U13s Gates Railings South East – League Cup – 2nd Round
Cray Wanderers U13s 2
Ebbsfleet United U13s 4
After Extra Time
The Cray Wanderers U13s were knocked out of the League Cup but only after an almighty struggle against a very strong Ebbsfleet United side coming from two down at half time to take the game to extra time.
Ebbsfleet had looked assured after two goals before half time gave Cray a mountain to climb but to their credit they stuck in the game and goals from Harmony Okwumo and Frank Maciocia made it 2-2 at full time. Ebbsfleet though took the lead right at the start of the extra period and grabbed a fourth early in the second period to finally win the day.
Scott Butler and Andy McPherson’s side have made a solid start to their Central Division season and have certainly put in the game time after beating Hastings United on penalties in the previous round.
Ebbsfleet started the game very confidently and twice the no 8 fired just over the top and but for a fine performance in goal from Connor Cooper the Fleet would surely have scored early in the goal. The Cray keeper did well to keep out a near post shot from the no 18 and would deny him on a couple more occasions.
Cray’s best early chance came from a left wing cross which fell at the far post to Tommy Brown who just couldn’t get a firm connection and the keeper gathered on his line. Then a fine run from Tommy Franklin ended with a shot which narrowly went past the right post.
Ebbsfleet though went back on the attack and the no 7 drove a cross shot just wide down the left and the no 6 hit a shot from 30 yards which was saved by Cooper.
Then Copper excelled with a fine double save first to deny the no 18 and from the follow-up from the same player saving at the near post.
This was followed by another superb save after a cross from the no 7 was blocked out to the no 18 who again was denied by a fine reflex stop by Cooper pushing the ball out.
A goal was coming for the visitors and did so, on 26 minutes as the no 18 again was denied by a parried save from Cooper but the ball came out to the no 2 who from 20 yards whipped the ball back towards goal and into the bottom left corner.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 with a rather unlucky goal as the no 7 down the left bent a cross towards goal which was deflected into the net by Jameel Buhari.
Half Time: 0-2
It looked like the game was over for Cray as Ebbsfleet seemingly were in control and came close to going three nil up but for another great save from Cooper again denying the no 18 after a hooked volley was on target and pushed against the crossbar and away. Then efforts from the no 2 and 7 went just over the bar and it looked like it was game over.
However, there was a lot of fight and quality in the Cray side and out of nowhere produced a stirring fightback to rock Ebbsfleet back.
Firstly, a fine pass from midfield from Riley Butler found Harmony Okwumo who strode on and after his first effort was saved followed up the rebound by calmly slotting the ball into the net from 12 yards to put Cray back into it.
Now it was a different game and Eduard Mare shot just over the bar and then Butler found Franklin inside the area and his near post shot was saved by the keeper.
Then with about seven minutes to go Cray drew level when Franklin split the defence wide open with a pass which was latched on to by Frankie Macioca who drilled home a superb finish to make it 2-2.
Before the end, Franklin saw a curling shot saved and for Ebbsfleet the no 6 curled a free kick over.
Full Time: 2-2
Extra time of five minutes each way began in dramatic style with less than a minute gone, Ebbsfleet went ahead with a very fortuitous goal after a ball over the top was cleared away by Cray but the ball ricocheted off the no 14 and landed into the back of the net.
It was going to be hard for Cray to get back into it after that but they nearly drew level again when from a free kick down the right Teddy Gatsell’s cross was headed just over by Okwumo.
Into the final five minutes and another good shot from Franklin from distance drew a save from the Ebbsfleet keeper.
Howver the game was all but decided with a fourth goal for Ebbsfleet when from a left wing free kick the cross was floated to the far post where it was deflected off a Cray head to the no 14 who bundled the ball into the net on the goalline.
That would prove to be the final action of a tremendous match and very sporting with hardly a bad tackle and Cray can be very proud of the way they came back into the game and give the more fancied Ebbsfleet side a real fright.
Team: Connor Cooper, Teddy Gatsell, Jameel Buhari, Eduard Mare, Archie Washington, Tommy Brown, Frankie Macioca, Riley Butler, Tommy Franklin, Charlie McPherson, Romaro Williams; Ruari Woodcock, Harmony Okwumo, Corey Holden
Meanwhile, the Kent Youth League Cray Wanderers U14s went top of the Central Division table in some style with a 6-1 win at Holland & Blair. Goals from Callum Ellington, Ronnie Roberts, Victor Daniels, Ellis Newbold and new signing Louie Johnson with 2 goals.
The U16s were given a bye in the Kent Cup after Folkestone Invicta couldn’t get a side out so advance into the 3rd Round.
In the Selkent League the U13s Lions (who are unbeaten in the league) had an outstanding win in the Preliminary Round of the Cup with an 11-2 victory at Dulwich Village White.
The U13s Sharks who have made a good start to the U13a Division were beaten 0-5 at league leaders FC Tempo who have won eight out of eight in the league,
The U14s were beaten 1-3 at second placed Woolwich Lions but the U12s Sharks stay second in the U12A division after an excellent 5-2 win at Erith Town. The U12s Piranhas drew 3-3 at Marathon Lions.
Elsewhere the U10s Lions were beaten 1-4 at home to Crayford while the U10s lost 1-3 at Long Lane. The U9s Sharks picked up a very good win 3-0 against Welling Youth to round off another busy day from which there is much to be proud of from our teams today.