Thursday 01st September 2005

Cray remain on the Main road to Wembley/Cardiff

Sunday 25th
September 2005
FA Cup
Second Qualifying Round
Stephen McCartney reports from The Courage Stadium
Cray Wanderers 4 Jamie Wood 30,48
Jon Main 77,79
Camberley Town 1 Luke Walker 45

Cray Wanderers are only one more FA Cup victory from going the furthest ever in the competition during their 145 year history, writes Stephen McCartney.

An impressive second half display saw the Ryman League Division One side brush aside their brave visitors who ply their trade in the second division.

Strikers Jamie Wood and Jon Main both netted two goals apiece, with Main scoring four goals from only two starts this season.

Due to suspensions, Main replaced Leigh Bremner and experienced central defender Ian Rawlings replaced David Gray.  Meanwhile, goalkeeper Dean Mann is expected to give way to Steve Northwood for Tuesday's home clash against Fleet Town, as the former Thamesmead Town stopper has now completed his three match ban.

But it was Camberley Town that created the game's first chance after nine minutes when left-back Ricky McNamara played a superb 50-yard diagonal pass for Martyn Williams to stab wide from 12 yards.

The visitors goal, however, led a charmed life with goalkeeper Chris Foster blocking Main's shot at the near post and Cray were denied several times in a goal mouth scramble, which saw the visitors pack the goal mouth and somehow keep the ball out of the net.

Thanks to some poor goalkeeping from Mann, Camberley were almost gifted the lead.  The goalkeeper should have cleared his lines on the edge of the penalty area but Matt Murrell took advantage of the gift and his hooked shot from 19 yards looped towards goal but dropped agonisingly wide of the far post to spare the goalkeeper's blushes.

Stunned Cray, however, sparked into life and Michael Power - who scored a hat-trick in their 4-1 win over Kingstonian in the last round - headed Ross Lover's corner over.

Cray, however, took the lead on the half-hour mark when patient play from the home side resulted in Drew Watkins whipping in a cross from the right, which was flicked on by target man Power and tiny striker Wood headed into the top left hand corner from six yards.

Would the floodgates open after this? Well, they did eventually, but only in the second half.

Wood then unleashed a powerful 16-yard drive from the left hand side of the penalty area, which cannoned off the middle of the crossbar but Power blazed the rebound high over the bar.

The Surrey side created two chances late in the half with Lee Newing's skillfill flick looping towards goal, which was cleared off the line by Terry Khan and before that Luke Walker's mazy run, where he left four Cray defenders in his wake, tested Mann who made a smart save low down to his left.

But within 80 seconds of the second half, Dean Morris will only know why he headed Main's cross from the left by-line against the post from point blank range, but they doubled their lead after 48 minutes when Wood rifled a shot high into the net following Watkins' low cross from the right.

Cray created several chances in a good spell, which also saw Wood denied his hat-trick by some good goalkeeping by Foster at his near post and Watkins' crashing a 29 yard free kick, from a central position, against the crossbar.

But a mix-up by Mann and Khan led to Camberley scoring with 25 minutes left.  Mann and Khan got in eachother's way and Mann's poor punch was pounced upon by Williams who played the ball inside the box to Walker to smash the ball home.

And they almost equalised five minutes later when central defender Adam Roberts' ghosted into the penalty area but his powerful header - from Jason Short's free kick - flew agonisingly over.

But two goals in as many minutes from Main secured Cray's passage into the third qualifying round.

His first came from a superb ball over the top of the defence by Wood, who was in the left-back position inside his own half.  Main latched onto the pass and left Mark Robertson in his wake before coolly firing into the bottom left hand corner from 16 yards.

And in the 79th minute Wood laid the ball off to Main to fire into the bottom left hand corner.

Camberley, however, left an impression on Cray Wanderers' assistant manager Joe Francis.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with he said: "They did themselves proud and can go away with their heads held high.

"For a team from their level to reach the second qualifying round is an achievement in itself."

Francis, however, was pleased the players responded to last week's defeats at Hastings United (4-0) and Dover Athletic (2-1).

"I thought we approached the game well, didn't underestimate them and we learnt a lesson a week ago at Hastings," he said.

"We've had the boys in for training and we said we'll build to the end of the week and we responded well - we played some good football."

Speaking about their defeat in front of 1,001 at The Crabble last Tuesday, Francis added: "I thought we did enough to get a draw actually.

"Dover are a very impressive side, big and strong and worked hard but it was a fairly even contest.

"We conceded two set pieces out wide and that undone us because they were big and strong as I say.

"But we got back into the game with 20 (minutes) to go and it could have been a different story."

Following their wins over Steyning Town (6-0), Kingstonian (4-1) and today, the club have secured £7,000 in FA Cup prize money.

"For us, for any club, I've just said to the boys in there (changing room), as a developing club we should be reaching the third and fourth qualifying round and who knows - we'll wait and see who we get (in Monday's draw)," Francis added.

But before they tackle their next round opponents, Cray entertain Fleet Town at the Courage Stadium on Tuesday night and travel to Croydon Athletic next Saturday and to Dulwich Hamlet on 4th October, before their third qualifying round tie on the 8th.

"We know Fleet Town have drawn all five of their league games and they've got an old professional whose in charge so take nothing for granted again," warned Francis.

"I've just said to the boys it will be a bit of a miserable week weather wise and if you turn up with the wrong attitude you'll get bit in the backside."

And speaking about their trip to Mayfields next Saturday, he added: "They are a good side.  I've got a lot of respect for them with the way they play the game.

"They played us off the park last year and once again we have to go there with the right approach."

Francis and manager Ian Jenkins, however, will decide whether Steve Northwood replaces Mann in goal on Tuesday after completing his three match ban.

Francis, however, would like "a home draw and we'll like someone with a comparable nature so we can give ourselves a chance of progressing."

So that's Bromley, Cray Wanderers, Folkestone Invicta, Margate, Ramsgate, Tonbridge Angels and Welling United in the hat tomorrow. Kent derby anyone?

Cray Wanderers: Dean Mann, Drew Watkins, Ian Rawlings (Capt), Terry Khan, Danny Harris, James Taylor, Ross Lover (Matt Woolf 85), Dean Morris (Gary Ward 77), Michael Power (Richard Dimmock 60), Jon Main, Jamie Wood.  Subs: Gary Abbott, David Hall

Camberley Town: Chris Foster, Jason Short, Ricky McNamara, Adam Roberts, Mark Robertson, Daniel Ker, Lee Newing (Grant Stevens 43), Paul Dadson (Capt), Martyn Williams (Danny Harrison 81), Luke Walker, Matt Murrell (Ben Corbett 81).  Subs: Lee Trowbridge, Chris Partridge

Attendance: 169
Referee: Mark Basten
Assistants: Paul Burton & Rob Allum