Cray Wanderers Women vs London Road FC

Kent FA Plate – 3rd Round – Sunday, 21st January, 2024

Cray Wanderers                                                 3

Kulishko 17, Jackson 45+1, Ashdown 63

London Road                                                       2

Cray Wanderers Women produced possibly their finest performance of the season as they advanced to the last 8 of the Kent FA Plate with victory against SCEWFL Premier London Road.

This was always going to be a tough test and on a challenging windy afternoon at Flamingo Park and SCEWFL Division One West leaders Cray Wanderers had to show their mettle after London Road came from 0-2 down at half time to level but Chloe Ashdown’s classy finish settled the tie.

Cray had advanced past Baypoint and Kings Hill and it looked from the start that London Road would provide a stern test and the no 10 saw an early shot deflected behind for a corner and the Wands had to defend well in the opening minutes. 

Cray came close when from a free kick down the left of the area, Millie Main’s shot was pushed out by the keeper and Jessica Oldfield just couldn’t turn in the rebound and went behind.

London Road then had a strong spell of pressure and the no 10 down the right cut to by the byline and laid the ball across to the no 9 who steered her shot wide of the left post.  Then the no 9 saw a shot pushed out well by the outstanding Sam Sharp and following up before the no 10 could shoot, the ball was put behind for a corner.  

Then down the right a cross into the box for the no 12 was blocked and then turned the ball wide.

Cray though perhaps against the run of play took the lead in the 17th minute when Hrystyna Kulishko was played through down the left of the area and placed the ball with precision past the keeper and into the net.

The Wands now had a spell in the ascendancy and Katie Jackson down the right saw a near post shot turned behind by the keeper.  Then Jackson became the provider with a right wing cross which was steered wide by a header from Oldfield.

London Road were still in the game and an arching header from the no 10 was on target and claimed by Sharp.  At the other end, Jackson set up Annemarie Blanche for a shot that was blocked.

The visitors almost drew level when a fine ball put the no 13 through who looked to lift the ball into the net from 20 yards but was claimed by Sharp.

Cray though were playing well and scored a second a minute into stoppage time when down the right, Danielle Smith played the ball across the box for Jackson who finished well with a powerful finish.

HT:  2-0

The second half was always going to be a challenge with London Road having the more favourable conditions but Cray began well and Oldfield looked to put Jackson through but the keeper did well to claim.

London Road got back into the game after the award of a penalty when a shot from outside the box was deemed to have been handled just inside the area possibly by Smith.  From the spot, the no 7’s shot was pushed superbly onto the bar by Sharp and but following up the ball was bundled in by the no 10 to make it 2-1.

On the hour London Road turned the game around with an equaliser when the no 10 set up the no 13 who lofted in a chipped shot from 25 yards which perhaps was wind assisted and gave Sharp no chance by looping into the net.

Cray though showed tremendous resilience and three minutes later went back in front when Chloe Ashdown down the left showed great composure to slot wide of the keeper and into the bottom right corner.

There was still plenty of time to go but Cray defended very well with Vittoria D’urso and Claire Goldsmith outstanding at the back and Main was exceptional in midfield.

Cray almost added a fourth when Olivia Gregory was played onside and in the box was unlucky not to score but the keeper did well to block the shot.

The Wands showed good game management and defended solidly and broke out well to restrict the visitors to no real chances and Cray advanced to the last 8 with a very gutsy display on a gusty day.  This was a tremendous all round team performance and the challenge would have been just what manager Dean Jarman would have been looking for and the Wands ability to rise to the occasion.

The Wands are next in action in what is sure to be a historic afternoon on Sunday 4th February when Oakwood are the opponents in the first ever game to be played on the new 4G pitch at Flamingo Park and are well worth a watch.

Cray Wanderers: Sam Sharp, Grace Dodds, Vittoria D’Urso, Claire Goldsmith, Danielle Smith, Millie Main, Annemarie Blanche, Hrystyna Kulishko, Katie Jackson, Jessica Oldfield, Chloe Ashdown; Lauren Henry, Louise Chenery, Olivia Gregory, Hannah Atkins, Renette Ofori

Referee: Adam Peters