Cray Wanderers 2-3 Sevenoaks Town - Today was a massive scalp for us, says Sevenoaks Town boss Micky Collins

Sunday 20th August 2017
Cray Wanderers 2 – 3 Sevenoaks Town
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 20/08/2017 15:00

The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
Sunday 20th August 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

SEVENOAKS TOWN boss Micky Collins says knocking Cray Wanderers out of The FA Cup is a massive scalp for the club.


The Oaks reached a personal best in the Second Qualifying Round last season, and Collins has pulled off another magical moment for the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division club.

Sevenoaks defeated Broadbridge Heath 3-1 at Greatness Park in the last round and have a 50% record in the league, beating relegated Chatham Town 2-0 before losing 2-1 at Cray Valley in what turned out to be James Collins’ last game in charge.

Cray Wanderers have drawn their opening two Bostik South games of the season so far.  They came away from Dartford with a 2-2 draw at Thamesmead Town, before coming away from Phoenix Sports with a goal-less draw in midweek.

Sevenoaks Town were full value for their 2-0 lead inside the opening 35 minutes courtesy of Tom Youngs and Billy Bennett.

Cray Wanderers pulled a goal back four minutes into the second half through striker Luke Medley’s first goal of the season.

Winger Youngs capped off an impressive performance when he chipped in his third goal of the season to put his side in the box seat.

Cray Wanderers were not going to give up without a fight and Freddie Parker, 16, scored his first goal in senior football in only his second substitute appearance but Sevenoaks Town held on for another memorable FA Cup victory.

“Pleased with it, really pleased,” said Collins after guiding Sevenoaks Town to another FA Cup upset.

“I thought the boys did well, hung on at the end, which is a typical Cup tie against a really good side. They play great football, a really good organised team.  We knew it would be difficult, I watched them in the week and I knew where their danger was and we had to nullify it, which we tried to and hopefully we had enough talent to go and get some goals and we managed to achieve it and get it over the line.

“I’m proud of the boys today, they delivered on the game plan that we had and we’ve managed to get it over the line, just.”

For Cray Wanderers manager Tony Russell his jinx in Cup competitions continues.

“I think it was a good game for the neutral, a bit open in the first half for my liking,” said Russell.

“First half we weren’t happy but second half I know it’s hard because we’re in a results business but sometimes you have to look at performances and how you’re playing and the response second half was very good. It was how I wanted us to play.  I thought we pinned them in and we had enough chances to win that game.

“Sevenoaks had one real chance in the second half – I can remember on the top of my head – and they took it and fair play and they go through and we don’t.”

This was a cracking FA Cup tie and the 162 fans inside Hayes Lane were treated to value for money.

“I’m glad it was. We’re two good footballing sides,” said Collins, who achieved the club’s highest ever league finish of third-place and silverware in the shape of the Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup last season.

“People have their critics about playing on plastic at times. You get the occasional odd bounce but you know if you play football it’s great to be able to showcase your stuff on it and they do and it suits them and it’s definitely suited Bromley this year (unbeaten after five games and second in the Vanarama National League table after beating Leyton Orient 6-1 and Hartlepool United 2-0 here in the past week) and it suits us.  It’s nice you see the ball being passed around on the floor and both sides scored some really good goals.”

Cray Wanderers won the corner count by 14-2 and visiting goalkeeper Craig Holloway pulled off a fantastic save inside the opening seven minutes.

Karl Dent’s corner from the left was cleared back to him and he hung over a deep cross towards the far post for Jay Leader, who jumped to plant his header towards the top right-hand corner from seven-yards, which forced Holloway to dive high to his left to claw behind.

Russell said: “Joe Vines (player-assistant) does a lot of work with the boys on the corners and there were a few there we got wrong and there were three or four off the line where we’ve headed the ball. They’re working. They’re causing trouble. We should’ve got more out of them. We should’ve scored from one of them, I think. We looked a threat when the ball was put in the right area. There were a couple that wasn’t great.

“The keeper’s made a couple of great saves. He’s had a few one-on-ones, he’s done a few reflex saves. He’s a good goalkeeper. He’s played at very good levels. He’s probably got man-of-the-match, I suppose today for them. I love that, goalkeeper’s usually get man-of-the-match against my teams.”

Collins said: “Great save! We knew he was good in the air.  We came out a little bit quiet and it was probably a little shock for us and then after that I thought we coped with him a little bit better from the set-pieces.”

But Sevenoaks Town grabbed the lead with seven minutes and 41 seconds on the clock.

Former Millwall midfielder Jimmy Rogers threaded the ball in behind to put Youngs through on goal. He rounded goalkeeper Nick Blue and kept composed to slot his right-footed shot into the bottom far corner from eight-yards.

DREAM START: Tom Youngs (blue) rounds Nick Blue to slot home to give Sevenoaks Town the lead at Cray Wanderers.
Photo: Alan Coomes

Collins said: “We thought with the pace we had up front coming from wide and going at them we might get into the spaces that they vacated.

“Youngie’s been on fire this season. You don’t play for Bolton Wanderers unless you’re a good player and he just needs a confidence boost and now he’s got it and you can see, he’s immense.”

Russell added: “I had Youngie at VCD but he was only a baby then. He only literally left Bolton. He’s good, very, very good, his movement was good.

“They probably started a little bit better than us.  I thought the goal wasn’t against-the-run-of-play. I thought they were probably edging it. 

“The first half was crazy.  It could’ve been four-all or five-all. I can imagine you sitting there scribbling and running out of ink in your pen.”

Leader was keen to play the ball out from the back, striding forward into midfield on many occasions, and he picked out Ben Mundele.  The right-back turned left-winger cut into the box and was thwarted by Holloway.

“Ben’s done well.  He’s a right-back and we’re asking him to play on the other side of the pitch but forward.  We got him in a couple of times, he’s very direct, his pace is good.  I said to Ben after the game, he’s come off the pitch today with the amount of chances he’s had and the areas he’s got into and not score a goal and he’s got to be disappointed with that because first half he could’ve got two or three and second half he got in some great areas.  Again to not come off with a goal, it’s cost us a little bit.”

Sevenoaks Town squandered a glorious chance to double their lead in the 11th minute but their big chance fell to a centre half and not an attacker.

Rogers played a free-kick into Harrison Carnegie’s feet in the middle and he played a reverse pass to play in Jack Miles, but he steered his right-footed shot past the foot of the near post from six-yards.

Collins said; “It’s a centre half in the box, unless it’s in the air, he’s got no chance has he? To be fair he scored a really good goal on Tuesday night, a cultured finish but Jack’s immense defending, he’s just a rock for a young lad. We’ve brought him through the ranks here. It’s amazing. Luckily we’ve got him on a contract.”

Russell admitted: “We were just all over the place a little bit.   We had 10-15 minutes where everything we spoke about, everything we said just went completely out of the window.”

Russell lost right-back Barney Williams to concussion and he had to be substituted so on came Marcus Evans to partner Leader at the heart of defence while Mitchell Nelson moved over to right-back, while Timi Osibodu stayed in a more defensive role at left-back.

“Coming into the game we had five missing,” revealed Russell.

“I don’t want to make excuses. Fair play and credit to Sevenoaks and good luck in the next round but when you’re missing Michael Power, Danny Haynes, Bradley Stevenson, Warren Whiteley and Dean Carpenter, they’re big players.

“I was nervous this morning, I’m not usually like that, having them out, I felt very vulnerable.

“Barney’s got concussion. He’s gone off. It doesn’t help when you’re already down to bare bones and then you put your centre half at right-back and you bring on a young centre half.  I thought Marcus Evans done very well when he came on but it was one of those days unfortunately.”

Sevenoaks Town put in an impressive performance in the first half and they created further chances to kill the game off.

Bennett pressed Michael Frieter in midfield and the Cray Wanderers man allowed the ball roll loose and Harrison Carnegie picked it up on the halfway line, ran forward, cut inside and curled his shot around the far post from 20-yards.

Collins said: “We might gain some possession off them and be able to pass the ball quickly and move them around and we were able to do that at times and then other times you don’t see the ball for 5-10 minutes because they’re so good at keeping it.

“We knew when we got the ball we had to use to wisely and late on we didn’t and that caused us major problems but as the game went on I thought we did.”

Dent whipped in some high quality deliveries from corners but his team-mates just couldn’t find the touch in front of goal, with Leader causing a nuisance in the air and Sevenoaks putting their bodies on the line to ensure Holloway was not beaten.

Sevenoaks’ right-back Stephen Camacho hung over a cross which was met by target-man Andy Irvine, but his towering header from 12-yards looped into Blue’s hands.

A low tempo to the game exploded into life when Sevenoaks Town striker Bennett finished off a fine move, timed at 34 minutes and 29 seconds.

Miles played the ball out of defence into Irvine, who held the ball up in the final third and he played the ball to Bennett, who swept the ball out on the left to Youngs.

Youngs played the ball inside for Bennett to place a first-time drive into the back of the net from 22-yards, past Blue’s dive to his left, which gave The Oaks a deserved two-goal lead.

Striker Billy Bennett (right,blue) scored 23 goals for Sevenoaks Town last season and here he gives his side a 2-0 lead at Cray Wanderers in The FA Cup.
Photo: Alan Coomes

“We played Andy Irving today, we went with a big man to try to nullify them a bit and give us a bit of a pivot to play off and he received the ball, gave us a pivot and we then had good runners and we got runners off it and we slipped Bill in and Bill’s cool as a cucumber in that position and he slots it home. It was a good goal, good football actually.”

Russell added: “Bill’s a good player. I went to VCD the first time around and it was tricky for him because his dad (Ricky) had just left.  I would’ve liked to have kept him but he wanted to go to Herne Bay, I think at the time.  I think he’s a good player. Lea Dawson hasn’t tracked his marker and he’s showed a load of composure in the D and passed the ball into the corner. It was a nice finish, it was a nice move for them.”

Carnegie cut inside and set-up Youngs, but his first time shot wasn’t as good as Bennett’s and rolled into Blue’s hands from 20-yards.

A mistake from Sevenoaks’ left-back Greg Benbow gifted a chance for Brandon Scott, but the winger drove his low shot against Holloway’s legs from eight-yards.

“When you get two footballing sides, the game is going to get opened up and people are going to create things.  You’ve got a lot of good footballers out there that create stuff and they’ve got pace and power,” said Collins.

“When you’re in the dug-out it’s nerve wracking to watch it when you’ve got something at stake. It is a pleasure to watch. I went to watch them the other night and they’re a pleasure to watch and Phoenix had to be on their mettle to get a draw out of the game.

“We edged the result, whether we were the better team on the day, I’m not too sure about that.”

Holloway gathered the ball bravely at Dawson’s feet, as he tried to poke the ball over the line after Dent floated in a free-kick from the left.

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.

Russell revealed he was not happy inside the home dressing room.

He said: “I was not happy. I was fuming, angry.  I didn’t go mad. I let Vinsey talk first because sometimes when you’re so angry you sometimes can end up making noise and not much information so I asked Vinsey if he could speak first and it will give me a couple of minutes to chill and gather my thoughts.

“I didn’t see the point of talking about what happened. I wanted to talk about what’s going to happen from this point on. 

“I felt this game wasn’t over.  We could open them up whenever we wanted and I felt we could still win the game.  I didn’t think there was anything there to bother us, just as long as we did our jobs.”

Collins added: “Don’t switch off. Two-nil’s the worst score in the world, everyone knows that. If they get the next one we’re up against it and keep doing what we’re doing. We don’t have to go gung-ho but don’t drop off and don’t invite them on because they’re too good and they will hurt us.

“So they went out and let a goal in straight away and then you have to look at a game plan and you bounce back from conceding and we went up the other end and got the third.”

Cray Wanderers dominated the entire second half as they forced Sevenoaks Town on the back foot.

The breakthrough arrived with only three minutes and 47 seconds on the clock.

Once again Leader was the driving force as he advanced, played the ball down the left to Mundele, who cut the ball back from the by-line for Medley to slam his right-footed shot to beat Holloway at his near post from six-yards.

Russell said: “I thought second half we were excellent. It’s how we play. We pinned them in, then we got to work.  We were moving the ball around. We were getting the ball wide. We had pace coming at them. We looked like we were going to score. We were better, that is how we play.”

Collins said: “We said at half-time, we don’t want the centre halves to come up the park too far and go around people and it’s a good little football goal but we’ve allowed that to happen and I wasn’t happy about that but it’s how we react then.”

Holloway was called into action shortly afterwards, backpeddling to push over Frieter’s right-footed drive from 30-yards after he received the ball from the busy Dent.

Russell said: “It was a good shot. It was one of those if it had went in you’ll be disappointed with the goalkeeper but he was nice and positive. That’s what we spoke about, getting some shots off. Let’s get some crosses in, shots, we were trying to walk it in sometimes in the first half.”

“Good save, that was moving, really good save. He kept his eye on it, waited for the right moment and tapped it over. I was quite pleased with that,” said Collins.

“To get him is amazing. We’ve been friends for a long time and he still wanted to play. Things didn’t work out for him at Greenwich and he became available. It’s not just his goalkeeping. It’s what else he brings. He’s an ex-pro, he’s experienced, he’s been at every level and he’s a good lad and he’s a winner.

“He’s not come here just to make the numbers up. A lot of people drop down levels and just turn up for the wrong reasons and he’s certainly not one of those.”

Sevenoaks Town were hanging on to dear life and they missed an opening to make the game theirs in the 63rd minute.

Bennett played a diagonal pass along the deck over to Youngs, who had freedom to charge forward. He skipped past the keeper but the ball clipped his heels on the edge of the penalty area and his foul on Evans killed off the chance.

Collins said: “It was like the Keystone Cops. It was good that we got in again the way we wanted to. Unfortunately for Tom, he lost it underneath himself and not been able to put it away.  The way he played today, he deserved three goals because he was quality when he was on the ball.”

Russell added: “When you find yourself 2-1 down in a Cup game, you’ve got to commit which allowed us a little bit short at the back.  Youngie’s gone through and he’ll be disappointed. He had an excellent game. He was their brightest spark on the pitch, probably him and Holloway will be arguing who was the best player. He was very good.”

Dent was producing great deliveries from set-pieces and Dawson’s header flew straight at Holloway, before Sevenoaks Town killed the game off with pure quality, timed at 23 minutes and 19 seconds.

Central midfielder Paul Springett played the ball down the left channel for Youngs, who cut inside to dink his right-footed shot over the goalkeeper, dropping in just inside the far post from 18-yards.

Collins said: “Great composure.  The guys got a bag of tricks in his feet but that was….Everyone panicking in that situation would try to smash it or try to place it but he’s gone for the ridiculous little dink and you don’t get to play the levels that kid’s played unless you’re a good footballer. He’s just lost his way a little bit but looks for some confidence and hopefully we’re giving him that opportunity and he’s loving his football and that’s what he produces.”

Russell said: “We filmed the game so I’ll need to have a look at it.  I can’t understand, he’s got so much room. He’s turned around and he’s got the freedom of Bromley to just come in and flick one over.  I think we could all finish that if we’ve got so much time.

“I’m looking at our reaction from that and our reaction was good. We kept coming back and we didn’t give in.  We spoke about it at half-time, how are we going to finish the game whether we win, lose or draw? 

“It was all about us, all giving everything we’ve got until the last minute of that game. When you’re 3-1 down, against-the-run-of-play, that’s come out of nowhere when it was all us, but we haven’t given up.”

It was then backs against the wall for Sevenoaks Town as Cray Wanderers threw the kitchen sink at them.

Dent released Scott, who done several step-overs on the right hand side of the penalty area but lacked end product as his low angled shot from 18-yards was held by Holloway.

Cray Wanderers gave themselves hope by scoring the last goal of an enthralling game, timed at 34 minutes and 30 seconds.

Frieter put in a cross from the right and Parker (who was playing just behind the front two) glanced his header across Holloway, the ball kissed the far post before nestling into the back of the net.

Russell said: “Freddie’s 16. It probably tells you where we’re probably at, at the moment. For how good I think Fred’s going to be a very, very good player, but at the moment you’re asking a lot for a sixteen-year-old at this stage of his young career to come on.”

Collins added: “It was game on. We just had to hang on. At 3-2 are we going to get another goal? Probably not. But can we hang on? Have we got enough mental stability to hang on and with a bit of luck, I don’t know how any of them stayed out but they did and we’ve managed to win the game rather than it just ended up a draw.”

Blue caught Youngs' dipping right-footed free-kick from 25-yards in a rare sight of goal for Sevenoaks Town.

Frieter put the ball in the box again and the ball fell at Mundele’s feet and his low shot from 10-yards was gathered by Holloway.

Dent raced forward and cracked a right-footed angled drive, which screamed around the top of the far post and Dent skipped past Holloway but his shot was cleared off the line and Sevenoaks, somehow, survived a goal-mouth scramble.

“That would’ve been a great goal,” Russell said of Dent’s near-miss.

“He drove us on, he wanted to get on the ball, picked up the ball, bounce a little one-two. That goal would’ve been unbelievable.  He’s driven past two and hit the ball as clean as a whistle, the problem was it was just bending away.”

Collins said: “Unfortunately I haven’t got any hair so I’m not going to lose any but that’s football. We’d expected to do the same if we were 3-2 down, we would’ve thrown everything at it to try to get an equaliser.

“But I’m glad you said it. For the neutral it was a great game to watch, good. That’s what The FA Cup is about.   It pits teams who are lower against teams that are higher, sometimes there’s a shock and today there’s been one.

“Neither of us are going to win The FA Cup, probably not. We took some big scalps last year and today that’s a massive scalp for us because they’re going to be up there this year.  They will be in and amongst it and to come to their place and get a result, was great.”

When asked about tomorrow’s draw, Collins replied: “I’ll be happy with home, it doesn’t matter who it is and it will just be nice to be at home and get a big crowd on a Saturday for Sevenoaks Town again and hopefully we can pack the place out and do them proud again irrelevant of the result.”

Russell added: “If you’re going to lose a game, that’s how you lose a game. You give everything you have and if you’re a supporter you can almost accept that when you’re team have given everything, we threw everything at them and credit to Micky and Sevenoaks they withstood that and they go through. 

Sevenoaks Town have now banked £3,425 in FA prize money by getting through two rounds and Russell admitted: “It’s me and Cups, I’m jinxed.  Every club could do with that extra bit of money, it helps everyone out and I apologise to the club stopping that avenue going through but it wasn’t for the want of trying.”

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Barney Williams (Marcus Evans 14), Timi Osibodu, Michael Frieter, Mitchell Nelson, Jay Leader, Ben Mundele, Lea Dawson, Luke Medley (Freddie Parker 73), Karl Dent, Brandon Scott (Anthony Adesite 87).
Subs: Joe Vines, Sean Law, Dean Carpenter

Goals: Luke Medley 49, Freddie Parker 80

Sevenoaks Town: Craig Holloway, Stephen Camacho, Greg Benbow, Jimmy Rogers, Jack Miles, Corey Holder, Harrison Carnegie (Brett Ince 73), Paul Springett, Andy Irvine (Byron Walker 66), Billy Bennett (Darren Marsden 66), Tom Youngs.
Subs: Marvin Okundalaiye, Joe Bingham

Goals: Tom Youngs 8, 69, Billy Bennett 35

Booked: Stephen Camacho 58, Paul Springett 68, Craig Holloway 90

Attendance: 162
Referee: Mr Shaun Farrer (Reigate, Surrey)
Assistants: Mr Luke Chapman (Horley, Surrey) & Mr Oliver Westgate (Horley, Surrey)

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