Cray Wanderers 0-1 Hythe Town - I was very pleased with the effort and how we went about our business tonight, says Hythe Town boss Clive Cook

Wednesday 21st September 2016
Cray Wanderers 0 – 1 Hythe Town
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 21/09/2016 19:45

Ryman League Division One South
Wednesday 21st September 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

HYTHE TOWN boss Clive Cook says his players responded to being knocked out of The FA Cup at the weekend by claiming a big three points at Cray Wanderers.

The Cannons were dumped out of The FA Cup in the Second Qualifying Round at the weekend by surprise package Walton Casuals 4-2 at the weekend, but they bounced back through Alfie May’s eighth goal of the season three minutes before the break at Hayes Lane tonight.

“Very pleased, against a very good side.  They play some decent football, but we were decent tonight,” said Cook after his side’s fourth league win of the season.

“I thought we defended very well. The work-rate was exceptional and we went to the game plan, very good, very pleased.

“Considering we had some personnel missing I was very pleased with the effort and how we went about our business tonight.”

Cray Wanderers manager Tony Russell was clearly unhappy after his side suffered their first league defeat of the season at Hayes Lane.

“Same problem, different day. Unfortunately, that sums us up all season,” said Russell.

“I didn’t think we were great today but we just can’t put the ball in the net and we could be here all night and we wouldn’t have scored mate and that’s us mate, we just haven’t got that quality in the final third.

“We were poor first half, really poor and I have just asked Bluey how many saves he’s made, I think he’s had one with his feet. 

“We’ve had two people making their debut for us and Dean Carpenter came in because we’ve got so many injuries. We’ve got six out, which is not ideal considering the way we try to do it.

“It looked like a team that’s just been put together! No-one knew what they were doing. It was a bit predictable and shaky at times.

“Paul Lorraine goes off injured to add to our already injuries, he’s had a hamstring problem, he did it at Ramsgate and it came on again.

“It’s hard when you lose because you try to be negative but give Hythe credit because they came out bright and they were the better side for the first 20 minutes.”

A crowd of 151 watched a high-quality first half, in which Hythe Town were the better side.

Russell said: “I thought they edged it, not in chances, I thought we had the better chances than them but I thought we never got going. We never controlled the game, it was a bit like you attack, we attack, but I thought we were poor if I’m honest from my perspective, especially for the first 25-30 minutes, I thought we were very poor.”

Cray Wanderers created the first opening after only 144 seconds when winger Brandon Scott cut inside and his gentle shot from 25-yards bounced into the hands of visiting keeper Joe Mant.

Hythe Town’s opening effort arrived shortly afterwards when May’s right-footed dipping free-kick from 30-yards was palmed over the crossbar by Nick Blue’s outstretched right-hand.

Russell said: “They came out bright. I thought we came out looking like the team’s been put together. We were a little bit all over the place. Yes, I was frustrated.”

Cook said: “Just pleased all round, the chances we made in the first half, I was very pleased with that. I think we limited them to not many chances in the first half and we could’ve gone more than one up going into half-time.”

That was the start of a good spell of dominance from Hythe Town, who pressed the Cray Wanderers defence like a pack of wolves to prevent the home side playing the ball out from the back.

Keeper Blue passed the ball to Paul Lorraine, who lost the ball to Frankie Sawyer, who couldn’t get his shot away from inside the box as Blue smothered the ball at his feet.

“We know they come out from their full-backs and their centre halves,” added Cook, who got his tactics spot on.

Russell added: “To be fair, people press us all the time. We work on that. I almost want people to press us because we then get out quicker.”

May’s initial shot was blocked by Jay Leader, his second effort from 25-yards curled just around the far post after 13 minutes.

Cray Wanderers took 25 minutes to get going and Mant was forced into making a couple of saves within a couple of minutes.

Debutant left-back Jeysiva Sivapathasundaram fed the ball to fellow debutant, striker Bradley Woods-Garness, who cut the ball back to Scott, who twisted and turned his marker inside the box before steering his low shot from 10-yards towards the near post, which was saved.

Woods-Garness then threaded the ball through to Scott and Mant used his feet to make another save at his near post as the winger went for goal from 12-yards.

“He had a great game today Manty, but he’s young, he’s learning, he takes criticism well. He played very well first half and second,” said Cook.

Russell added: “We done him twice, three times in the space of ten minutes. The goalie saved it. He kept going to the near post all the time and that’s what I’m saying to him, the goalie’s giving you the whole goal and you’re going to the near post!

“When we played Three Bridges (winning 3-2) we missed so many chances. Today, I wouldn’t say they missed clear cut chances but you see the whites of the goalies eyes, you’ve got to do better than that!”

Hythe Town, who play a 4-3-3 formation, should have called Blue into making a save when left-back Josh Burchell swept a 40-yard diagonal ball into the Wands penalty area.  The quiet Kenny Pogue decided to head the ball back across the goal towards Sawyer but the Cray keeper easily gathered.

Charlie Webster, who was also kept quiet, then played May in behind but his left-footed shot was blocked by Blue’s legs and the ball came out to Burchell who hit his first time drive over the crossbar from 30-yards.

“Being honest, I thought in the first half we were the better side. I thought they were the better side in the second half by a long way, we just dug in second half,” said Cook.

Cray Wanderers were to be denied in the 37th minute when a driving run forward from their right-back Adetayo Osifuwa saw him pass to Sean Roberts, who cut inside and his curler seemed destined to creep into the far corner from just outside the right-hand corner of the box.  Somehow the ball didn’t kiss the back of the net.

Russell said: “It was cleared off the line, beat the goalkeeper, the defender cleared it off the line!

“At the moment for us it ain’t happening. I thought if we’d get one we’d go on but the longer it went on, obviously giving them something to hold onto, they just ran the clock down and it becomes a frustrating day but even second half we had enough chances.”

Cook admitted: “Sometimes you have to ride lady luck. I think we had a bit of luck tonight. They’re decent, they’re decent going forward as well, so we had a bit of lady luck tonight.”

Mant was called into action again when he pushed over Haynes’ left-footed drive from 30-yards after Woods-Garness found his new team-mate in space in a central position.

Hythe Town grabbed what turned out to be the winning goal with the clock showing 41:00 – moments after Lea Dawson headed a deep corner from Sivapathasundaram against the near post.

Burchell made progress to reach the left by-line and he wrapped his left boot around the ball to whip in a great cross towards the near post, which was punched away by Blue.  The ball fell at May’s feet and he swept his left-footed shot across the keeper to find the bottom left-hand corner from 12-yards.

“You can’t replace a predator, a goalscorer and he’s worked his socks off tonight,” hailed Cook.

“I’m so over the moon with him. He doesn’t just score goals, his work-rate and his tracking back was unbelievable tonight.

“I did say he’s a 30-goal-a-season boy, that’s what he is and that’s what he’ll get.”

Russell bemoaned the chance when his captain struck the woodwork.

“Another chance! For a half we didn’t play particularly well we should’ve come out with a goal.”

Russell also reflected on May’s winning strike.

“We pinned him in second half, what do we have? Sixty-seventy percent of the ball, chances but that’s the difference between a goalscorer’s instincts. We don’t score goals like that and Alfie done well. He sensed where it’s going, he’s read it, he's got in and scored and that’s what he does. Alf’s very good at that at this level of football. He’s very good at that, he’s scored a lot of goals.

“I had Alf at VCD, he’s good at that. It’s hard to say that separated the sides because if you look at the amount of chances we’ve created but at the end of the day you could have all the ball in the world, you can do all the passes but the idea of the game is to get the ball in that white thing at the end.”

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the interval.

Russell revealed: “I was angry. I thought we were carrying four or five. I was trying to organise the best I can but I thought the bottom line as individuals we just didn’t play well enough.

“I questioned about their desire because if you want to do anything in football you’ve got to be better than your opponent. If you don’t believe that, you’re wasting everybody’s time.

“I said to them it’s all very negative, you’ve got to take the hand break off. It’s about going sideways. I want them to build it up but once it’s ready to step in do that pass. There were too many people taking the easy option out, just going sideways rather than be brave and backing themselves.”

Cook replied: “Keep doing the same things, keep the work-rate, keep doing what we said our plan was and that was not let them out. We worked hard not to do that and I just felt same as usual, just keep doing the same things.”

The second half failed to replicate the high quality of the first.  Cook was forced into making a change and captain Craig Cloke was feeling the effects of a sore kidney so Dave Cook slotted in beside Nick Reeves at the heart of defence and Chris Saunders came off the bench for a midfield role.

Russell could not believe how his side were not level inside the opening five minutes.

Sivapathasundaram whipped in seven quality corner kicks during the game and his sixth should have been headed home at the far post by Leader, but somehow the ball whistled across the goal and past the far post from a couple of yards out.

“How did he miss that? I have no idea! I have no idea how he’s missed that! You’re looking at it thinking it’s not going to be our night.”

When asked about Sivapathasundaram’s debut, Russell replied: “He hasn’t even been training, we only signed him today. I think it’s hard for anyone to come straight into us with the way we play. He needs some training sessions but I thought he done alright. His delivery was unbelievable from set-pieces.”

Hythe Town’s defending was immense and Dave Cook made a vital block to deny Roberts after Scott cut the ball back from the left by-line.

Jai McKinley, who came in to replace Paul Lorraine at the heart of Cray Wanderers defence, played the ball down the line and Woods-Garness’ powerful angled drive drifted through the air and wide.

Hythe Town missed a glorious chance to kill the game off on the hour-mark.

Leader intended to pass the ball back to Blue but May intercepted the ball inside the box and skipped past the keeper, but instead of shooting his angled was getting all the more tighter and this allowed Sivapathasundaram to clear the ball to safety at the near post – an impressive debut from the former Grays Athletic and Leatherhead left-back.

“There were a few chances there tonight, as you said, we’ve got to score and that’s probably been our fault this season,” admitted Cook.

“We get some good opportunities and we’re not actually putting them away – but they will come, it will come, it’s only early doors, only seven league games into the season.”

Hythe Town were awarded a free-kick in the 69th minute and Sawyer played the ball along the deck to May, who set up Sawyer but his first time drive from 25-yards sailed over the crossbar.

Haynes cracked a left-footed drive, similar to Woods-Garness from the right, which also drifted towards the corner flag than the top far corner of the net.

Hythe Town turned defence into attack and they should have wrapped the game up.

Reeves took a yellow card for the team as he fouled Woods-Garness as he was threatening to break away from the half-way line.

Cook said: “What we felt was if we could be solid and the front three stopped them playing, we felt we had enough in the side to get the result and grind the result and that’s what we’ve done, grinded out a result.”

Blue pumped a long free-kick into the box, which was spilt and then gathered by Mant, who kicked the ball upfield and Sawyer’s frustrating night in front of goal continued when his 25-yard shot was caught by Blue.

But Cray Wanderers missed a glorious late, late chance to seal a point.

Hythe right-back Giorgio Russo failed to clear his lines just outside the corner of his box and this allowed substitute Ben Mundele to cut into the box and his shot was blocked by Mant’s leg.  Sean Roberts’s follow-up shot clipped the post and his team-mates failed to scramble the ball over the line.

Russell was left cursing his bad luck.

“He done well the youngster when we brought him on. I thought Ben was very lively on this side.  Yes, I said to them after, I don’t understand how that’s not gone in if I’m honest, but I do. We could be out here all night, we ain’t scoring a goal!”

Cook added: “Being honest, I don’t know how he didn’t score, both occasions. I just felt that would probably have been a little bit of a catastrophe if they had scored.

“I keep saying, they’re a very good side and they will be up there or there abouts.  They’ve got a good manager, a good experienced side. We played very well but they were exceptional and I thought we defended immensely.  We played very well but to get something from that, I was very pleased to get the result.

“After Saturday, when we really shouldn’t have lost that game in The FA Cup, we needed to respond and I think the boys showed that tonight in the way they went about their business, considering we had three players out (Sam May, Richard Atkins and Craig Cloke.)

When asked about why Cloke was withdrawn at the break, Cook revealed: “He had a whack in the kidneys before the game and he done the 45 but he wasn’t right so we decided to take him off. He’ll be alright for Saturday, I think, just an impact.”

Hythe Town have climbed up four places to seventh in the Ryman League Division One South table with 14 points from seven games – two points adrift of fifth-placed Greenwich Borough, while Cray Wanderers should be doing better than sitting in 11th place with 12 points from eight games.

Russell said: “Me, Paul Lorraine and Nathan White are going to meet tomorrow, our under 21s are training, so we’re going to meet and we’ve got to see what we’re going to do because I can’t come and watch this every week and just watch us missing chances and not creating and no quality in the final third.

“Might as well cut the throat and just get straight in there and revamp. It’s pointless. It’s just not working.”

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Adetayo Osifuwa, Jeysiva Sivapathasundaram, Jay Leader, Paul Lorraine (Jai McKinlay 29), Lea Dawson, Sean Roberts, Dean Carpenter (Max Williams 76), Bradley Woods-Garness, Danny Haynes, Brandon Scott (Ben Mundele 76).
Subs: Solomon Taiwo, Taylor McDonagh

Booked: Danny Haynes 45

Hythe Town: Joe Mant, Giogio Russo, Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke (Chris Saunders 46), Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, Charlie Webster, Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Kenny Pogue.
Subs: Keane Gillett, Travis Jackson, Sam May, Richard Atkins

Goal: Alfie May 42

Booked: Giorgio Russo 67, Nick Reeves 90

Attendance: 151
Referee: Mr Dele Sotimirin (Stratford, London E21)
Assistants: Mr Tom Fell (East Ham, London E6) & Mr Peter Stillwell (Islington, London N5)

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