FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round – Saturday 26th October, 2019  

Maldon & Tiptree                                         3

Parish 44, 52, Slew 79

 Cray Wanderers                                            0

Cray Wanderers FA Trophy ambitions came to an end in the 1st Qualifying Round as this season’s cup specialists Maldon & Tiptree clinched victory with three well taken goals to win what began as a tight cup tie on a very wet and gloomy afternoon.

There were very few chances in the first half as both teams looked to get a foothold in the game but just before half time the Jammers took the lead when Charlee Hughes’ right wing cross was turned home by Danny Parish.  Seven minutes into the second half Maldon & Tiptree increased their lead when Parish finished impressively, lofting the ball over Lewis Carey to give Cray a uphill task to get back into it.  Cray tried in vain to get back into it but the game was sealed for Maldon & Tiptree in the 79th minute when Parish became provider to set up a tap in for Jorome Slew.

Cray are unbeaten in the league away from home and headed to Essex for the first time this season in good form after picking up seven points out of nine on the road in the last three games.  There was just one change to the starting lineup from the side which picked up an excellent point at Horsham on Tuesday night with Barney Williams returning for Ben Mundele.

The outlook for the afternoon weather wise wasn’t pleasant and certainly the conditions turned for the worse after 2pm and the game began with murky, grey skies and a stiffish breeze.

The match began a little slowly with both sides looking to play good football but the game was stopped regularly for fouls or minor infringements preventing any real flow.

Maldon & Tiptree had won their first 16 games of the season and are already through to the 1st Round of the FA Cup and await a trip to Leyton Orient.  They also have already made it through two Preliminary rounds in the FA Trophy against Felixstowe and Walton United and Cray Valley PM scoring ten goals in the process.  They just about shaded the opening exchanges, winning an early corner down the right and Laste Dombaxe’s cross into the area met the head of Danny Parish but was blocked.  This was followed by a half opening with Charlee Hughes shooting over the bar from just outside the area.

Then came the best early chance when Hughes put Parish through down the right of the area but his effort was blocked by the legs of Lewis Carey.

Cray did break out down the right and Barney Williams found Tom Murphy who made a good run towards the edge of the area and his shot was well held by keeper Ben McNamara.  Cray then won back to back corners as they began to settle to the game.

However, the Wands had to make an early change and Andre Coker was replaced by Jerome Federico in the 18th minute.  Federico made an instant impact down the right finding Williams who zipped a ball across the area where no-one could get on the end of the cross.

Maldon & Tiptree came close to scoring when a ball across from the right found Stephane Ngamvoulou whose shot was blocked by Tom Phipp and as the ball came back into the area Hughes shot wide.

For Cray down the left Murphy’s cross into the area was glanced across goal by Joe Taylor while for the Jammers, Dombaxe’s cross was glanced off target by Hughes.

As a scrappy half was coming to a close the home side went in front in the 44th minute when down the right, the ball came to Hughes who put an accurate ball across into the area where Parish reacted quickest to steer the ball into the net for the 13th goal of the season for the former Thamesmead Town and Ashford Town striker and Maldon & Tiptree just about deserved to be in front at the break.

Half Time: 1-0

Cray were looking to get back into the game quickly but it was the home side who came out the traps quickest and from a free kick 20 yards from goal, Dombaxe’s shot came back off the defensive wall.

The next goal in the game looked like being decisive in such a tight match and in the 52nd minute, Maldon & Tiptree scored a second goal when Ngamvoulou’s ball through down the left found Parish who broke into the area and coolly lifted the ball over Carey and dropped into the net to give Maldon & Tiptree a two goal lead.

This clicked Cray into life and almost pulled a goal back when down the right, Williams who had a very good game for Cray burst forward and sent a cross-shot fractionally wide of the left post.

Then down the left hand side, Tom Carlse got forward and cut into the area and his ball across was deflected off a defender behind for a corner.  Maldon & Tiptree almost grabbed a third when down the right, William Cracknell’s cross was steered wide by Jorome Slew.

With 25 minutes to go Cray created their best opening of the game when a neat passing move saw Karl Dent find Federico and his ball across from the right was hit first time by Taylor but with the keeper beaten the ball went agonisingly past the right post.

That was Cray’s best chance to forge a way back into the game and Maldon & Tiptree took more of a grip after that with the game still being rather scrappy and never really hit any great heights as a cup tie.

With the game drifting a little in the rain Maldon & Tiptree grabbed a third goal in the 79th minute to practically seal the tie when the ball was worked down the right and Parish did well by the byline to play a good ball across into the six yard box to Slew who tapped in from about four yards out.

Cray had worked hard but couldn’t create a real opening in order to get a consolation and towards the end Dombaxe shot saw a shot deflected behind for a corner and from a free kick down the left of the area saw his effort come back off the wall and behind for a corner..

In the end Maldon & Tiptree had done enough over the 90 minutes to merit the victory and look a side full of confidence stemming from their excellent winning start to the season in the Isthmian North, FA Cup and Trophy and will fancy their chances on this form of perhaps joining the Wands in the Isthmian Premier next season and further progress in the Trophy.

On Cray’s part they have had a tough run of travelling and away games and perhaps on this occasion were not at their usual fluent best but there is so much ability and togetherness in the team they will surely bounce back.  Cray return to action on Wednesday night in the Kent Senior Cup as VCD Athletic are the visitors to Hayes Lane before league action returns against Worthing on 2nd November.

Maldon & Tiptree:  Ben McNamara, William Cracknell, Al-Amin Kazeem, Laste Dombaxe, Robert Gridlestone, Quba Gordon (Lance Akins, 72), Danny Parish, Tyrique Hyde, Charlee Hughes (Sam Coomes, 83), Jorome Slew, Stephane Ngamvoulou: Subs:Joseph Wicks, Hamza Kaid, Luke O’Reilly

Booked:          Dombaxe      

Cray Wanderers: Lewis Carey, Barney Williams (Capt.), Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Charlie Allen, Bradley Pritchard, Tom Phipp (Karl Dent, 60), Tom Murphy (Lee Lewis, 66), Andre Coker (Jerome Federico, 18), Joe Taylor:  Subs:  Ben Mundele, Charles Etumnu, Geofrey Okonkwo, Grant Hall

Booked:  Phipp, Dent

Referee:  Russell Jones         

Assistants:  James Desouza & Elliot Mayer    

 Attendance – 145