Cray Wanderers marked their competitive return to football after lockdown 2 by advancing to the 2nd Round of the FA Trophy after coming from a goal down to win 3-1 and make it through to a trip to St Albans City on Tuesday 15th December.

This was Cray’s first game since October 31st and the last round of the competition at Whitehawk while Uxbridge played a bit more recently with a 2-1 win at home to Hayes & Yeading United on November 3rd.

Uxbridge were very lively early on and almost scored in the opening seconds when Callum Bunting went through on goal but was denied by a block from the legs of Lewis Carey.

This was followed by Mahlando Martin playing the ball down the right of the area to Elliot Poley whose near post effort was blocked by Carey and behind for a corner which the Wands keeper had to push away.  Still early on, the red shirted home side posed a threat and Martin and Alex Paine combined to set up Mark Goodman who curled a shot wide of the left post.

In the 12th minute, Uxbridge took the lead with a goal their early play merited when some neat passing in midfield ended with Alan Hedley playing a pass through to Martin who bore down in goal and as Carey went down to block, took the ball away from the keeper and stroked the ball into the net.

Three minutes later, Cray were back on level terms with a well worked goal of their own as down the left Tom Carlse found Jason Banton who cut into the box and squared the ball across to the far post to Rhys Murrell-Williamson who unselfishly laid the ball into the six yard box where Joe Taylor rifled in his 12th goal of the season.

Cray now had their tails up and Charlie Allen who was playing at right back found Taylor who turned on the edge of the area and looped a well struck shot just over the bar.

The game then had a brief five minute respite to draw breath and Cray then went in front in the 27th minute, when Freddie Parker found space and played a pass to Murrell-Williamson again down the right of the area. His ball across to Taylor was left for Parker whose shot was blocked but following up Banton fired home clinically into the top left corner to make it 2-1 to Cray.

It looked like Cray had put real daylight between the team in the 37th minute when Banton’s cross from the left fell to Taylor whose shot was saved and Parker reacted quickest to fire into the net via a defender’s hand on the line but was ruled out for an offside call.

The second half continued to be competitive and was a proper, hard fought cup tie with both sides playing well.

Uxbridge who made a couple of half time changes threatened down the right and Martin’s ball into the box fell to Hedley who swung to shoot and his effort was charged down.

Then from a free kick to the left of the penalty area, Goodman’s shot was saved and the follow up from Mark Bitmead went just wide of goal.

For Cray, a terrific pass from Carlse sought out Banton down the left who broke into the area and he was met by a smart blocked save from Tobin for a corner. Then Murrell-Williamson who worked so hard all game, drove over the bar from 25 yards.

In the 64th minute Cray scored a third goal when another star performer on the night, Kyron Richards found space in midfield and played a sublime pass through to Taylor who bore down on goal down the right of the area and from 10 yards placed the ball under Tobin’s legs for a class piece of finishing.

Cray looked to score again and from a Parker corner down the left, his cross was met by a header from Mitchell Nelson which was cleared almost off the line by Mark McLeod.

Then Parker set up Murrell-Williamson down the right who cut into the box and curled a shot which seemed to slowly drift just past the left post. 

Cray though were looking lively going forward and came close to scoring when Bradley Pritchard and Banton combined to set up Taylor who couldn’t quite get the ball to sit to get a shot out but found Banton down the left of the area who flashed the ball across the box and behind.

In the 80th minute, Uxbridge were given a chance to get back into it when substitute Martin Onobaghbe was deemed to have brought down Toby Little inside the area.  From the spot, Little stepped up to take it but his shot was met by a strong one handed save from Carey who pushed the ball out to keep Cray 3-1 in front.

In the end with the cold rain falling steadily and after four minutes injury time, Cray saw out the win which takes them into round 2 and a trip to National South St Albans City next Tuesday with the prize of a home tie against Sutton United awaiting the winners.


Cray Wanderers:     Lewis Carey, Charlie Allen, Mitchell Nelson, Jay Leader, Tom Carlse, Rhys Murrell-Williamson (Jerome Federico, 83), Kyron Richards, Bradley Pritchard, Jason Banton (Emmanuel Oduguwa, 89), Freddie Parker, Joe Taylor:  Subs: Barney Williams, Karl Dent, Roman Hall

Att: 102