Cray Wanderers 4-2 Holmesdale - We made hard work of it but no point in the game did I actually think we were going to lose it, says Cray Wanderers manager Mark Dacey

Monday 03rd September 2018
Cray Wanderers 4 – 2 Holmesdale
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 03/09/2018 20:00

(after extra time)
The FA Youth Cup Preliminary Round
Monday 3 September 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

CRAY WANDERERS captain and hat-trick hero Joe Barber says his side hold the bragging rights over Holmesdale after knocking them out of The FA Youth Cup at Hayes Lane.


The 17-year-old central defender helped his side book their place in the First Qualifying Round and a trip to Bridon Ropes or VCD Athletic after needing extra-time to beat Mark Simmons’ Holmesdale side.

Holmesdale took the lead through winger Josh Newbury-Treelock, but Cray Wanderers equalised through Barber’s emphatically taken penalty.

A mistake let in Holmesdale who took the lead in the 61st minute through burly striker Ada Okorogheye but their lead lasted only 118 seconds as Barber poked the ball over the line following a corner.

Holmesdale lost three attackers (Luke Spilane-Davis, Alex Taylor and Okorogheye) to knocks during the second half and their fitness levels told as they were dead on their feet when the game went into extra-time.

Winger Ronnie Payne drilled in an early breakthrough before Barber powered home a header to score his hat-trick to send his side through.

A crowd of 99 watched this game that kicked-off at Bromley’s Hayes Lane at eight o’clock on a Monday night and finished at 22:33.

“We made hard work of it but no point in the game did I actually think we were going to lose it,” said Cray Wanderers manager Mark Dacey.

“We try to play the game the right way and sometimes you get caught out with that and we did and we’ll learn from it and eventually we broke them down so we’re happy.

“Because we play Wednesday and we play Herne Bay (in the Isthmian League Development South) and we play on Saturday as well, it’s a bit of a gruelling schedule especially as we’re away but we’ve got 21 players, we’ve got older players who will play.  I think the lads who just come off the pitch after that tonight and the adrenaline that they’ll be on, they’ll be buzzing to come and play on Wednesday.”

Payne released Deshon Carty down the left wing and he whipped over a deep cross for right-back Adam Bambrofee, who found acres of space at the far post only to be denied by a brilliant save at the near post from Holmesdale keeper Rashid Shefik.

“You know what, he’s a good keeper.  He’s got great distribution,” said Dacey.

“We should’ve taken our chances. We were standing in the dug-out saying if we’re not careful, we’re going to fall behind, we weren’t clinical enough in the first 15-20 minutes and that’s exactly what happened.”

Barber issued Holmesdale an early warning, stroking his left-footed free-kick dipping just over the crossbar from 25-yards.

Okorogheye then bulldozed his way into the Cray Wanderers penalty area before sweeping his shot just past the foot of the near post as he attempted to find the bottom near corner in the eighth minute.

Cray Wanderers won themselves a free-kick on the very edge of the right-hand corner of the Holmesdale box, but midfielder David Showemimo’s left-footed curling attempt just went around the far post.

Holmesdale went close to breaking the deadlock following their second corner of the night. 

Newbury-Treelock swung the ball in from the left and Ben Leeson came up from the back to plant his header over the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.

Holmesdale grabbed the lead with 29 minutes and 51 seconds on the clock through a player Barber knows very well.

Holmesdale right-back Diego Richardson burst into life as he cut in from the right and found Newbury-Treelock in a pocket of space and he let the ball roll across him and space opened up before he picked his spot, leaving the keeper rooted to the spot as he drilled his left-footed drive into the bottom right-hand corner from 16-yards.

“Joe Barber, who was our captain tonight got a hat-trick tonight and we know Josh really well. He’s been a player under me and Joe’s team-mate for a long time, they went to school together,” revealed Dacey.

“For us they had four dangerous players and we told everybody where you need to send everybody and unfortunately that one time we showed Josh inside and he showed exactly why he’s as clinical as he is.”

Cray Wanderers responded well and equalised with 34 minutes and 39 seconds on the clock.

Referee Tony Woods pointed to the spot after Leeson tripped Carty just inside the penalty area and Barber stepped up and his left-footed penalty nestled into the bottom left-hand corner, despite the keeper going the same way.

Dacey said: “I’ve had Joe since six years of age, I think we had maybe two or three years apart. He hits a ball so well and he is the penalty taker and the very few that he has missed have been great saves. It was never in doubt when he steps up and I think we deserved that goal after the way we played in the first half-an-hour.”

Cray Wanderers struck the crossbar in the 41st minute when Carty drove into the Holmesdale box and teed up Payne, who sent his shot from 12-yards crashing off the crossbar with his first time left-footed drive.

“It’s that old cliché, goals win games and you can be punished at any time if you’re not clinical enough,” admitted Dacey.

“In terms of everything else, I think we defended well. We didn’t create as many triangles as we would like. We went a little bit more direct but sometimes part of the game plan is just wear teams down.  If I’m honest, I was quite surprised how quickly they tired out considering their full-time.”

Poku fed Carty, who strode forward and unleashed a right-footed drive from 25-yards, which flashed just past the left-hand post before Holmesdale went close on the stroke of half-time when striker Spilane-Davis sent his free-header sailing past the far post after Taylor’s free-kick sailed in from the right.

Dacey admitted he knew his side would come through in the end.

“At no point did I feel we weren’t really in control and the chances we’re going to come,” he said.

“I said (at half-time), don’t give silly things away. They weren’t going to beat us, if anything we weren’t going to give them the game.  We knew that we could break them down. We knew if we were clever enough, we could pull certain players out of position and leave spaces and we just had to believe in that.

“It’s very easy to lose games when you try and play football because teams will press but these boys do it and they have done for years and it’s second nature, it's the only way we know how to play, it doesn’t always work but it did today.”

Holmesdale manager Simmons did not emerge from the dressing room before the 23:00 deadline so wasn’t interviewed.

The second half started at a frenetic high tempo and Cray Wanderers created the first opening in the seventh minute when Payne’s right-footed free-kick from 24-yards sailed over the wall and Shefik caught the ball at the second attempt at his near post.

Holmesdale left-back Nathan Daniels played the ball down the line to release Taylor, who played Newbury-Treelock on the overlap and he cut the ball back for Taylor, who curled his shot over the top of the far post, while off-balanced seven yards outside the corner of the box.

Holmesdale accepted a gift from a poor clearance from Cray Wanderers’ left-back Frankie Morgan, which fell straight at Okorogheye’s feet and he placed his right-footed angled drive across the keeper and into the bottom far corner from 16-yards, to give the away side the lead with 15 minutes and 30 seconds on the clock.

“It’s a disappointing goal for any team at any level to give away because there was no pressure,” said Dacey.

“We could’ve put it out for a goal-kick, we could’ve gone front man but lessons learnt.  It is what it is. We were unlucky but what that did that flicks a new switch and we got the reaction that we wanted.”

However, Cray Wanderers immediately went up the other end and equalised just 118 seconds later.

Set-piece specialist Lee Lewis swung in a corner from the left and Bambroffee hooked the ball back from where it came on and Barber was there to poke the ball through a crowded goal-mouth and over the goal-line from eight-yards.

Dacey said: “Great response! For me personally, we have the most respect for them, it was game over once we got to two-two.

“Fantastic reaction. They’ve got this heart that you don’t see that too often at this level.”

Holmesdale substitute Jack Gallagher almost embarrassed Cray Wanderers goalkeeper Tiwalade Fujimade in the 67th minute when he drove forward and clipped a left-footed shot from 25-yards, which slipped through the keeper’s hands above his head and bounced just past the right-hand post for a corner.

“Tiwalade ain’t had too much to do and I think sometimes that’s just him being a little bit switched off, a little bit cold and luckily we weren’t punished,” added Dacey.

The lively Newbury-Treelock called Fujimade into making a comfortable catch following his speculative right-footed free-kick from 40-yards as the game reached the final 10 minutes of normal time.

Cray Wanderers kept knocking on the door and created three chances that should have won them the derby.

“I think it was a case of they didn’t want to lose it and we were trying to win it and sometimes we allow ourselves to be a little bit more open for that to happen,” explained Dacey.

“I think the four players they had as a threat, three of them were taken off and the four boys that they brought on, as we know, it wasn’t something that phased us.”

Payne’s cross from the left was cleared out to Poku, whose half-volley from 25-yards bounced into the keeper’s hands for a comfortable save.

Carty released substitute left-winger Neil Spencer down the left-channel and he cut inside to curl his shot agonisingly around the far post from 16-yards.

But the glaring miss came three minutes and 39 seconds into time added on.

Lewis took a touch before whipped in a cross from the right and Spencer was guilty of not digging the ball out from under his feet inside the box and he twisted and turned his man before putting the ball on a plate for holding midfielder substitute Toby Bayliss, who skied his shot high over the bar from inside the D.

“Toby leaned back, he knows if he gets his head over the ball and he whips that far post, he’s got a chance,” said Dacey.

“I was right behind Neil’s one, if I’m honest, I thought he scored but they’re the fine margins sometimes.”

Holmesdale’s players were visibly dead on their feet as the game went into extra time and they were made to pay as they conceded two goals inside the first period of extra-time.

“I was worried about Wednesday,” explained Dacey. “The under 23s division is our priority because they don’t play 18’s anymore. The result wasn’t huge for us whether we went out or not. We just said to them at the end of the game just wear them down and mentally they were gone and we hadn’t.  If we got the next goal it was going to be done – and we did.”

Cray Wanderers sealed the victory by scoring a third goal just 110 seconds into extra-time.

Spencer passed to Payne, who beat keeper Shefik at his near post with an angled drive from the right-hand side of box from 16-yards.

“Payne being a big word! He was a nightmare to play against last year and that’s why we came and got him,” revealed Dacey.

“He was brilliant today, his work-rate off the ball was incredible and he really deserved his goal.”

Barber completed his hat-trick with a thumping header, timed at eight minutes and 21 seconds on the clock.

Lewis swung in a quality delivery from the right flank and Barber thumped his header into the roof of the net from inside the penalty area.

“This is the part where I leave you with him so he can tell you all about it,” added Dacey.

When asked about scoring a hat-trick as a central defender and captain, Barber replied: “Can’t really write it to be honest! If you said to me before the game I would’ve been like, no chance!  But things happen.  You have to trust what Mark says and what he sets out to do and that’s what you’ve got to go for and you’ve just got to keep going and keep your head down.

“They had good chances, we wanted to be more clinical but not every chance can be converted. We defended well when it mattered and that’s what’s pushed us over the line really.”

When asked what it meant by beating their neighbours from down the road, Barber said: “There’s a few boys, I know one of our players plays for them as well, school, everything, we’ve just got the bragging rights now. It means everything, next round, three goals, captain, that’s it!”

Holmesdale keeper Shefik pulled off a world-class save inside the opening two minutes of the second half, diving high to his right to tip over Payne’s right-footed free-kick from 30-yards, which otherwise would have sailed into the top left-hand corner.

Holmesdale kept plugging away and Newbury-Treelock’s free-kick was met at the far post by right-back Richardson, who headed wide, before the Cray Wanderers keeper dived to his right to produce a great save of his own to deny substitute Imran Kayani pulling a goal back from 25-yards.

The FA Youth Cup is a shop window for talented players to showcase their talents in front of large crowds and there was a scout from Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion at the game tonight.

Dacey said: “People turn out to watch and you never know whose here to watch.  I think maybe not so much these boys generation but definitely ours, The FA Cup was such a huge competition and the fact that they get to play in a game like that and it’s midweek and it’s under lights, it’s great. It’s special and we had some great nights in it last year and we’ve got another one tonight.

“I’m quite happy with that draw to be honest.  We played both for the last two years, haven’t been beaten. Whether it’s the same side, I’m not sure but I’ll put these boys up against anybody at the minute and we’ll give you a hell of a run for your money!”

Cray Wanderers: Tiwalade Fujimade, Adam Bambroffe (Toby Bayliss 70), Frankie Morgan, David Showemimo (Neil Spencer 55), Cameron Grant, Joe Barber, Lee Lewis, Deshon Carty, Kwaku Gyabi Junior (Robbie Daye 64), Kwame Poku (Ben Hullett 101), Ronnie Payne.

Goals: Joe Barber 35 (penalty), 62, 99, Ronnie Payne 99

Booked: Robbie Daye 109

Holmesdale: Rashid Shefik, Diego Richardson, Nathan Daniels, Omar Belazregue, Ben Leeson, Rylam John, Josh Newbury-Treelock, Tait Richards (Daniel Mamas 100), Luke Spilane-Davis (Leon Thomas 56), Ada Okorogheye (Imran Kayani 74), Alex Taylor (Jack Gallagher 60).

Goals: Josh Newbury-Treelock 30, Ada Okorogheye 61

Booked: Omar Belazregue 66, Nathan Daniels 86

Attendance: 99
Referee: Mr Tony Woods (Bexleyheath)
Assistants: Mr Ian Cowell (Dartford) & Mr Dino Mancini (Welling)