Cray Wanderers interest in the FA Trophy came to an end as two late goals settled a tight cup tie in Canvey Island’s favour at the Frost Hire Stadium.  In a game that didn’t really reach any great heights Cray had the better of the chances in the ninety minutes but two goals in the last seven minutes from Frankie Merrifield put the Essex side through to the 1st Qualifying Round.

On a warm and pleasant if slightly breezy afternoon, Canvey started well and Martin Tuohy came close in the tenth minute with a shot which Nick Blue made a fine one handed save.

Cray came into it and had a good spell before the half hour and Junior Dadson saw a near post shot saved by Harry Palmer who also did well to tip over Sean Roberts deflected shot.  Then Jay Leader’s goalbound header was cleared almost off the line and Ben Mundele drove narrowly wide of the left post from Jerome Federico’s pass.

Before the break Tuohy set up Josh Hutchinson for a header which Barney Williams cleared off the line.

The second half offered a bit more in terms of chances and a Tom Phipp free kick was pushed away by Palmer while Dadson fired just over and Freddie Parker’s shot was held by the keeper. 

Barney Williams then fired wide for Cray and saw a left wing corner hit the top of the crossbar and go behind.

It looked like a replay was beckoning with both defences on top but in the 83rd minute Canvey went ahead when Marlin Agyakwa exchanged passes with Tuohy down the right and his chipped shot was goalbound but Merrifield was on hand to turn the ball over the line.

Cray almost levelled in the first minute of stoppage time when Phipp drove a shot wide but two minutes later Canvey grabbed a second when Williams back pass was slightly underhit and Merrifield pounced to take the ball round Blue and put Canvey through.

Cray remain top of the Isthmian South-East and return to league action on Saturday at Herne Bay.    

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Barney Williams (Capt), Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Tom Phipp, Sean Roberts, Malik Solebo, Freddie Parker, Junior Dadson, Jerome Federico (Karl Dent, 85): Subs:  Iffy Onwuachu, Zak Henry, Marcus Evans, Joe Vines.

Att: 207