Cray Wanderers vs Kingstonian – Match Report
FA Youth Cup 3rd Qualifying Round – Friday 14th October
Pics: Jon Hilliger/www.hilligerpix.com
Cray Wanderers 1
Murphy 2 mins
Noguera Leon 19, 22
Haigh 50, Minkyu 65
Ilhan 90+2, 90+3
Cray Wanderers’ hopes of reaching the 1st Round of the FA Youth Cup for only the second time came to an end despite a sterling effort against a strong and well oiled Kingstonian side.
Cray got off to a flyer with a goal in the 2nd minute headed in by Alfie Murphy but Kingstonian were quick going forward and turned the game around with two goals in three minutes from Iker Noguera Leon and led at half time. Cray battled hard but Kingstonian were sharp with their finishing and Marco Haigh made it 3-1 five minutes after half time. In the 65th minute it was practically game over when Minkyu Ji scored from close range. The Wands plugged away gamely but there was a rather harsh gloss on the scoreline with two more Kingstonian goals in stoppage time both scored by Rocco Ilhan.
Cray had advanced through two dramatic penalty shoot outs against Dulwich Hamlet and Glebe but this looked on paper the toughest test to date against a Kingstonian side which beat Ash United, Worthing and Horsham en route to a clash with the Wands and a potential 1st Round tie at Charlton Athletic.
An early evening downpour of rain made the pitch nice and slick and with Neil Smith and Tim O’Shea in the dugout Cray got off to an excellent start with a goal with just two minutes on the clock. From a free kick out on the left, Reggie Rye’s ball into the box led to hesitation from the goalkeeper and Alfie Murphy was on hand with a header to turn the ball into the net.
The match was very competitive from the start and there were one or two really strong challenges going in but the game was allowed to flow and Kingstonian began to show their quality going forward. They came close to levelling when from a free kick down the left of the area, Haigh’s shot was curling towards goal but Tom King made a great save to push the ball out and Noguera Leon shot over the top.
Cray continued to pose a threat and almost scored a second goal when after a patient passing move the ball came to Reggie Rye twenty yards from goal who fired a shot just past the right post.
Kingstonian levelled in the 19th minute although there was perhaps a hint of offside in the buildup as the ball was played through to Noguera Leon down the right, cut to the byline and into the box and fired into the net.
Three minutes later it was 2-1 to Kingstonian as Noguera Leon scored his second with a superb shot from 25 yards down the right to turn the game around.
For Cray, Murphy who had a great game shot wide and Kingstonian having taken the lead perhaps sat back a little for the remainder of the half but Minkyu Ji fired over from a free kick and Haigh shot wide after being played through by Noguera Leon.
At half time Kingstonian led 2-1 after a high octane first half.
The second half began with Kingstonian coming out of the traps quickly and five minutes after the restart scored a third goal. The ball was worked down the left and Minkyu’s cross found Haigh who netted with a deft header.
Kingstonian came close to a fourth when Minkyu’s free kick hit the cross bar and the follow up was headed over the bar by the K’s no 6.
There was a concern when Fraser George collided with the Kingstonian keeper and had to have treatment before the game resumed.
Kingstonian scored their fourth goal in the 65th minute when a Noguero Leon cross from the right fizzed across the box and the return cross from the left found Minkyu Ji who steered the ball in from close range.
The young Cray Academy team have only been going a few weeks kept their heads and never at any stage let their heads drop, kept their shape well and plugged away in the closing stages to reduce the arrears.
Cray were unlucky when a fine cross from Murphy down the left to the far post was turned over by Tom Dunn.
Noguera Leon on a hat trick saw a shot come back off the crossbar for Kingstonian while at the other end from a free kick out on the left, Reggie Rye’s curler was heading for the top corner but the K’s keeper made a great save pushing the ball over one handed. Then Murphy made a strong run forward but shot wide of the left post.
The game at this stage was won but Kingstonian were not finished and in the second minute of stoppage time scored a fifth when Noguera Leon’s shot was well saved by Tom King pushing the ball out but K’s kept the ball alive and the ball into the box was prodded in by Rocco Ilhan from three yards out.
A minute later Ilhan found space inside the area to score his second and Kingstonian’s sixth goal which perhaps put a harsh look to the scoreline. Kingstonian deserved the victory but Cray Wanderers can take a great deal of pride and new valuable experience not only from this game but the run in general and a brand new team, still gelling and getting to know each other have performed admirably in cup tie conditions to reach the 3rd Qualifying Round. If the team can stick together this time next year they will be in a better place to kick on and perhaps go even further in the competition as the quality is there.
Tom King, Kamron Holmes-Lewis, Lucas Vazquez, Bobby Parkes, Frankie Forrester, Danu Mayland (Rocco Batman, 10), Leonard Rye, Reggie Rye, Alfie Murphy, Fraser George (Tom Dunn, 58), Perazim Daniel (Renaldae Brown, 53): Subs: Ronnie Wickes, Luke Frost, Reggie Dempsey, Pierre Feffett