Cray Wanderers vs Dartford – London Senior Cup QF – 16/4/24 – Match Report

Cray Wanderers                           1

Clunis 2 mins

Dartford                                         2

Greenidge 29, Kwatchey o. g. 90+1

Cray Wanderers final cup tie at Hayes Lane ended in defeat as Dartford advanced to the Semi-Finals of the London Senior Cup with an injury time winner which prevented a penalty shootout on a wet and chilly evening.

Cray got off to a flying start as Nyren Clunis stroked the Wands ahead in the 2nd minute but Dartford fought back well and levelled through a fine finish from Jordan Greenidge just before the half hour. 

Dartford shaded the second half and the winner came a minute into stoppage time when from a corner down the right from Luke Allen into a crowded goalmouth looked to have got a touch off Emmanuel Kwatchey and although Alfie Evans cleared off the line was deemed to be a goal.

The Wands were looking to reach a semi-final at Hendon and from the side which were beaten at Horsham on Saturday into the side came Charlie Paye, Sam Wood, Frankie Raymond, Nyren Clunis and Josh Hallard for David Ijaha, Jack Holland, Ellis Brown, Archie Johnson and Enoch Muwonge.

Dartford were coming into the game on the back of relegation from the National South but contributed greatly to a fine cup tie which did justice to the competition.

The Wands began on the front foot and took the lead in the 2nd minute when Paye who had a great match played a terrific ball out from the back out to Josh Hallard down the right whose cross was turned in by Nyren Clunis from eight yards.

Dartford though worked their way into the game and dominated the next half an hour and Jordan Greenidge who was a constant thorn in the Wands side broke into the box down the right and saw his strike deflected behind for a corner.

Then Taylor Maloney fired a free kick wide of the right post and Olly Box down the left of the area saw an effort blocked by Paye for a corner.

Dartford continued to press and ex-Wand Harrison Sodje shot over from 30 yards and then from a corner down the left the ball came to Joash Nembhard who headed wide.

In the 28th minute Dartford almost levelled when George Whitefield down the right of the area saw a shot pushed out by Shaun Rowley.

However, a minute later Dartford levelled when the rangy Greenidge reacted quickest to a through ball and raced into the area and smashed a shot high into the net.

Dartford threatened to take the lead when again down the right Fumnaya Shomotun cut inside and his shot was pushed out well by Rowley.

The last real opening of the half though fell to Cray when Clunis down the left inside the area fired in a shot at the near post which was saved by Tom Wray.

HT:  1-1

The second half began in very steady rain and looked like both teams were going to go for it rather than settle for a penalty shoot-out.  

Dartford began well and Maloney set up Shomotun down the right of the area who drove over the top.  The Wands introduced Tom Beere for Josh Hallard and combined with Alfie Evans to set up Clunis down the right of the area whose shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Dartford had a good spell after that with Shomotun shooting over and then Ronny Nelson down the left drove a cross-shot across goal.  Then, Maloney found space to fire a shot wide of the left post.

The Wands introduced George Brooke and Archie Johnson with Nyren Clunis sadly having to go off with an injury following treatment and later Cameron McQueen-Hinckley and Reggie Rye in a bit to turn the tide and Brooke in particular seemed to carry the fight.  Emmanuel Kwatchey played a fine ball up to Brooke who from 25 yards saw a shot well fielded by Wray.

In the 81st minute Dartford came close to going in front as Sam Oduadu down the left set up Finley Scillence who crashed a shot against the underside of the crossbar.

Both teams were looking to score a winner and both teams came twice within a minute.  Firstly for Cray, Rowley played a fine ball upfield for Brooke to chase and as Wray came out of goal, Brooke did well to set himself up for a shot towards goal which Wray had to dive down to save.

Then at the other end, Cray had a let off when Shomotun’s cross found Greenidge inside the area and seemed certain to score but put his shot wide of goal.

It looked like it might be penalties after all but a minute into six added on Luke Allen won a corner.  From the corner down the left the ball from Allen into  a crowded goalmouth it appeared the ball came off Emmanuel Kwatchey and although hooked away from goal by Alfie Evans was deemed to be over the line.

Allen almost scored to seal the tie shortly after driving wide of the right post but in the end held on to win and over the ninety minutes had been the better side and now head to Hendon in the Semi-Final on Tuesday 23rd April.

This was Cray’s 126th cup tie at Hayes Lane since the first game in September 1998 and despite the defeat this was a decent game and some good young talent on show.

Cray now end their home fixtures in the league on Saturday vs. Bognor Regis Town in the final league game at Hayes Lane and the end of an era.

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Emmanuel Kwatchey, Charlie Paye, Tom Bonner, Sam Wood (Cameron McQueen-Hinckley, 77), Alfie Evans, Frankie Raymond (Reggie Rye, 77), Josh Hallard (Tom Beere, 50), Anthony Cook (George Brooke, 66), Nyren Clunis (Archie Johnson, 66), Gary Lockyer

Dartford: Tom Wray, Joash Nembhard, George Whitefield, Jayden Boulton, Ronny Nelson, Harrison Sodje (Luke Allen, 82), Olly Box (Sam Oduadu, H/T), Fumnaya Shomotun, Taylor Maloney (Jack Smith, 83), Finley Scillence (Luke Coulson, 83), Jordan Greenidge: Sub: Rhys Byrne

Referee: Tommy Breen

Assistants: Jordan Whitworth, Will Donnelly


Att: 211