Cray Wanderers – 2019-20 season – That was the season that wasn’t – A Pictorial Review

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

All photos kindly provided by Jon Hilliger

Cray Wanderers             0

VCD Athletic                 2          Fuseini 45, MacDonald 62 pen

Cray Wanderers bowed out of the Kent Senior Cup on a still Wednesday evening at Hayes Lane but certainly was not for the want of trying as a side with a few young players perhaps deserved more reward on the night.

There were a number of changes from Saturday’s trip to Maldon & Tiptree with Geofrey Okonkwo, Charles Etumnu, Lee Lewis, Jerome Federico and Karl Dent all starting.  There was also a change of routine for Tony Russell who sat and watched the game from the stands while Joe Vines took dugout duties.

There were a couple of early scares for Cray Wanderers when VCD attacked but Cray had the better chances of the half and keeper Matt Funnell made four fine saves in the first half.

Firstly, the keeper made an excellent stop to turn away Lee Lewis’s 25 yard free kick. Then Federico found Dent who drove in a shot from 20 yards which was pushed around the post.

Then Funnell made a good save to parry away Andre Coker’s close range effort but there was a blow when Tom Murphy had to go off with injury just after the half hour and coming on for his senior debut was Palace Francis, one of four U18s players on the bench.


VCD came close when Fuseini fired over the bar but Cray continued to attack with pace and before half time, Coker was played through and his shot was pushed round the right post by Funnell.  Then Mitchell Nelson headed wide from a Federico cross.

One the stroke of half time, VCD went in front when from a free kick close to 25 yards out, Fuseini curled the ball around the wall and into the net for a cracking finish.

Cray almost levelled after half time when Barney Williams down the left broke into the area and was desperately unlucky to see his clipped effort go fractionally wide of the right post.  Then Tom Phipp fired over from distance.

In the 62nd minute, substitute Charlie MacDonald was played through by Alastair Gordon and was adjudged to have been fouled inside the area and a penalty kick was given. MacDonald converted the spot kick in off the post.

Cray almost reduced the arrears but Coker headed over from Karl Dent’s cross. VCD had a bit more control of the game after that although Funnell was fortunate to just be awarded a yellow card when he clattered into Coker outside the box.

The second U18s player Muqisa Hodasi came on for the last 12 minutes to get some first team experience which shows the talent underneath the first team.

In the end, VCD advanced but Cray certainly were not disgraced and now attention would turn after a couple of cup defeats to a huge game on Saturday against Worthing at Hayes Lane.

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

Att:       68

Cray Wanderers vs VCD Athletic – The Thoughts of Tony Russell

It was a good open game and there were plenty of chances. I quite enjoyed it up in the stands, there was no pressure as not a league game and points at stake. It wasn’t a competition high on the priorities list and I said to the boys before the game I didn’t care about the result it was irrelevant, I just wanted us to perform and the boys who haven’t been playing to put their hands up and give me a nudge and say pick me. Some of them did that, some didn’t play that well but for positives I thought Lee Lewis played really well at right back and young Palace Francis was excellent on his debut, both 17 year olds.

We have missed a few chances, so have they during the game.  Am I distraught, we are out? Not really, we have 16 players to choose from and Tom Murphy who wanted to play and show himself has pulled a hamstring and could be out a long time which is why we don’t tend to play key players in these games.  We just don’t have the numbers to accommodate this competition, it’s a good competition I don’t want to disregard it but we are not in a position as we don’t have an U23s or Academy side.  The league is our priority and perhaps reach the playoffs and go up to the Conference South. With all due respect to the Kent Senior Cup we probably have bigger fish to fry this season.