Cray Wanderers made it through to the last 8 of the Kent Senior Cup for the first time since 2010-11 with an excellent victory against Dartford at Hayes Lane.

A Wands side featuring a number of younger players and those looking for more game time took the game to the National South league leaders and the star of the show undoubtedly was Ralique Lawrence who got perhaps a surprise callup to the starting lineup.  He built on the brief cameo at Thamesmead in the previous round where he earned and scored a penalty with a classy hat-trick with a header, a near post flick and a composed finish to claim the match ball.  

Cray got off to a cracking start and took the lead in the 6th minute.  The ball was worked down the left following a throw in and the ball came to Aaron Rhule who put over a fine cross into the box where Lawrence did well to get between the central defenders to plant a header wide of keeper Tony Coxall and into the net.

In a cracking game both sides had chances to scorer before Dartford levelled with a goal which came out of nothing as a ball out from the left found Toby Ajala in space who rifled home an unstoppable shot from nearly thirty yards which gave Jordan Carey no chance.

The Wands though kept going and had the opportunity to retake the lead when Lawrence was played through down the right of the penalty area and his effort was blocked by Coxall.  Following up, Lawrence was bundled over by Ronnie Vint for a penalty kick, despite Dartford protestations.  Michael Power stepped up to convert the penalty in the 41st minute.

However, Cray were caught again barely a minute later as a ball forward was flicked into the path of Mfula who did well to find himself some space and tuck a shot into the net to make it 2-2 which is how it stayed at the end of an excellent half.

If Cray started the first half well then they began the second even better.  In the 49th minute Cray were awarded a free kick out on the left some 18 yards from goal.  Dent floated a delicate ball towards the near post where Lawrence showed a predatory instinct to get to the ball before a couple of defenders to guide the ball into the net.    

What Cray needed was the comfort of a two goal lead and they duly did so with another well worked goal in the 54th minute.   Ben Mundele found the tireless Lawrence out on the right of the area and the ball came off a Dartford defender to Rhule who unselfishly held the ball up before finding Lawrence who turned past a defender before showing great composure rolled the ball into the net from ten yards.

Cray were able to hold off any Dartford comeback and deservedly take their place in the last eight.

Cray Wanderers: Jordan Carey, Ben Mundele, Timi Osidobu, Marcus Evans, Mitchell Nelson, Zak Henry, Dean Carpenter, Karl Dent (Capt.) (Michael Frieter, 73), Michael Power (Freddie Parker, 59), Ralique Lawrence, Aaron Rhule (Bradley Stevenson, 63):  Subs: Lea Dawson, Joe Vines

Meanwhile on Monday night, Cray Wanderers had an impressive victory in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup as Mark Dacey’s side were 3-1 winners at Tooting & Mitcham United.

They took the lead in the 7th minute when Freddie Parker struck from just outside the area and the ball went in under the body of the goalkeeper.

Cray scored again three minutes before half time when Parker set up Deshon Carty with a fine finish down the left.

Tooting & Mitcham pulled a goal back just after half time through Halil Mehmet but the two goal lead was restored in the 64th minute before Kwame Poku made it 3-1 converting from Ken Charles’ cross.

The only blot was a red card for captain Kyrique Garvey Williams in the last minute for a push out on the right touchline.

Team:  Tiwa Fujimade, Micah David, Alfie Young, Kyrique Garvey Williams, Ben Hullett, Joe Barber (David  Showemimo, 76),  Kwame Poku, Deshon Carty, Freddie Parker (Robbie Daye, 84) Ken Charles, Akan Kasab (Max Ash, 61): Subs:  Stan Hitchcock