Cray Wanderers 2-0 Hastings United - We've got to believe that we're a good side, says Michael Paye

Sunday 19th October 2014

The FA Trophy Preliminary Round
Sunday 19th October 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

CRAY WANDERERS joint-manager Michael Paye says he got his tactics spot on after knocking Hastings United out of The FA Trophy.

It was a good day for the Ryman League Division One North strugglers as goals from strikers Ian Daly and Shaun Welford (penalty) inside the final thirteen minutes secured a home tie against Faversham Town in the First Qualifying Round on the first day of November.

The club also banked £2,500 in prize money; kept a clean sheet and attracted their largest crowd of the season at Hayes Lane.

“I’ve got to say, I think right from the off we had our tactics sorted out,” said Paye, who is joint-manager alongside Gary Abbott.

“I think that worked very well. We sat in nice and patient. We didn’t get edgy or anything like that and got our just deserts from Ian Daly, who scored a great goal and Shaun (Welford) got the penalty in the 90th minute.

“It was pleasing that we kept a clean sheet. We had Darren (Behcet) injured before in the warm-up so our number two keeper had to come in and kept a clean sheet and done very well.”

Cray Wanderers, who were in the bottom three with 12 points from 16 games, made five changes to their side that were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Soham Town Rangers eight days ago.

Hastings United arrived at Hayes Lane sitting in eighteenth-place in the Ryman League Division One South table with 18 points from 15 games and had won their last two games.

The Wands were to be denied after only 86 seconds when central defender Chidi-James Williams-Agunabor was denied his first goal for the club.

Isa Hussein swung in a corner from the right, which was punched away by Josh Pelling at his near post and Hussein put the ball back into the box and Williams-Agunabor saw his hooked volley from eight-yards blocked by the keeper.

Williams-Agunabor, an arrival from Vanarama Conference South landlords Bromley, received the plaudits for an excellent display alongside Nick Humphrey at the heart of the defence.

Paye said: “He done very well. I think the boy is only seventeen. He’s been plunged in there because of injuries and he’s done well and he’s in there on merit now instead of just cover.

“He’ll keep his place, if fit, for Wednesday against Aveley.”

Hastings midfielder Tim Olorunda gifted the ball to Welford, who drilled his left-footed angled drive towards goal from just inside the corner of the penalty area, which was pushed around the post by the diving Pelling.

“It was a good start. We had them watched and they said basically they come out of the traps really quickly so we had to match them and I think we did,” said Paye.

“We never made any mistakes, which is what we’re making on 20-25 minutes. We’ve been making silly, sloppy mistakes but today we didn’t.”

And from the resulting corner, Hussein cut the ball back to Rory Hill, who screwed his shot harmlessly wide of the near post.

Both sides were trying to play a passing game on a bobbling Hayes Lane pitch, which was staging its 50th game of the season and it’s third in a 24-hour period.

“It’s going to be one of those things,” said Paye.

“Bromley are kind enough to let us co-host here and we’re the tenant and we’ve got to put up with what they say really.

“I think they’re good hosts and they do look after us. It’s lovely to be able to play with such great facilities.”

The game then turned into a midfield battle with Cray Wanderers creating two decent chances in the final seven minutes of the first half.

Hussein cut back their sixth corner of the game to right-back Giannoulis Fakinos, who played a couple of one-twos and Hussein’s weak right-footed angled shot from sixteen-yards rolled into Pelling’s hands for a comfortable save.

Welford won Cray Wanderers a free-kick and Hussein’s left-footed free-kick was tipped over the crossbar by Pelling’s outstretched arm.

Paye said: “He’s come in and he’s one of those players. We’re leaving him out, he’s in, he’s out but I think what’s happened he’s forcing his way into the side. We’re finding it very hard to leave him out to be honest with you. He’s quality is very good.”

Cray Wanderers squandered another excellent chance to unlock the two sides on the stroke of half-time following their eighth and last corner.

Hussein swung in a corner from the left and Michael Phillips’s free-header sailed narrowly wide of the far post.

Paye said: “Michael Phillips has been a great plus for us. He’s come in from Maidstone and I think he’s starting getting us ticking in the middle of the pitch a little bit, which is great.

“He’s one of these players that gets in and nips in front of people. He’s done really well to get in front but he should hit the target and he hasn’t.”

Hastings United failed to register a single goalscoring opportunity during the first half, but they did win seven second half corners.

“That says it all! I don’t think they had too many in the second half to be honest with you,” said Paye.

When asked what he wanted from his troops for the second half, Paye replied: “Just keep doing what you’re doing. We set out that we was going to shut them higher and press them high and the boys carried out our instructions to the letter basically and it worked so it was just literally carry on, lots more of the same.”

A poor goal-kick by Pelling was played back to him by his captain Sam Adams and Pelling’s clearance was charged down by the advancing Welford, the ball flashing just past the post.

But Hastings United created their first chance in the 48th minutes.

Midfielder Kevin Keehan played a sublime diagonal pass to release Kenny Pogue  down the left and he drilled his left-footed angled drive towards the far post from 12-yards, which stung Taylor’s hands to make a comfortable catch.

Vanarama Conference South side Ebbsfleet United are interested in Pogue, who plays in an advanced position on the left and has scored six goals this season.

Understudy Taylor was playing his seventh game of the season and looks to keep his shirt for Wednesday’s visit of Aveley.

Paye said: “He’s got away down the left hand side and he’s got a good strike away to be fair to him but Nick’s positioning was spot on.

“We’ve always not had the two goalie’s here but now we’ve got one or two and they’re really good keepers and they’re going to be fighting for the positions now.”

This sparked Hastings United into life and they enjoyed their best spell of game, creating some decent chances to take the lead.

Adams drilled in a corner from the right and striker Ade Olorunda peeled off his marker to flick his free-header over the bar from ten-yards after 56 minutes.

Former Cray Wanderers and Hythe Town winger Taser Hassan had a quiet afternoon out on the right but he found himself in a central position but hit his left-footed shot on the turn from 22-yards, which sailed over the crossbar.

Right-back, Richard Rose swung in a corner from the left and Ade Olorunda sent his towering header over the crossbar from eight-yards.

Another Hastings chance arrived in the 68th minute when Rose’s swung in another corner from the left and Ade Olorunda’s downward header forced Taylor to dive at the foot of his near post to make a smart save.

“It’s going to happen,” added Paye.  “They had their little five or ten minutes in the second half with the wind against us as well so I was just very, very pleased the boys kept concentrated and we done just enough to keep a clean sheet, which is good.”

Hastings United’s best chance of the game arrived with eighteen minutes remaining.

Adams stroked a right-footed free-kick from 35-yards towards the roof of the net and a back-peddling, diving Taylor, pulled off a great save, tipping the ball over the bar with his outstretched right hand.

Paye added: “I think they had a free-kick, which Nick made a great (save).

Cray Wanderers made a double substitution with 20 minutes remaining and Kerry Kedze made a good impression.

Kedze played the ball inside to Daly, who took a touch, turned and drove a left-footed shot across Pelling and past the far post from the edge of the box.

But Daly’s sixth-goal of the season gave Cray Wanderers the breakthrough with thirteen minutes left.

Winger Kedze looped in a right-footed cross from the right which was sailing out but Welford worked to retrieve the ball before cutting the ball back to Daly, who took a touch and drove a low left-footed drive across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from sixteen-yards.

Paye said: “Ian had one chance a bit earlier and he tried to put Ishmael (Welsh) in and I said to him at half-time, a bit of magic here is going to win this game for us and I turned out to be right.

“I had a go at him for not shooting in the first half. He’s got a lovely, sweet left foot, get it away and he did and it was a great finish.

“I was very pleased how patient we was, how well we played. We was under a bit of pressure but we didn’t panic. We kept it tight at the back and we got our just deserts today I think, which hasn’t been happening every week.”

Hastings’ final opportunity saw good link up play between substitute Bright Temba and Adams and Phillips got a block in to ensure Keehan’s left-footed drive from 20-yards looped over for a corner.

Cray Wanderers wrapped up the victory with a second goal at the death.

Welford picked the ball up and burst into the penalty area and was brought down by Sean Ray and referee Craig Green pointed to the spot.

Welford stepped up and slammed his low right-footed penalty straight down the middle to score his seventh-goal for the club.

“He’s gone straight through the middle. There was no one who was going to take the penalty off him. As soon as he went down I knew he was going to be taking it. To be fair he took the penalty well.”

Welford has the last chance of the game but drilled his first time shot harmlessly wide after being played in by substitute Abidgmi-Qudus Bolaji.

Paye was delighted that the club scooped the £2,500 in prize money and can now look forward to hosting Faversham Town (who won 4-0 at Beaconsfield SYCOB yesterday) on 1 November.

“It’s been a very good day for us,” said Paye.

“It (the prize money) is great, the club needs it obviously. We got knocked out of The FA Cup early, which was disappointing for the club.

“We’ve got Faversham at home here so you never know, we could get a little bit of a run, that would be lovely.

“Faversham are going to be a good side but I think we’re a good side. We just need to believe. We just need to start believing that now. We’ve got some great players here and they’re starting to gel.”

Cray Wanderers’ two largest crowds at Hayes Lane have fallen on a Sunday and more Kent clubs should opt to play on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons to put more bums on seats.

Paye said: “It’s something that myself and the chairmen have had a chat about but we have to do what Bromley say.  It’s just a little bit of an eye-opener really that you can see what you can get crowd wise when no-one else is playing.”

Cray Wanderers should not be in the relegation zone with the players that they have on their books.

Looking ahead to Wednesday’s home game against tenth-placed Aveley, Paye knows his side must start fighting their way up the league table.

“We’ve got Aveley down here now so hopefully we can continue in the same vein, hopefully get another clean sheet and start turning the corner now.

“I keep sitting here and keep saying that we should have done that and we should be there and we should be this.  Well, unfortunately we’ve got to do our talking on the pitch and hopefully that’s what we’re going to start doing on Wednesday.”

Cray Wanderers:  Nick Taylor, Giannoulis Fakinos, Marlon Patterson, Nick Humphrey, Chidi-James Williams-Agunabor, Isa Hussein (Abidgmu-Qudus Bolaji 70), Rory Hill, Michael Phillips, Shaun Welford, Ian Daly, Ishmael Welsh (Kerry Kedze 70).
Subs: Adrian Stone, Steve Springett, Gary Beckett

Goals: Ian Daly 77, Shaun Welford 90 (penalty)

Booked: Ian Daly 83

Hastings United: Josh Pelling, Richard Rose, Mitchell Hand (Sam Cruttwell 54), Kevin Keehan, Sean Ray, Marc Pullan, Tim Olorunda (Ronnie Dolan 64), Sam Adams, Ade Olorunda, Taser Hassan, Kenny Pogue (Bright Temba 81).

Booked: Mitchell Hand 27, Sean Ray 42

Attendance: 218
Referee: Mr Craig Green (Aldershot, Hampshire)
Assistants: Mr Amadou Jallow (Brookwood, Surrey) & Mr Michael Coen (Worcester Park, Surrey)