Kelvin Ogboe, 90), Dominic Odusanya, Courtney Barrington:  Subs: George Monger, Raphe Brown

 Booked:          Bartley, Funnell        

Referee:  Jack Owen  

Assistants:  Wally James, Ben Fuller    


Attendance – 68