FA Cup Round Up: These moments are ones to be cherished, says manager Kevin Watson, after his Cray Valley side reach FA Cup First Round for the first time after shock win over Maidenhead United
CRAY VALLEY (Paper Mills) created history yesterday after the Eltham-based club reached The FA Cup First Round for the first time in their history.
Kevin Watson’s side were 2-0 down away to Vanarama National League side Maidenhead United but goals from Ade Yusuff and Connor Dymond brought the Millers level before Francis Babalola’s 90th minute winner sent the Isthmian League South East Division side through.
"I felt it was a game that had everything - two goals down, penalty saved and then scoring the winner in the final minute," Watson told the club website.
"These moments are ones to be cherished by everyone associated with the club.
"We are a small club with a big heart. It's an incredible achievement by the players'.
"I didn't think there was the gulf between the two sides that is often assumed. Once our players' recognised that, I felt we were more fluid with our decision making and collective performance."
Watson added: "I believe that weaker characters would have thrown the towel in when 2-0 down, or later in the game looked to settle for a draw and go to penalties."
CRAY WANDERERS’ hopes of joining their Cray neighbours in the First Round for the first time were dashed after Tony Russell’s side went down to a 3-2 defeat at Isthmian League Northern Division side Canvey Island.
The Essex side were 3-0 up inside the opening 22 minutes, which stunned the Isthmian Premier Division side, who hit back through Joe Taylor’s 60th-minute penalty and Lee Lewis’ goal seven minutes later.
TONBRIDGE ANGELS reached the First Round for the first time since 1972 after thrashing ten-man Taunton Town 5-0 behind closed doors at Longmead Stadium.
The Vanarama National League South side easily progressed, courtesy of goals from Ben Greenhalgh (2), Alex Akrofi, Javaun Splatt and Joe Turner after the visitors’ had Jake Wannall sent off for his second booking a minute into the second half with the home side already 2-0 in front.
Manager Steve McKimm said on Twitter: ”I’m so pleased and proud for the players, staff, chairman, board and our fans for us reaching the FA Cup First Round for the first time in 47 years. The players’ are the history makers, well done lads.”
The club welcomes its £30,000 per month bailout from the National Lottery to keep in business.
“I know our budget will not be increased as suggested, so no it’s not like Christmas for our club. Any extra money will be used to keep our club running in these tough times,” added McKimm.
BROMLEY reached the First Round for the ninth time in 15 years after Michael Cheek’s emphatically taken penalty sealed a 1-0 win over Sutton United at an empty Gander Green Lane yesterday.
Manager Neil Smith told the Bromley website: “I thought we thoroughly deserved it. I said whoever gets through would’ve had to deserve it. It was hard, they’re a good side, they’re a strong side and having two (of our) old boys up front as well, would have been desperate to put one over us, a clean-sheet and a great penalty by Cheeky.
“We practiced all week just in case it did go to penalties. We knew it was going to be a tough and tight game, so we did practice. Obviously, when it comes to it in the 90 minutes Cheeky was on the pitch to take it.
“Fantastic penalty. I don’t think even if the keeper got anywhere near it, he would have kept it out!”
When asked if he wants home or away advantage in the FA Cup First Round draw, Smith replied: “We can’t even say home or away now can you because every game there’s no supporters here, so you don’t get that advantage but apart from the travelling, we’ll take anybody.
“It’s nice to be in the first round again, we’ll see. It will be a good Monday afternoon waiting to see who we pull out.
“We’re absolutely delighted, when you’re in The FA Cup, it’s about getting into the next round however you do it and we’re there.”
DOVER ATHLETIC striker Louis Collins scored his first two goals for the club in their 3-3 draw against their National League rivals Yeovil Town but Andy Hessenthaler’s side were knocked out 7-6 on penalties as Marshall Wratten’s sudden-death penalty was saved by Adam Smith.
“I thought the boys were wonderful today, absolutely wonderful. Their effort and the desire, we had an average age of 21-years-old out there,” manager Andy Hessenthaler told the Dover Athletic website.
“We went with a young team because we had a long journey to Torquay last week and a long journey today. We arrived at ten-past-two and the players’ had a 15-minute warm-up pretty much and then had to go out and play, so credit to all of them. It’s never easy to do that and they put a performance in.
“We’re disappointed because we’ve scored three goals away from home and haven’t won the game. We keep giving silly goals away, that’s a bit of naivety against a big, physical side and they made it difficult for us.
“But listen, we had some young boys out there and some were probably playing in their first FA Cup tie today and I thought they were phenomenal at times.”
The match at Huish Park was played behind closed doors and Hessnethaler believes this has damaged the competition and the chance for clubs to make much-needed revenue through gates receipts and prize money.
“I made changes because of the load of games and the travelling, people might say it’s The FA Cup but I think The FA Cup, unfortunately, The FA Cup this year isn’t financially rewarding because there’s no fans in the ground and because of Covid the prize money has been cut.
“The FA Cup is a wonderful competition and I have been fortunate to get a long way in it as a player and last year we had a fantastic time getting through the first round and beating Southend. It’s a wonderful competition but our position in the league has to improve.
“It was an opportunity to play some of these young boys and I thought they were fantastic today and I can’t fault them. We’ve got a squad of players, we’ve got a few out injured and we’ve got to use the squad and they’ve certainly done very well today."
Hessenthaler admitted to feeling "gutted" for young Warren for missing the decisive penalty kick.
“Penalty shoot-outs become a lottery. There were some good penalties and the keepers couldn’t get anywhere near it.
"He’s never been put in that position in his footballling life, FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round. For a young boy out of the Academy and he’s missed a penalty, so what, I’m not bothered. Fair play to the kid. He’s stepped up and he’s made his mind up and the keeper’s made the save.”
DULWICH HAMLET went down to a 1-0 defeat away to their National League South rivals Eastbourne Borough.