|Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane|
|Cray Wanderers||2||Matt Woolf 48
Leigh Bremner 73
|Folkestone Invicta||2||Mark Munday 76
Andrew Burke 81
Lively clash ends all square
CRAY WANDERERS' assistant manager Joe Francis insists his side had thrown it away after they surrendered a 2-0 lead against Ryman Premier Division strugglers Folkestone Invicta before settling for a draw at Hayes Lane today.
Matt Woolf's fourth goal of the season three minutes into the second half gave the Ryman League Division One hosts the lead before visiting captain Scott Lindsey was sent off for his second booking with 25 minutes left.
Herne Bay striker Leigh Bremner netted his eleventh goal of the season from a
40-yard strike with seventeen minutes remaining to put them in the driving
However, two goals in the space of five minutes made sure Folkestone joined Cray in the hat for Monday's second round draw.
Cray also finished the game with ten-men as right-back John Myatt was sent off, for his second booking, protesting to the assistant referee about the equalising goal - for what he thought was offside - nine minutes from the end.
Folkestone goalkeeper Tony Kessell put in an inspired display against his former side, twice denying Woolf from two free kick's outside the penalty area in the first eleven minutes.
Sandwiched between these two chances,
Lindsey exchanged passes with Michael Everitt before unleashing a right-footed
25-yarder that flew over Steve Northwood's bar.
In a bright opening twenty minutes, Sam Wood, who latched onto a Folkestone clearance, following Ross Lover's corner, blazed a fierce shot from 40-yards ambitiously off target, before Woolf was denied by Kessell for the third time in the game.
Lover found Bremner inside the D, and he played the ball inside for Woolf and the former Bromley and Crawley Town striker struck a fierce ten-yard shot towards the near post but Kessell pushed the driven shot out.
Folkestone striker James Dryden, who worked tirelessly upfront throughout, fired over from sixteen yards before Kessell pulled off another fine save when he beat out Myatt's scorching right-footed 28-yard drive.
Northwood, however, wasn't going to be outdone by his opposite number at the other end, and the former Thamesmead Town goalkeeper made a fine save from Dryden's fierce 16-yard shot on the stroke of half time.
Both sides entertained the184 fans at a murky and wet Hayes Lane and Folkestone almost broke the deadlock early in the second half.
Andrew Burke penetrated the Cray defence down the left hand side, reaching the by-line before crossing to the far post where Dryden headed across Northwood but his effort clipped the far post.
The home side, however,
took the lead moments later in the 48th minute. Sam Wood's precise free
kick found striker Matt Woolf, who ghosted in behind his marker, and his
eight-yard volley rocketed into the roof of the net.
Just before the hour mark, Paul Lamb's cross was flicked by Dryden into Everitt's path and his fierce shot from the edge of the penalty area was too close to Northwood.
The game livened up when Lindsey - booked early in the first half - was sent off in the 65th minute. The Folkestone captain went in with two feet on James Taylor - who was forced off the pitch due to injury - as he went in for a 50/50 ball and was duly sent off by referee Smith.
Burke delivered another cross from the left and Mark Munday met the cross but sent his eight-yard header over before Cray increased their lead in the 73rd minute.
Folkestone were awarded a free kick some 40-yards from their goal and committed football suicide.
Kessell came a long way out of his penalty area but the visitors messed up the free kick, giving the ball away to Bremner, who from fully 40-yards swept the ball straight into the back of an open net.
However, Folkestone pulled a goal back three minutes later. Dryden and Cray substitute Mark Hammond squared up but Myatt got in the middle of them to restore calm just inside the Cray half of the field.
With all eyes on the three players involved, play continued and Luke Gedling - making his Invicta debut having signed from Worthing last week - was denied by Northwood who parried the shot but Mark Munday fired home the rebound.
Folkestone, however, clawed back the equalier - that led to Myatt being sent off.
Dryden's defence splitting pass sent Burke on his way into the penalty area and with only Northwood to beat the former Republic of Ireland youth representative slotted home.
Lover and Woolf sent late efforts from outside the penalty area over the bar and Kessell's brave goalkeeping made sure Folkestone survived and take Cray back to Cheriton Road for Tuesday's replay.
Folkestone manager Neil Cugley is looking forward to the replay, and is expecting another lively match.
He said: "Being polite, the referee didn't have his better game but it made it all lively really.
"It didn't cost us the match but it didn't help the situation and tempers got a bit carried away."
Invicta stretch their winless streak to ten games, but the long serving manager is hoping his side can get back to winning ways soon.
"We have been playing well recently without getting the results we deserve.
"I think there's a bit of spice after today's game and it will be a lively replay and I am sure it will be a really exciting game.
"Cray played ever so well in the first half but for Tony Kessell we could have been quite easily rolled over today but we showed good character in the second half.
Cray's assistant Joe Francis gave credit to both sides for putting on an entertaining clash.
He added: "All credit to Folkestone, they were down to ten men and hit us on the break a couple of times but it was - speaking as a neutral, which I am not - an exciting game."
But the Ashford based coach wasn't very happy with his side after they surrendered a 2-0 lead with only seventeen minutes left.
He said: "I always think with 20 minutes to go you still have got to be disciplined.
"To be honest we didn't keep the ball, we just kept giving it away and panicked a little bit. They drove us deeper, when you are playing with ten men it's sometimes a little easier."
But Francis is confident his side - with a better away record this season - can finish off the job on the Kent coast on Tuesday evening.
He added: "We hold no fears going down there, we are a side playing with a lot of confidence and all the players know we threw it away today rather than Folkestone coming back into it by themselves.
"The pressure's on us a little bit, we've got to go down there and produce and we like it like that."
With two players sent off, Francis insisted the game wasn't dirty and added: "It wasn't a dirty game, it was a FA Trophy clash.
"If you are not willing to put your feet in during games like this - don't turn up!
"There was a lot of good football today, James Dryden up front for Folkestone was very lively, very impressive and Folkestone passed the ball around quite well in patches - so did we and it was an entertaining game.
"Both goalkeepers made some really good saves, there was some skilful play out there - we just need to get more people down here to watch us, that's what we need!"
Cray Wanderers: Steve Northwood, John Myatt (sent off 25), Sam Wood, David Gray (Capt), Danny Bower, James Taylor (Richard Dimmock 70), Ross Lover, Matt Woolf, Jamie Wood (Mark Hammond 73), Leigh Bremner, Mark Tompkins. Subs: James Millar, Ian Rawlings, Robert Browning
Folkestone Invicta: Tony Kessell, Kevin Watson, Paul Lamb, Adam Flanaghan, John Guest, Scott Lindsey (Capt, sent off 65), Michael Everitt, Mark Munday, James Dryden, Andrew Burke, Luke Gedling. Subs: Luke Coleman, James Everitt, Lee Dyson, Dan Morrin (GK)
Referee: Mr G Smith
Assistants: Mr M Thompson & Mr P Saunders