Worthing 1-2 Cray Wanderers - It’s just amazing really. I can’t put it into words, I’m almost in tears. It was a great performance from everyone, says Cray Wanderers goalkeeper Tiwalade Fujimade

Thursday 01st November 2018
Worthing 1 – 2 Cray Wanderers
Location Woodside Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN14 7BH
Kickoff 01/11/2018 20:00

The FA Youth Cup First Round
Thursday 1 November 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Woodside Road

CRAY WANDERERS assistant manager Adam Flemming says his side are buzzing over the prospect of playing League One club Portsmouth at Hayes Lane in The FA Youth Cup Second Round.

The Wands have never reached the First Round of The FA Cup at any age group but they fought back from being a goal-down to beat Bostik Premier Division club Worthing down on the West Sussex coast.

Traffic problems meant Mark Dacey’s side arrived at Woodside Road at five-past-seven and referee Alex Mathieson agreed to kick the game off 15 minutes late at eight o’clock.

Worthing bossed the first half and Cray Wanderers keeper Tiwalade Fujimade, 17, pulled off two world-class saves to keep his side in the game.

Worthing deservedly took the lead seven minutes before the break when striker Josh Gould slid in to poke the ball over the line from three-yards.

Cray Wanderers came out for the second half on the front foot and lone striker Ronnie Payne poked the ball over the line to equalise to score his third goal of this FA Youth Cup campaign, before wide man turned striker Lee Lewis swept home the winner just six minutes later.

“Unbelievable feeling, unbelievable feeling for everyone involved with the club, up to the top, the CEO’s, the chairman, the first team, the under 18s who also play in the under 23s. All the boys are buzzing,” said Flemming.

“It was quite nerve wracking getting here late.  They didn’t get going for the first half but they got shook up at half-time and they came out and did the job.

“It was quite horrible. We had a minibus that was bringing us and it got stuck behind some traffic and it delayed us by 40 minutes, so it put us 40 minutes behind prep.  We’re probably going to have to pay a fine for the late kick-off but we’ll take that going in the next round of the Cup.”

Both sides kept the ball on the deck on Worthing’s 3G pitch and the home side created the first opening after 103 seconds.

Gould cut in from the right and played the ball inside to Ricky Aguiar and he teed up Tyrese Mthunzi, who dragged his right-footed shot past the left-hand post from 22-yards.

Cray Wanderers didn’t create much at the other end but their first opening came inside five minutes.

Kwame Poku cut in from the left wing and fed Payne down the left and he cut the ball back for Poku to drill his first time left-footed drive high over the crossbar from 20-yards.

“It was one of those ones, hands on heads, we were quite upset about it – we wanted the goal there,” came Flemming’s response.

Lewis swung in a corner from the left, which was cleared out by Worthing defender Dylan Jelley and the ball was bouncing around inside the penalty area but Payne’s swept shot lacked power and was easily gathered by goalkeeper Aaron Relf.

Worthing were denied a deserved lead in the 13th minute when Fujimade pulled off a world-class save.

Worthing produced a sweeping move down the right including man-of-the-match Aguiar and Darius Goldsmith and Aguiar drilled a right-footed shot destined for the bottom left-hand corner from 20-yards, but Fujimade pulled off a superb save, getting down low to his right to use a strong hand to palm the ball around his post.

“I thought their number 10 (Aguiar) for the other team was very good. He was outstanding when he had time and he had space to do what he wanted.  He was unbelievable. You could see his talent, he was excellent,” added Flemming.

“He hit a couple of shots which tested the goalkeeper, a volley which the keeper pushed wide.”

Aguiar was Worthing’s best player on the park.  He could pick a pass with drilled diagonal balls and his free-kicks were hit with power.

Attacker Liam Brady hit a diagonal from the left and a mistake from Cray left-back Frankie Morgan let in Worthing.  Gould played the ball out to Jasper Pattenden and the right wing-back put in a cross into the penalty area, which was cleared out to Aguiar, who hooked his right-footed volley towards goal from 25-yards, forcing Fujimade into making another brilliant save, diving low to his right to parry before getting up and pouncing on the loose ball.

Flemming added: “We have to put our goalkeeper in the goal, that’s his job. When he does make mistakes he’s the first person to look at but we’ve got a lot of trust in him.

“Over the last eight or nine months his development has gone through the roof and with confidence his techniques are getting better, his saves are getting better and he’s become a big time player.”

Flemming also believes he can push Nick Blue for the first team goalkeepers jersey for the Bostik South East Division unbeaten league leaders.

“Hopefully he’ll get a shot before the season’s finish in the first team.”

Dominant Worthing created another chance when Gould’s fine pass spilt open the Cray defence but a poor first touch from Brady allowed Fujimade to rush off his line and smother the ball.

Cray Wanderers striker Payne was on the receiving end of a Worthing sandwich as Jelley and Luca Cocorocchio clattered into him but Cray Wanderers failed to take advantage with a free-kick in a central position some 28-yards out.

Expecting Poku to shoot, he played a short free-kick into Payne, who failed to control the ball and flicked the ball which rolled into Relf’s gloves.

Worthing deservedly opened the scoring with 37 minutes and 34 seconds on the clock.

Aguiar helped Lewes reach The FA Youth Cup Third Round and it’s no surprise that he has featured in 15 first team games for Worthing already this season.

Aguiar drilled a right-footed free-kick from 28-yards, which was too hot for Fujimade to handle and he spilt the shot and the only two players to react to the loose ball were Mthuzi and Gould.  Gould slid in to poke the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from three-yards beside the right-hand post.

Flemming said: “He (Aguiar) took a free-kick, which resulted in a goal. The ball was moving and the keeper done as much as he could. We then had to react to the second ball and they reacted to the second ball and scored.

 “I think they had a lot of heart in the first half. I thought Worthing really put us through our paces. That is probably one of the hardest sides we’ve played all season, well for the last two seasons, but they pushed us and sometimes you need that. Sometimes you need that difficult opposition to make you rise your game.

Cray Wanderers created an opening in the final five minutes when a slick move was created down the left.  Payne and Deshon Carty linked up but the angle was too tight for Neil Spencer and he flashed his shot across the face of goal and just past the foot of the far post.

“It was quite a good response from conceding the goal,” said Flemming.

“We fashioned a couple of chances just before the half-time. Could we have taken then? Maybe. Could we have done better? Maybe but going into half-time there was a slight confidence after they scored their first.

“With them going 1-0 up, I think the boys lost their nerve, they wasn’t nervous anymore.  Once they did do that they were free, how they wanted to play and not play the occasion and just playing the match itself.

“I basically said (to them at half-time) that their nerves have gone now so now they’ve got to step up and be big-time players in big games.

“We asked the boys to show some heart and show some desire and want it more than the person standing next to you and I really, really believe they did in the second half.”

An inspirational half-time team talk from Dacey and Flemming had the desired effect as Cray Wanderers came out a different team.

Poku started to dominate the middle of the park and Spencer came out of his shell and started making runs down the right wing.

Cray Wanderers grabbed an equaliser with seven minutes and 54 seconds on the clock.

Central midfielder Carty released right-back Adam Bambroffe and he played the ball inside to Spencer, who cut into the box and reached the by-line and played the ball across the face of goal.  Goalkeeper Relf got down and got a hand to the ball but could only push it into the path of Payne to poke it over the line into the bottom left-hand corner.

“I didn’t know who scored it! Oh, it was Ronnie? Well done Ronnie!,” added Flemming.

“The boys came out and done exactly what we asked in the second half.  They showed some desire, they pressed well and fashioned chances and it was only a matter of time, once the boys started playing their natural style of football and it was well taken. I didn’t know who scored it. Well done to Ronnie, it was brilliant, it was brilliant.”

The goal shocked Worthing and all of their good play of the first half vanished and Cray Wanderers scored the winner with 13 minutes and 19 seconds on the clock.

Worthing centre-half Callum Litterick’s ball out of defence was poor and was intercepted by Poku, who drove through the middle of the pitch before playing the ball inside to Lewis, who took a touch before sweeping his clinical right-footed shot past Relf from 16-yards in a central position.

“Massive, massive, massive chance to take. It was a difficult chance to take,” admitted Flemming.

“Lee Lewis done well, playing out of position today, as the striker, the nine. He’s got bags of quality, bags of talent. I’m happy for him to play in any position on the pitch, that’s how confident I am in his ability.

“Once that ball dropped to him in the box, I didn’t second guess him at all. I always backed him to finish.”

Worthing manager Matt Langley replaced Gould for Tobi Minter, who played wide on the right so Bradley Campbell, an earlier substitute, played up top but the move backfired and Worthing weren’t the same team as they were during an impressive first half performance.

Worthing were to be denied an equaliser halfway through the second half, courtesy of another vital save from Fujimade.

Aguiar drilled a free-kick from 22-yards off the wall and saw the ball sail past the top of the left-hand post with the keeper rooted to the spot.

Jelley swung in the resulting corner, which was met by Mthunzi’s downward header, which forced the talented Cray Wanderers keeper to dive swiftly low down to his left to hold.

“Another one from Tiwa, a brilliant save. He was unplayable today I’m really, really, really proud of him with the saves he made today,” added Flemming.

Worthing went close with another header from another corner inside the final 15 minutes.

Jelley swung in their fifth and final corner and Cocorocchio – who played in the heart of their back three – guided his downward header past the far post from 12-yards.

Cray Wanderers caught Worthing on the break when the impressive Poku picked up a loose ball in midfield, charged straight down the middle of the pitch but his shot from inside the D rolled into the Worthing keeper’s hands.

“We thought he should have scored and that would have eased the nerves as well and made it a bit more comfortable than it was.

“But in big games it’s going to be fine margins that’s going to separate the teams,” said Flemming.

There were plenty of relief when Aguiar drilled his right-footed free-kick from 35-yards high, high, high over the crossbar as the home side pressed to grab a late equaliser to force extra-time.

Cray Wanderers’ fitness was good and they created a couple of late chances.

Substitute winger Kwaku Gyabi-Junior could have made an instant impact on the game but fluffed his big chance.

The quiet Cameron Grant pinged a long diagonal pass to put him through on goal and after cutting into the box he lost his composure and dinked his shot from 10-yards, which was comfortably gathered by Relf, low to his right.

Flemming said: “I believe that was blocked. I thought it was blocked from my angle.  I thought Junior should have done better with the finish but we wanted it to go in and it didn’t so it’s piled on a little bit of pressure in my mind at least.  I’m thinking do we need another goal? Will that be the chance we missed that is going to ruin it for us and bring the other team back into the game.”

Kyrique Garvey Williams charged down the middle before putting substitute striker Robert Daye through on goal.

Goalkeeper Relf was slow to come off his line but Daye cut inside him and drove his shot towards goal but Worthing captain Litterick got back to make an acrobatic, brilliant goal-line clearance.

“What a block, what a block! He’s put his body on the line and that’s what you ask from centre halves and I thought that stop was unbelievable.  He done really well to block that. It was unbelievable, hopefully that was on camera, I want to see it again!”

Cray Wanderers are now looking forward to hosting League One club Portsmouth in The FA Youth Cup Second Round at Hayes Lane on a date to be arranged.

Pompey sent Liam Daish – the former Ebbsfleet United manager – and now a player development programme coach at Fratton Park – along the coast to watch this game tonight.

Cray Wanderers started their FA Youth Cup campaign with a 4-2 extra-time win over local rivals Holmesdale at Hayes Lane, before beating VCD Athletic (6-0); Folkestone Invicta (4-1) on their travels before Raynes Park Vale were beaten 3-0 at Hayes Lane.

“We’ll be expecting a good game, at home as well.  I think we’re pretty much tired of travelling at the moment. It will be nice to have a home fixture. I reckon Hayes Lane will be packed – or the main stand at least – and it’s just another opportunity for these boys to showcase their talent and show what we can do on a weekly basis.

“We’re not a full-time team so we train with the boys once or twice a week for an hour maximum.  Half of them do get involved with the first team.

“It’s brilliant for these boys to experience an Academy game of football now, which is brilliant.”

When asked how it felt to be playing Portsmouth, Flemming replied:  “Coaching wise this is the highest accolade.  I’m going to call it an accolade taking a non-league side into the Second Round in The FA Youth Cup, not a full-time team like a college Academy. 

“Bring them on! I’ve got a couple of friends who support Portsmouth, so I’ll be making sure they’ll be in attendance.

“It’s a massive, massive game for us, definitely one of the biggest games in my coaching career going and playing against an Academy side in a Cup is brilliant.

“We wanted one of those teams, I do back my boys every single game. It doesn’t matter who we play against. We’re all just looking forward to it. We just wanted to get this game out of the way first.

Reflecting on his excellent performance in between the sticks, Fujimade said: “It’s just amazing to be honest. At this level being in The FA Youth Cup, making it to the next round, you’ve just got to give credit to the manager, the club, all my team mates for putting in a great shift tonight.

“I mean you’ve got to play the conditions really. Being late you just have to adapt yourself and get in the right frame of mind on the coach and just prepare.”

Reflecting on his first half saves, Fujimade added: “Just doing my job so when I’m called into action I have to be ready. I’m always there to pull of those saves, if needed.

“It’s just amazing really. I can’t put it into words, I’m almost in tears. It was a great performance from everyone.”

Worthing were favourites to progress and would have been motivated enough to win tonight to set up a south coast derby with Portsmouth.

“Everyone’s buzzing! Like it’s going to be a great game. Hopefully another win, that’s all you can hope for at this stage,” added the Cray stopper.

“It was great, honestly, playing under lights, it’s probably the best feeling a player can have.  Playing in a competition like The FA Youth Cup, so I’m honoured to experience that.”

Fujimade doesn’t want Cray Wanderers longest run in this competition to end just yet but they will be massive underdogs.

“As far as they want us to go. The only team that’s going to beat us, is when we decide that.”

Worthing: Aaron Relf, Jasper Pattenden (Bradley Campbell 51), James Beresford, Luca Cocorocchio, Dylan Jelley, Callum Litterick, Tyrese Mthunzi, Darius Goldsmith (Ahmed Khamil 78), Josh Gould (Tobi Minter 62), Liam Brady, Ricky Aguiar.
Subs: Owen Benfell, Benjy Teasdale

Goal: Josh Guild 38

Booked: Dylan Jelley 27, Tyrese Mthunzi 90

Cray Wanderers: Tiwalade Fujimade, Adam Bambroffe, Frankie Morgan, Kyrique Garvey Williams, Cameron Grant, Joseph Barber, Lee Lewis, Deshon Carty (Benjamin Hullet 81), Ronnie Payne (Robert Daye 60), Kwame Poku, Neil Spencer (Kwaku Gyabi-Junior 87).
Sub: David Showimemo

Goals: Ronnie Payne 53, Lee Lewis 59

Booked: Lee Lewis 67

Attendance: 170
Referee: Mr Alex Mathieson (Alton, Hampshire)
Assistants: Mr Andrew Connor (Farnham, Surrey) &  Mr Gary Hodgkinson (Farnborough, Hampshire)