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Cray Wanderers 2-3 Bromley
3:58pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in Sport
TOM O’Connor broke Cray’s hearts with a 93rd minute winner for landlords Bromley in a five-goal Hayes Lane Kent Cup thriller last night.
Two goals from Cray striker Tommy Whitnell were not quite enough to cause an upset in the second round tie as new Wands management team Keith Bird and Mickey Paye made a losing start.
Bird and Paye were Bromley’s reserve management team until Friday before replacing Ian Jenkins at the weekend following his dismissal after 14 years in the role.
And they wasted no time in ringing the changes, fielding eight debutants in Cray’s starting XI.
Seven of the new boys were Bromley reserve players under Bird, the other being 17-year-old keeper Charlie Grainger, who is on loan from Leyton Orient.
Bromley gave first starts of the season to keeper Joe Welch, O’Connor and Luke Turner, whilst their bench was made up of entirely youth and academy players.
The Lillywhites opened strongly and Erskine dragged an effort wide with only Grainger to beat before the keeper made a good save from Brendan Kiernan minutes later.
Bromley opened the scoring on nine minutes when Danny Waldren headed home at the far post from a corner.
Joshua Kennedy was denied by Welch saving low down at the post before the Lillies keeper did well to punch away an Alex Stavrinou corner to quickly recover and smother Kennedy’s follow-up.
A long pass over the top picked out Whitnell and, with only the keeper to beat, the centre forward screwed his shot wide.
Elliott Buchanan’s 30-yard drive bounced back off the underside of the bar, Waldren’s dipping free-kick went narrowly over the bar and Shamir Mullings headed wide as Bromley looked to increase their lead.
However, poor defensive work in the 43rd minute allowed Cray to level the scores when Whitnell crashed home from 10 yards.
Grainger did well to push Ashley Nicholls’ 20 yarder away early in the second half before Cray went ahead on the hour.
Yet again poor defensive play played its part, allowing Whitnell to fire home and giving Welch no chance.
Cray continued to threaten but Bromley gradually came back and after Erskine had blasted a good chance wide, they levelled the scores on 74 minutes.
Kiernan seized on a loose ball, quickly put Erskine in on goal and the burly striker made no mistake this time.
Bromley might have gone ahead with eight minutes remaining when O’Connor was denied by Grainger.
From the corner Eamon Gaughan’s rising effort was just over.
Welch came to the rescue of Bromley with two minutes remaining, firstly pushing around Dimitri Larin’s volley and then brilliantly tipping over Dan Hughes’ close range header.
Just as it looked as though the game would go to extra-time, Cray’s hearts were broken as Welch quickly cleared his lines to Erskine, whose long cross-field pass put O’Connor clear on goal.
As Grainger advanced, the youngster kept his head to calmly stroke the ball under the Wands keeper to give Bromley victory.
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Bromley: Welch, O’Connor, Turner, Nicholls, Smith, Waldren (Gaughan, 46), Kiernan (Degiorgio, 88), Buchanan, Mullings (Hibbert, 78), Erskine, Swallow. Subs not used: Gallagher, Bozyigit
Cray Wanderers: Grainger, Larin, Al-Asmpan, Day (Clarke 90), Orome, Talbot, Kennedy, Barden, Whitnell, Stavrinou, German (Hughes 46). Subs not used: Fray, Coleman, Anibaba. Att: 203.
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