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MATCH REPORT

Southern Counties East Football League

3-Oct
FAV 
Banstead Athletic

2
v
6
Cray Valley PM
            Harvey 4, Hill, P Gross  

Full Time from Merlaand Rise

Cray Valley PM eventually eased into the draw for the First Round Proper of the FA Vase after 4 goals from striker Luke Harvey helped the Millers to a 6-2 win against Banstead Athletic on Saturday afternoon.

After a faced paced and even opening 10 minutes, the Millers took the lead as a corner kick was turned back out to Adam Gross by Rory Hill. Gross’ drilled in cross found Harvey and his header looped over Colin Harris in the Banstead goal.

The Millers then camped in the home half of the pitch and Hill saw a thunderous shot deflected wide before Harvey got himself beyond the A’s defence but as Harris came to meet him, Harvey placed his shot wide of the near post.

But the home side responded and after a scramble following a corner kick, Zac Nightingale fired narrowly wide before play returned to the other end and Gross saw his shot palmed away by the busy Harris.

The A’s stunned the Millers after 26 minutes and found a way back into the match as a deep cross to the far post found Sean Bradley who looped a header back over Stevie Sutton and just under the crossbar.

And it got worse for the Millers two minutes later as a through ball dissected the visitors defence and Sean White was left with the easiest of chances to put the A’s in front.

The Millers were quickly back on the front foot though and Alex Chambers, making his first start of the season following injury, was felled on the edge of the A’s penalty area by Ashley Thompson, to earn the defender a yellow card. Adam Gross hit the resultant free kick narrowly over the top of the goal.

Chances came and went for the Millers as Hill and Alwayne Jones were both close with shots before Harvey grazed the top of the goal with a header from another Gross delivery.

The opportunities continued to arrive for the Millers in the second half as Chambers shot wide before Harris made saves to deny Harvey and an acrobatic effort from the effervescent Chambers.

Harvey grabbed his second goal of the match on 54 minutes as he slid in at the far post to convert Hill’s driven cross to put the Millers back on level terms as the Millers started to dominate.

Chambers and Harvey both went close again before Greg Benbow saw his chip land on top of the netting as the Millers pressed forward.

Harvey thought he had completed a hat-trick after 61 minutes as he volleyed home at the far post but a linesman’s flag cut short his celebrations.

Bradley fired a shot wide as the home side made a rare foray into the Millers half before Jimmy Rogers fired over. Matt Robinson planted a shot over the Millers goal as the home side briefly threatened.

With 20 minutes remaining, Harvey looked to break into the A’s penalty area but Thompson’s rash challenge brought Harvey crashing down and the referee immediately showed a second yellow to the A’s defender and then sent him from the field of play.

To compound the A’s misery, Rory Hill smashed the resulting free kick past the defensive wall and a flat footed Harris to put the Millers back in front.

Joe Nwoko, returning to the club after a spell this season at Redhill, replaced the tiring Chambers and made an almost immediate impact. Receiving the ball inside the A’s penalty area, three defenders were drawn towards him like moths to a flame. Seeing no way through for himself, Nwoko calmly played the ball sideways into the path of Harvey to fire a shot across Harris and into the far corner of the goal to complete his hat-trick.

But Harvey wasn’t finished yet. After Jones flashed a shot just wide and Harris pushed away a Hill effort, Harvey grabbed his fourth of the match in the 82nd minute.

Again finding space in the A’s defence, Harvey shot past Harris at his near post before being replaced by player/manager Paul Gross.

And in added time, Gross put the gloss on the Millers victory with a sixth goal, calmly slotting the ball past Harris after collecting Hill’s inch perfect through ball.

So at the sixth attempt this season, the Millers get a victory on the road and score six in the process. But as Paul Gross said after the match, “It’s great that we have finally won away from home, but we need to get more consistency into our game.

“Although the FA Vase is a fantastic distraction from the League, we are not where we want to be in the League table and we have to start picking up points to get away from the danger zone.

“Today I thought we were ok at times and the players were trying to take the leather off the ball with every shot they made and I think that’s a sign that they are just trying too hard to make things happen.

“Credit to Banstead today. They are a young side but once they went down to 10 men and Rory put away the free kick, their heads went down a bit and we were able to take advantage but I’m happy to be in the draw for the next round.”

That draw for the First Round Proper of the FA Vase takes place at Wembley Stadium on Monday and will be published around lunchtime. We’ll let you know who we get as soon as it’s available.

But it’s more Cup action for the Millers as Tunbridge Wells visit Badgers on Wednesday evening for a Macron, Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup, Preliminary Round tie.

Full Time from Mead Lane

Farnham Town 1 Cray Valley PM 3 (Saggers 2, Chandler)

Come On You Millers!