Buildbase FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round Replay – 1/11/17
Grays Athletic 0
Cray Wanderers 2
Dawson 11, Power 66
Cray Wanderers advanced to the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy after a tremendous performance saw off the challenge of Grays Athletic at the new Parkside stadium.
The Wands needed a stoppage time equaliser on Saturday from Ralique Lawrence to force a replay from 0-2 down but they controlled the replay for the first half hour, took the lead through Lea Dawson’s header in the 11th minute and then produced a strong rearguard action which frustrated the homes side and Cray broke away well in the 66th minute with a superb finish from Michael Power, his 13th goal of the season, soaked up what Grays threw at them and now sets up a meeting with Moneyfields for the very first time. The win stretched Cray’s unbeaten run to 11 matches in league and cups and also maintained their fine defensive record away from home which has seen them concede only two goals in their nine away matches.
Cray manager Tony Russell made two changes to Saturday’s line up with Ralique Lawrence starting in place of the injured Dean Carpenter and Jerome Federico coming in for Timi Osidobu.
In the impressive surroundings of the Parkside ground, Cray started the game extremely well on the 3G surface and had the first shot on goal when Zak Henry hit a shot from thirty yards which went straight to Lamar Johnson.
Grays had played well during the first match but Cray were looking much more composed and played quicker than Saturday and a good patient buildup saw Lawrence set up Barney Williams for another shot which Johnson had to get down to save.
The Wands took the lead in the 11th minute from a free kick awarded for a foul on Ben Mundele, twenty five yards out on the right. Michael Frieter put over the cross to the far post where Lea Dawson rose to plant a header which came back off the post and rolled over the line with Michael Power looking to get a touch and Johnson was unable to keep the ball out to give Cray just the start they were looking for.
Grays had a fair bit of the ball but aside from one corner kick where Richard Halle headed wide they came up against a rock like defence of Jay Leader and Mitchell Nelson.
Cray almost scored again when Frieter set up Michael Power who turned on the edge of the area and forced Johnson to get down to save.
Around the 35 minute mark, Grays started to come into the game and Stanley Muguo set up Kieran Bishop who shot well over.
Then, Adeynika Cole flashed a shot just wide of goal and then from a cross from the left the ball came to James Folkes who fired wide when perhaps he should have got the shot on target.
The home side were just beginning to make inroads so half time came at the right time for Cray with a 1-0 lead at the break.
It seemed like it might be a long second half as Grays begun the second half well and a Folkes cross went across goal and then a cross shot from Tim Monsheju was well claimed by Nick Blue.
The game became more open and Williams set up Lawrence whose shot from just outside the area was held by Johnson.
For Grays a corner from the left was swung into the area and Barry Cogan got a touch to the ball and Power had to clear the ball away. This was followed by a cross from Monsheju going across goal for Grays.
The Wands though were defending well and looking extremely composed and played with great fluency and almost scored a second when Power won the ball on half way and ran on towards goals and from the edge of the area hit a low shot which Johnson saved.
This was followed by an effort from Cole which went over the top and then for Cray, Dawson teed up Lawrence who fired just wide of the left post.
In the 66th minute though Cray scored their second and it was well worth waiting for as Lawrence and Frieter combined to set up Power who from the right edge of the area crashed an unstoppable effort high into the net to give Cray a degree of comfort.
Grays threatened to get back into the game and Monsheju fired a shot wide and then came a big moment of the game as Callum Ibe saw a well struck volley pushed brilliantly over the bar by Blue.
The Wands managed to see the game out very well and Jerome Federico drove a shot into the arms of Johnson from Freddie Parker’s layoff.
In the last few minutes, Grays last chance came in the final minute of the match when Kai Brown perhaps should have done better than fire a shot wide from close range but Cray had done enough to see out the game.
This was a fine team performance against a side which will do well in the Bostik North come the end of the season. Special mention for the centre halves especially Jay Leader who absolutely superb, won every header, made tackles and blocks and came forward well. The midfield were very good too especially Dawson and Henry whilst Frieter had a productive game and the Wands looked a very good team, high in confidence and produced a thoroughly professional display to reach the 2nd Qualifying Round for the second successive season.
The Wands now face three consecutive away games at South Park and Hastings United in the league before meeting Moneyfields on 11th November.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson (Capt,), Zak Henry, Michael Frieter, Michael Power (Freddie Parker, 75), Ralique Lawrence, Jerome Federico (Kyron Lightfoot, 85): Subs: Marcus Evans, Timi Osidobu, Karl Dent
Grays Athletic: Lamar Johnson (Capt.), Jack Fowler, Samuel Cross, Barry Cogan (Sulley Zuhdu, 67), Richard Halle, Stanley Muguo, James Folkes, Adeyinka Cole, Kieran Bishop (Callum Ibe, H/T), Tim Monsheju, Joao Carlos (Kai Brown, 72): Subs@ Ryan Mahal, Glenn Poole
Referee: Stephen Bates
Assistant Referees: Gary Baker, Christopher Cooper