Cray Wanderers 3-3 Carshalton Athletic - I wasn't prepared to sit there at home and watch someone do to us what we do to other teams, says Tony Russell

Sunday 09th October 2016
Cray Wanderers 3 – 3 Carshalton Athletic
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 09/10/2016 15:00

The Buildbase FA Trophy Preliminary Round
Sunday 9th October 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

CRAY WANDERERS manager Tony Russell admits his opposite number Peter Adeniyi posed him questions during this high-quality game of football in The FA Trophy Preliminary Round.

Not only was this a six-goal thriller, which was watched by Cray Wanderers’ biggest crowd of the season, but both sides entertained the crowd of 187 at Hayes Lane with a sublime passing game.

Cray Wanderers went into the game sitting in seventh-place in the Ryman League Division One South table on 21 points from 11 games, while Adeniyi’s side arrived in Bromley sitting one place higher on 22 points from 10 outings.

But this game would have graced the Final at Wembley Stadium and it’s very rare when you get both sides playing a Tiki-taka eye-pleasing brand of football.

Cray Wanderers drew first blood, ironically from the first long ball played in the game. Danny Haynes latched onto it and slotted in.

But Carshalton Athletic played a bright game of football similar to their highlighter pen all-yellow strip that they wore at Hayes Lane and went into the break with a 2-1 lead.

Winger Ricky Korboa scored one of the best well-worked goals that the iconic Hayes Lane stadium has seen in 78 years, before Brendan Murphy-McVey smashed in his third goal of the season.

Cray Wanderers levelled through former Southend United winger Brandon Scott, before Haynes drilled in his seventh goal of the season.

But a mistake from keeper Nick Blue gifted Carshalton Athletic a late equaliser, accepted by Korboa, netting his 14th goal of the season to earn a replay at on the 3G pitch at Colston Avenue on Thursday night.

“I thought we done more than enough, second half, to win it. We were the only side in it at the end once we got to grips to what we were trying to do,” said Russell during the post-match press conference.

“Bluey has just held his hand up and apologised to the boys. That’s the life of a goalkeeper sometimes. We’ve all watched many times Bluey’s an excellent goalkeeper but today he had to put his hand up and all the boys are as good as gold.

“It’s just disappointing, we’ve got a replay now on Thursday, so we’ll go again Thursday.”

Carshalton Athletic copied Cray Wanderers brand of football of playing the ball out from the back.

“I said someone’s going to have to give up the ball because I’ve watched them and I’ve watched us and you can’t both have the thing,” said Russell.

“Someone had to have the ball. I’d like to think we edged it in possession and in terms of chances in the game.

“Me and Paul Lorraine drove down to Herne Bay on Tuesday. We had them in on Thursday and we done a good session on them.  It was all about without the ball. We felt today whoever was better without the ball would win the game but we also said they press quite high, which leaves their two centre halves exposed so we carried that threat.”

But Cray Wanderers’ central defender Paul Lorraine played the first long ball of the game to put Haynes through the middle but the striker drilled his 30-yard dipping drive just over the bar inside the opening eight minutes.

Cray Wanderers were denied by a fine double save from dimulative goalkeeper Alexandros Kozakis at his near post.

Haynes’ played in Scott in behind the Carshalton back four and his first shot was blocked by the keeper’s legs, who made a second save at his near post to deny the winger.

A driving run from Korboa saw him ease past Solomon Taiwo to reach the edge of the Cray Wanderers box and his deflected shot forced Nick Blue into making a low save to his left.

Blue pulled off a brilliant save in the 20th minute as the Robbins enjoyed a good spell of pressure.

The impressive Korboa ran with the ball for 40-yards, cutting in before laying the ball off to Murphy-McVey, who drilled a right-footed shot towards the top left-hand corner, which Blue dived high to his right to hold onto the ball.

Russell said: “I think it sort of went clumpy.  We started better for the first 25-30 minutes. We controlled the first 25-30 minutes, everyone stuck to their jobs and we were containing them.

“They’re a good side so they’re always going to have the odd chances but I felt in control with the ball, we was in control as well.”

Carshalton Athletic were dominating possession and the game turned into a tactical chess match.

But Cray Wanderers grabbed the lead in the 27th minute through one long ball.

Left-back Jeysiva Sivapathasundaram won the ball on the edge of his penalty area, drove forward, looked up and hit a long ball over the top of Mekhail McLaughlin’s head to put Haynes through on goal down the right.

He cut into the penalty area and stroked his right-footed shot across the keeper into the bottom far corner to score from 14-yards.

“I wouldn’t say long ball, I’d say long pass. He’s deliberately picked him out you know,” added Russell.

“We knew they’d press and when they press they push in and push in and that leaves isolation of centre halves and what we wanted was isolation.

“Danny Haynes, at this level of football, is a superb player and when he gets one-on-one and if he gets on the wrong side of you, you ain’t catching him! He’s the quickest thing I’ve ever seen so he got the wrong side and he finished it well.”

Carshalton Athletic produced a goal of high-quality to deservedly equalise in the 37th minute – with a goal that Russell and his side would have been proud of.

The Robbins played the ball in and around their penalty area, just like Cray Wanderers, and they waited for the right moment to play a killer pass.

Murphy-McVey made the run, fed left-back Bobby Price, who collected the ball at his feet on the edge of the box and he slipped in Korboa, who slotted his shot into the bottom right-corner – past the advancing Blue – from 10-yards.

“First of all, congratulations Carshalton on a good goal,” said Russell.

“Sometimes as managers you sit here and moan and say you should’ve done this and should’ve done that. It was a good goal. It frustrates me when we score a good goal and I read the manager say ‘we were rubbish, we could’ve done that’, but good goal, good goal, first and foremost.”

Russell pointed the finger of blame to Carshalton’s first two goals to midfielder Taiwo, who was struggling with a back injury.

“He stopped picking his man up, it started coming undone. For 15 minutes they got on top and they punished us as bad as well,” said Russell.

“He’s just tweaked his back. That’s the one thing I lost my head a little bit at half-time. I’m sick of it. It’s just costing us all season. I know injuries are a part of the game but I don’t know if we just get people who are injury prone.”

The highly-rated Sivapathasundaram played another ball over the top to release Haynes down the left channel and the striker cut in and his drive was brilliantly blocked by the diving Kozakis, sticking out a strong hand.

But instead of taking the lead, Cray Wanderers found themselves 2-1 down in the 41st minute.

Sekou Kaba played the ball in behind Sivapathasundaram and Jay Leader to put Murphy-McVey in on goal and Blue went to ground early, stuck out his left arm but couldn’t prevent the ball screaming over him at his near post.

“Good player, real, real good player, one of the better players I’ve seen at this level, excellent young player,” Russell said of Murphy-McVey.

“I watched him on Tuesday and I thought he was a bit of a show pony. It was hard because Herne Bay just sat off them so they were unopposed really. He’s a good player, he’s done well.  Sol hasn’t gone with his man and he’s scored, again, good run, good finish.”

Russell revealed that he asked Taiwo whether he was fit to continue but after Carshalton scored twice in four minutes, admitted “Sol just let the team down a little bit for the first two goals,” and hauled him off three minutes before half-time.

Russell spoke about his rallying half-time team talk at the break.

“It was a lively half-time talk. There was a lot being said,” he said.

“As I got in there, there was an inquest going on, everyone was talking, it was constructive but for five minutes there was too many people talking and we got into the them.

“We just said about people letting their mates down. We dug people out – I’m not going to dig them out to you – but we dug them out as individuals as well.

“We felt we were carrying three without the ball. We questioned them. I wasn’t happy and then I just said to them ‘you’ve got 10 minutes to stop letting your mates down!’

“Some of them were questioning it and that was a problem. Either you believe in what I’m asking you to do, or you don’t and you don’t play!

“I said to them it’s not complete panic stations because we’ve had two one-on-ones. We were well in the game but we just lost our way for 15 minutes because people stopped doing their jobs.”

Carshalton left-back Bobby Price cut in towards the edge of the box but his shot bounced past the near post after 90 seconds.

But Russell’s threat had the desired effect on his players as they equalised in the 51st minute – seconds after right-back Jai McKinlay was replaced by Ben Mundele, a winger, who slotted in at full-back but done his best work further upfield.

Sean Roberts’ crossfield pass was missed by a stretching Lea Dawson, but  Mundele showed desire to keep the ball in play on the flank and charge up the pitch.

Once inside the final third, he swept the ball inside to fellow sub Lee Prescott, who rolled the ball to Karl Dent in space on the left.  Dent cut the ball onto his right foot and floated in a deep cross towards the far post and Scott powered his header into the near corner, despite the keeper getting his left hand to the ball.

Russell said: “I just felt that without the ball we could get at them more and Jai’s filled in, he’s not a right-back and I just thought he was so reluctant to come forward. I wanted to pose them some problems going forward and I put Ben on and he played a part in the equaliser.

“Ben posed another threat in the final third. He went past his man and as soon as you go past someone, someone else has got to mark you and come off their man. It gives people more space so you’re always happy as a manager when you make those subs and it comes good.”

Blue made a fine save to deny Carshalton Athletic in the 66th minute.

Korboa played the ball in from the right with a low pass and quiet striker Joshua Phillips’ dinked shot was destined for the bottom far corner, if it wasn’t for Blue flicking the ball around the post.

Russell said: “The problem you’ve got is when you’re fully committed to it like that then you leave yourselves exposed at the back because you’ve got to push your centre halves in to midfield.  You’re always going to carry that threat.

“But what I wasn’t prepared to sit there at home and watch someone do to us what we do to them (other teams).

Blue then got down low beside his post to deny Miller curing a left-footed shot towards the bottom far corner after the winger cut in towards the corner of the Cray Wanderers box.

Cray Wanderers thought they had scored the winner with 13 minutes of this thrilling game remaining.

Roberts played a sublime diagonal pass that cut open Price and McLaughlin to put Haynes in behind, he cut inside and drilled his right-footed shot across the keeper into the far corner from 12-yards.

Russell said: “I thought we were excellent second half. I just thought we pressed the life out of them. We stopped them playing as much as you’re going to stop them playing.  I thought only one team were going on to win it. I thought we had them.  I thought they ran out of ideas a little bit.

“We were knocking on the door and I was adamant that there was only going to be one winner.

“We’re 3-2 up and then I just thought I was going to bring on our left-back (Timmi Osibodu) just to sit in front of the back four and I was going to take Karl Dent off and then I thought am I going to invite them on?”

Roberts won the ball inside his own half and fed Haynes who raced from the half-way line into the penalty area but Kozakis made a vital save with his body, the ball bouncing behind for a corner.

“Danny’s gone clean through again, just him and the keeper, score that and it wraps the tie you,” added Russell. 

Sivapathasundaram floated in Cray’s fourth and final corner of the game (Carshalton Athletic had four corners too) but neither Leader or Dawson could rise to get their header on target.

Carshalton Athletic grabbed an 85th minute equaliser, courtesy of a big error of judgement from Blue.

Murphy-McVey hit the ball over the top and Blue came out of his penalty area but failed to get to the ball and Korboa nipped in and capped off an impressive performance by lobbing the ball over the keeper’s head into the empty net.

Russell said: “I couldn’t see them scoring if I’m honest. I thought they ran out of ideas and the goal’s an absolute disaster!

“It’s a nothing ball, a nothing ball. When we pressed him he just banged it upfield. The ball’s in the air and I thought Siva’s going to deal with it and Bluey shouts “keepers!”, Siva leaves it and Bluey’s never getting there. The guy’s nipped in first and lobbed him. 

“It was a bit of a head loss from Bluey’s point of view.  I’m not going to kill Bluey, I love him as a goalkeeper and as a person. For me he’s been unbelievable. You can count his mistakes on one hand over the three years I’ve had him so I’m not going to sit here and kill him but no-one will be more disappointed than Nick Blue. I know that the boys love him, I love him. We move on.”

Kozakis ensured his side had a second bite of the cherry when he made a low save to his right to deny Scott at the end.

These two sides will meet each other twice in the space of two days because Carshalton return to Hayes Lane next Saturday for a league game.

Russell is keen to not let Adeniyi get the better of him tactically in Thursday night’s replay.

He said: “I’m going to go away now and think about it.  The one thing I love about football is I’ve never copied anyone or I don’t go to coaching seminars. If someone poses me a problem or stops me from doing something, I go away and think about it and I come up with something and then I go and coach it.  I’m going to go away and I’ll digest this and come up with a game plan for Thursday.

“Carshalton are completely different to what you’ll play against in non-league so they’ll ask you different questions – a bit like we ask I suppose.

“But what I’m most happy about is we got asked questions, we were 2-1 down and we got into them at half-time and gave them information. We’ve come out and we dominated the second half. I know they’re down but that’s a great confidence boost to show when we lean on them and we put it on them, then I back us.

“I don’t want to get carried away, there’s no right way or wrong way, it’s the way I like to play football and clearly Peter likes doing the same.

“I think it will be another good game. They’re a good side. I like Peter as a manager as well. It was played in the right spirit as well. It was a football fest.”

The winners of Thursday night’s replay will host Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central side Marlow on 29 October, after they came away from Ryman League Division One North side Brentwood Town with a 2-1 win.

“I’ve never won a game in this competition, ever,” added Russell.

“I won a cup at Erith Town in my first season as a manager, since that game going on for four or five seasons I’ve won three FA Cup games and that’s it!

“It’s embarrassing! I think I’m an alright manager but I need to have a better record in cups after winning three games in five years in The FA Cup and that’s it.  I’ve never won a FA Trophy game, never won a Kent Senior Cup game, I’ve never entered the Ryman League Cup so we never won one of them either.  I used to laugh about it but it’s rubbish for me and I need to address that!”

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Jai McKinlay (Ben Mundele 50), Jeysiva Sivapathasundaram, Jay Leader, Paul Lorraine, Lea Dawson, Solomon Taiwo (Lee Prescott 42), Sean Roberts, Danny Haynes, Karl Dent, Brandon Scott.
Subs: Max Williams, Bradley Woods-Garness, Timmi Osibodu,

Goals: Danny Haynes 27, 77, Brandon Scott 51

Booked: Lea Dawson 81, Ben Mundele 90

Carshalton Athletic: Alexandros Kozakis, Richard Ismail, Bobby Price, Matthew Males (Peter Adeniyi 75), Jahmahl King, Mekhail McLaughlin, Mickel Miller, Sekou Kaba, Joshua Phillips, Brendan Murphy-McVey, Ricky Korboa.
Subs: Paris Hamilton-Downes, Kingsley Aikhionbare

Goals: Ricky Korboa 37, 84, Brendan Murphy-McVey 41

Attendance: 187
Referee: Mr Scott Williams (Hackney, London E8)
Assistants: Mr Paul Stratton (Upminster, Essex) & Mr Rhys Battye (Thurrock, Essex)

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