Cray Wanderers 1-2 Worthing - A lack of finishing in the final third has cost us, admits Cray Wanderers boss Tony Russell

Sunday 13th November 2016
Cray Wanderers 1 – 2 Worthing
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 13/11/2016 15:00

The Buildbase FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round
Sunday 13th November 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

CRAY WANDERERS manager Tony Russell says a lack of finishing in the final third has sent his club crashing out of The Buildbase FA Trophy in the Second Qualifying Round.

Worthing arrived at Hayes Lane – which was staging its 40th game of the season – sitting in fourteenth-place in the Ryman Premier League table with 23 points from 17 games, while Cray Wanderers have slipped down to seventh-place in the Ryman League Division One South table with 28 points from 16 games.

Worthing took an early lead through Lee Prescott’s own-goal and doubled it just 32 seconds into the second half through Zack Newton’s finish.

Cray Wanderers striker Danny Haynes, 28, pulled a goal back to score his fourteenth-goal of the season and missed glorious chances later in the second half as the hosts exited their last cup competition of the season.

“I think it’s another good game that we’ve been involved in,” said Russell during the post-match press conference.

“I thought it was even first half. I thought second half, we dominated them.  Unfortunately, a lack of finishing in the final third has cost us in the end but overall I’m delighted with the performance.

“It’s good to test yourself against teams allegedly higher than you and I think we proved that we had a go.  It’s just a little gage to see where you are. It’s good, they asked us good questions and I like that. I enjoy playing against good sides because it brings the best out of everyone, including myself and we got them in at half-time and just adjusted a few things and I thought we were awesome to be fair.”

Cray Wanderers were to be denied by a smart save from Worthing keeper Jack Fagan after only two minutes and 51 seconds.

Cray right-back Ben Mundele floated over a deep cross, which was controlled by Haynes, who cut into the box before rolling the ball back to left-back Jeysiva Sivapathasundaram, who hung in a cross for Lea Dawson to knock down and the ball bounced off Worthing midfielder Brannon O’Neill, forcing Fagan, who stayed on his line, to make a low save to his right.

Russell said: “We came out of the blocks really well. We sort of pinned them back, passing the ball around and getting some good openings.  We had a couple of chances in the early part of the game.”

Worthing’s left-winger Harvey Sparks got in behind Mundele to drive in a low cross which striker Reis Stanislaus narrowly missed as he slid in at the far post.

Russell admitted his back four were “disrupted” when central defender Paul Lorraine, 33, was forced off through a nerve problem after only nine minutes – and Worthing took full advantage.

“He’s just got this nerve thing at the moment in his hamstring, it’s not actually his hamstring, it’s just a nerve around it, I think it might be connected to the back,” said Russell.

“It’s really frustrating for him. He had to come off against Tooting & Mitcham (on 5 November) and it’s really disrupting us because you saw after he came off we were all over the place!  It’s not a position you want to keep swapping around during the game. We’ve got a free week so we need him to see someone because it’s not good for him or us if he keeps coming off so it’s something we need to look at.”

Worthing were to be denied the lead by a goal-line headed clearance.

O’Neill swung in a corner from the left and Stanislaus held his head in despair after seeing his free header cleared off the line by Sivapathasundaram on the left-hand post.

But Worthing deservedly opened the scoring with the goal timed at 11 minutes and 14 seconds.

O’Neill swung in his second corner, this time from the right, and Lloyd Dawes’ flicked shot went through a crowd of players and went in off Prescott, who tried valiantly to scramble the ball off the line to prevent an own-goal.

“It was an own goal, it’s just poor, it’s just a poor corner,” said Russell.

“It’s shoulder height, no higher than shoulder height and everyone’s left it to everyone and Lee Prescott hasn’t got any chance. It’s just hit him on the chest, he’s seen it late and it’s gone in as an own goal. 

“I said at half-time that someone’s got to have to go and attack a ball.  The ball’s in your area, you can’t wait for somebody else.  It’s gone through about five or six people . It’s a sloppy goal, real sloppy goal.”

Cray Wanderers had a chance to equalise when Haynes swept the ball out wide from the edge of the Worthing box to Brandon Scott, who cut inside to drill his left-footed shot past the far post from 25-yards.

But the Cray defence opened up to allow Sparks to unleash a left-footed drive towards goal from 30-yards, which bounced off Nick Blue’s chest before the keeper grabbed hold of the ball.

Poor defending from Sivapathasundaram gifted the ball to Stanislaus, who burst into the box to drag his shot past the far post when he only had Blue to beat in the 24th minute.

“When Paul Lorraine went off we lost our way,” admitted Russell.

“It’s disrupted everything for 15 minutes. We were literally all over the place and fair play to Worthing, they sensed that and they really tried to push home their advantage and but for a couple of really good saves we just about stayed in the game at that point.

“They were pressing us well so it was causing us problems. When the boys at the back have a lot of the ball, when you swap one of the centre halves over it causes disruption so they had a few chances and let’s just ride that little period out and I think with a little bit of luck, I thought we just about did.”

Worthing left-back Sam Rents clipped the ball into the Cray penalty area, which was superbly brought under control by Dawes, who swept the ball inside for Kane Wills, whose shot deflected off Sivapathasundaram and behind for a corner.

Worthing were the better side during the first half and they should have increased their lead just before the half-hour mark.

O’Neill whipped in a quality cross from the right and Dawes’ near post header sailed just past the post.

Worthing’s right-back Matt Boiling ran 50-yards down the right and cut the ball back for Stanislaus, who was denied by Blue’s near post save as the keeper tried to grab hold of the ball under the striker’s feet.

Cray Wanderers started to create openings as the game edged towards half-time.

Russell said: “Once we cleared our heads I thought we started getting back on top.  We didn’t want the half-time whistle if I’m honest.  I thought we started to pin them in and started creating chances and getting the ball wide to Brandon nice and early and the half-time whistle probably came at the bad time because we were just starting to get at them.”

Jay Leader found himself in the final third and he laid the ball off for Karl Dent whose right-footed drive from 30-yards was saved by Fagan, low to his right.

Scott then cut into the penalty area from the right and his shot from eight-yards was dropped by Fagan, who recovered well to block Dent’s follow-up shot.

Worthing’s central defender Jack Cook gave the ball away to Dawson, who fed Haynes, who hit a low 30-yard drive just past the foot of the near post.

Worthing created the last chance of the first half.  Wills teed up the impressive Dawes, his right-footed drive from 22-yards was saved comfortably by Blue.

Russell said: “I said to them I thought it took us too long to clear our heads.  I thought that period everyone were too snappy with each other. I wouldn’t say arguments, there were discussions going on. 

“I just spoke about a couple of things that they were doing.  Once we started to pull them apart then they lost their shape and that’s when it gave us the chance.  The basic information was being calm and carry on manipulating their pressing game.”

Cray Wanderers’ players must not have cleared their heads because Worthing doubled their lead just 32 seconds into the second half.

O’Neill ran down the left before sweeping the ball out to the right to Boiling, who cut inside and threaded the ball in behind for Newton to sweep his right-footed shot across Blue into the bottom far corner.

“I think Denty (Karl Dent) will be disappointed with that! It was he’s full-back. He let him go. He didn’t track him which left it two-v-one.  We just said in there we done that against Lewes, a goal straight after half-time. We’ve done that against Tooting & Mitcham, it ain’t good enough!

“I said maybe we need to put cones out before the start of the second half.  We have to look at it because it ain’t good enough! We can’t keep giving teams 2-0 head starts. We done it on Wednesday (coming back to claim a 2-2 draw at home to Whyteleafe). We’re not good enough to give teams 2-0 head starts so we’ve got to give ourselves a chance.

“It’s so hard to have a go at them because they’ve just given everything for this club and they’re tired.”

Cray Wanderers accepted their lifeline when it was thrown at them with 10 minutes and 3 seconds into the half.

Scott raced down the right to reach the by-line to cut the ball back for Haynes to hit his first time right-footed drive nestling inside the bottom right-hand corner from 16-yards, leaving Worthing’s keeper statuesque and pointing the finger of blame at Cook in front of him.

Russell said: “Well, he had three or four chances today and that was the hardest one – and he scored!

“He had a little bit of composure where the other chances he’s thrashed at them.  It’s hard for Dan. It’s his first game back from a three-game suspension so he’s a little bit rusty. It was a good finish, it was a good move, but the rest of them that we’re doing to talk about, we’re going to go downhill from this point!”

The goal was a wake-up call for Worthing and Dawes cut inside and his right-footed drive stung Blue’s fingers before Stanislaus hit his 30-yard drive over the crossbar.

Scott and Haynes linked up well during the game and Scott’s shot deflected wide and Leader came up from the back to head over substitute Solomon Taiwo’s floated deep corner from the left.

Cray Wanderers should have been level in the 63rd minute.

Mendele ran 30-yards down the right and fed Scott, who cut the ball back for Haynes to hook his shot on the turn over the crossbar.

Worthing substitute 12-goal striker Omar Bugiel was denied by a brilliant save from Blue in the 69th minute, drilling a right-footed shot from 25-yards, swerving towards the top right-hand corner, but for Blue to stick out his left hand above his left shoulder to push the ball over the bar.

“They’re a good side, they’re a very good side but he’s hit one from long range. We’ve limited them to long range shots.  Listen, I’ve said this once, I’ll say it 100 times, Nick Blue to me is by far the best goalkeeper in this league. When I was manager (of VCD Athletic) in the Ryman Prem, he was the best goalkeeper in the Ryman Prem as well.”

Dawes powered a shot screaming past the left-hand post from the edge of the Cray Wanderers penalty area, before he was later to be denied by another save from Blue, this time using his legs to make the save.

Taiwo, 31, was starting to ping some quality 50-yard diagonal passes out to Scott down the right-hand side and Haynes swept his shot over the bar from 16-yards.

“Sol’s class. I brought him on Wednesday at 2-0 down and he set one up and scored one,” said Russell.

“Sol’s just got to work better without the ball and I’ve told Sol that. I’m not killing him. I think sometimes he switches off. He’s got amazing technique, his range of passing is as good as you’ll ever see at this level of football.  Cardiff paid £250,000 for him not too long ago (August 2009). He’s 31 so he’s not passed it but to play in our side we do a lot of work with and without the ball and without the ball I demand a little bit more of him and he knows that and until he starts doing that he’s going to be my roll of the dice.”

Dent then released Scott charging down the right wing and cut the ball back for Haynes, the ball bounced up on a bobble and the striker lashed his shot over the bar from 12-yards – which was the biggest glorious chance missed by the unmarked striker.

“Do you know what, before he got suspended he’d finish them! That would be going in. If he was match fit I think he’d score four or five today.  It’s a combination that works very well for us.  Brandon Scott’s a class player.  I didn’t think he was great first half. I thought second half he was excellent.”

Scott has been on trial at Premier League Crystal Palace and the former Southend United winger, 19, is on his way tonight to League One side Fleetwood Town for a week-long trial.

Russell said: “My phone goes off quite a lot. He went to Crystal Palace, they’ll go away and think about it. In the meantime he’s actually getting on a train tonight and goes up to Fleetwood for the whole week.  They’re putting him up in a house with a couple of other guys from London.  I spoke to the assistant manager they really, really like him.

“I feel sorry for him, he’s like a joint at a student house party, he’s been passed around but there’s a couple of other clubs.  Fleetwood are really, really keen. They’ve watched him, they’ve had three reports on him so they’re really keen to get him in.  I think it will happen really quick if it does. We’ll see but if not we’ll have Brandon back.”

Mundele, now playing on the left-wing after Timmi Osibodu came off the bench to slot in at right-back, cut inside from the left wing into the penalty area but drilled his shot around the far post.

Worthing created a trio of late chances as this entertaining game came to a close.

Dawes’ ran down the left and cut the ball back for Wills to hit his shot over the bar from 18-yards.

Substitute Mike Waller was denied by Blue who came off his line to save with his legs.

Newton rifled his shot over the bar when he only had Blue to beat, after Dawes slid a crossfield pass into his path.

Cray Wanderers have banked £5,200 in prize money after Russell’s only two career wins in The FA Trophy came against Carshalton Athletic (3-0 after a 3-3 draw) and a 4-0 win over Marlow two days later.

“It does help. When we won the second half we ordered some new training kit for the boys with that money so we’ve put that back into the club, which is good and the club’s been excellent with that.

“It’s a shame really sitting here, we could’ve put a little bit more (£3,250) money in. We should’ve won, we know that!”

Russell, who takes charge of the club’s managerless under 21s when they host Harlow Town at Holmesdale’s Oakley Road ground on Monday night, has challenged his first team to challenge for the title during their last 30 league games of the season.

“Paul Lorraine’s (player-assistant manager) said it’s not right where we are in the league. I know we’ve got games in hand, we’re a lot better than that and we’ve got to put that right. We show that much passion and that much quality like we have in the last couple of games we’ll be a match for anyone.  There’s some good sides and good managers in our league but not many people will fancy playing us when we’re in that mood.”

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Jeysiva Sivapathasundaram, Jay Leader, Paul Lorraine (Jai McKinlay 9), Lea Dawson, Lee Prescott (Timmi Osibodu 70), Sean Roberts (Solomon Taiwo 55), Danny Haynes, Karl Dent, Brandon Scott.
Subs: Dane Luchford, Ade Osifuwa

Goal: Danny Haynes 56

Booked: Jai McKinlay 89

Worthing: Jack Fagan, Matt Boiling, Sam Rents, Kane Wills, Jack Cook, Corey Heath, Lloyd Dawes, Brannon O’Neill (Ross Edwards 64), Reis Stanislaus (Omar Bugiel 64), Zack Newton, Harvey Sparks (Mike Waller 77).
Subs: Ethan Belward, Gary Elphick

Goals: Lee Prescott 12 (own goal), Zack Newton 46

Attendance: 164
Referee: Mr Stephen Bates (St Albans, Hertfordshire)
Assistants: Mr Kennedy Kikulwe (East Ham, London E6) & Mr Ari Mendonca (Grays, Essex)

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