Cray Wanderers are back in league action at Hayes Lane on Saturday as 2nd placed Haringey Borough head down from North London. Here Tony looks back at the FA Cup win against Bedfont Sports, the cup draw against Soham Town, the return of a fan favourite, an injury update and a look ahead to Haringey’s visit.
We advanced into the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Sunday with a 2-1 win against Bedfont Sports. Was it a closer game than we expected it to be or is it a case of giving Bedfont credit on the day?
In terms of the way we played we made it a bit harder for ourselves than we needed to if I’m honest. If we look at the game, we went 2-0 up very early and could have got 3 or 4 but then got a bit complacent. That allowed them to come back into it a little bit but we missed chances after that and maybe were a bit sloppy. They got back into it from a set play and made it a bit nervy but I thought we did enough to win it. We watched the game back, we’ve had 26 shots and missed 9 good chances. The players know that we were playing a team from the league below and sometimes you can’t win. We beat Hythe Town 5-0 in the previous round and no-one talks about it, because the Bedfont game was close it becomes conversation and you’re on a hiding for nothing. In the end though it was job done, we are in the hat though we didn’t play great. They came out of it with a lot of credit and we can learn from it.
In some ways the game has summed up our season so far, we’ve had 65% possession again, created lots of chances but what we are doing that we’ve got to stop is giving away too many opportunities in games. Yes, we’re at home and we’re having shots on goal but Bedfont have had six shots on target and we shouldn’t be allowing that. Last season there were games where Bluey was having nothing to do and we need to get back to that. We won’t be able to give chances away like that to the likes of Haringey so we are looking to adjust things for Saturday’s game. We are always learning, they’ve sat through an hour video session, an hour yoga session so they are a great honest group always positive and keen to get always get better. Vinesy said at the end of the session, that it all seems a bit negative talking about not playing well. The fact is we’ve played 7 games this season, we’ve lost one game which was to the league leaders and we hit the crossbar three times in that game so positives outweigh the negatives.
One of the benefits for you must have been the 25 minutes for Ben Mundele, a fan favourite who has returned to the club.
Definitely. Ben is heartbroken, he went to Bury on a 2 year contract and to fulfil his dream of playing professional football and then he has gone training for 6 weeks and been stuck in a B&B. He kept being told it was all going to be sorted and he hadn’t been paid. We just have to give him a bit of time, his shoulders are a little bit down. He hasn’t played any games and just trained up to Sunday’s game. He needs the minutes and probably about 4-5 weeks to get up to speed and maybe looking to see if a Kent League team could perhaps give him some match time to get his minutes up. We spoke and he said that he just wants to get back to enjoying football and we said let’s do that and that’s our aim. He’s come back to a great environment, the boys gave him a tremendous welcome and everyone around the club have said hello so he feels a little bit like he’s come home.
We now face Soham Town Rangers from the Isthmian North which means we would have played a team from the North, South-Central and South-East. What are your thoughts on the draw?
I haven’t seen them but we will have them watched but we are getting to the stage now where teams that get to this round have deserved to do so and must be a decent side. They will be confident and will come down similar in approach to Bedfont, on a hiding to nothing and the pressure will be on us as the home side and higher league team. We need to learn the lessons from Sunday, respect the opponents but we are all excited, especially me as this is the furthest I’ve ever got in the competition. Another home game, I’ll back us against anyone at home including one of the National South sides. We don’t fear anyone, home or away and I actually think the better the opponent, the better we play. It’s another Sunday game, there’s a different atmosphere on a Sunday but I’m delighted as the club have been brilliant in terms of Jay Leader needing an operation, the cup run has helped pay for that otherwise he would have had to wait six months. Maybe we will be a cup side this year, every year there is always one and now it’s a chance to keep putting money back in to the club and if it pays for a couple of seats at the new ground we will be delighted.
Can you keep us up to speed with the injuries situation at the moment!
It’s not good for Tom Phipp or Andre Coker to tell you the truth. Tom, was on the bench on Sunday, he had had the all clear on his hamstring but pulled his calf muscle in the warmup. We not sure how serious it is going to get and we will find out more during the week. Andre, we got him a second opinion, he seemed fine and was ready to start training again but the second opinion wasn’t happy with it and wanted us to get an MRI scan. We did that and it seems he has a small tear in his cartilage. We’re sending him off to a specialist and a decision will be made whether treatment can be done by physio to reattach itself or whether he needs keyhole surgery.
Jay Leader trained on Monday night and did some running. His nose is still very sensitive after his operation so I suspect about 3 weeks away so better news hopefully for Jay.
Haringey Borough are our opponents and they have come a long way since we played them in the Isthmian North in 2015 when they were bottom of the table. What can we expect from Tom Loiziou’s team?
I’ve watched them a few times, they are a good side and I’ve seen them this season already. They’ve got a really good manager who has taken them up to the Isthmian Premier and recruited really well. A good crop of players who will come at you with pace and on the front foot. I think it will be another good game with the two sides going hammer and tongs at each other. That is one thing we provide when you come and watch us, is always entertainment and good attacking football. We’ve got a few ideas for the game as we know we have got to be at our best to beat them as they are one of the best sides in the league and one of the favourites. Obviously if we can win that opens a lot of possibilities in the league and sets a marker as we need to get going and the same goes for next Tuesday’s trip to Bishop’s Stortford. We’ve had injuries and hopefully can get over that but we’ve got good players, they’ve got belief in themselves as we have with them and they are looking forward to the big games and challenges.