Cray Wanderers advanced to the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy after a tremendous performance saw off the challenge of Grays Athletic at the new Parkside stadium. 

The Wands needed a stoppage time equaliser on Saturday from Ralique Lawrence to force a replay from 0-2 down but they controlled the replay for the first half hour, took the lead through Lea Dawson’s header in the 11th minute and then produced a strong rearguard action which frustrated the homes side and Cray broke away well in the 66th minute with a superb finish from Michael Power, his 13th goal of the season, soaked up what Grays threw at them and now sets up a meeting with Moneyfields for the very first time.  The win stretched Cray’s unbeaten run to 11 matches in league and cups and also maintained their fine defensive record away from home which has seen them concede only two goals in their nine away matches.

Cray started well and early efforts from Zak Henry and Barney Williams were saved by Grays keeper Lamar Johnson before Cray took an early lead.

The Wands were awarded a free kick out 25 yards out on the right.  Michael Frieter lifted the ball into the box towards the far post where Lea Dawson rose highest to plant a header which hit the inside of the right post as Michael Power looked to turn the ball in and Johnson couldn’t prevent the ball going over the line.

Cray almost scored again when Frieter set up Michael Power who turned on the edge of the area and forced Johnson to get down to save.

Grays rallied before half time and efforts from Stanley Muguo and Adeyinka Cole were off target then James Folkes who fired wide when well placed.

The second half was a lively affair and Ralique Lawrence fired a shot wide and then Power made a great run from halfway but could only hit his shot at Johnson.  Cole went close for Grays before Lawrence shot wide once again.

The decisive second goal came in the 66th minute when good work by Lawrence and Frieter set up Power down the right of the penalty area who smashed a terrific shot high into the net. 

Grays almost got back into it a few minutes later when Callum Ibe hit a sweet volley which was met by a fantastic save from Nick Blue pushing the ball over the bar.

Cray saw out the remainder of the game and now move on to a double header of away games in the Isthmian South starting with South Park on Saturday followed by Hastings United on Tuesday night.

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Lea Dawson (Capt,), Zak Henry, Michael Frieter, Michael Power (Freddie Parker, 75), Ralique Lawrence, Jerome Federico (Kyron Lightfoot, 85):  Subs: Marcus Evans, Timi Osidobu, Karl Dent

Att: 152