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MATCH REPORT

Southern Counties East Football League

7-Oct
FAV 
Cray Valley PM

2
v
2
Tunbridge Wells
    (Hill, Harvey)       (Izokun, Hunt)  
   
After Extra Time- Cray Valley PM win 4-3 on penalties

Cray Valley PM made it through to the First Round of the Macron SCEFL Challenge Cup following a hard fought penalty shoot-out, Preliminary Round win over Tunbridge Wells at Badgers on Wednesday evening.

Millers keeper Stevie Sutton, earlier the villain of the piece, proved to be the hero of the night after saving Nick Graham’s spot kick to send the Millers through to a home tie with tenants Erith Town.
But the match started with both teams forcing a number of corner kicks early on but the first real sight of goal didn’t arrive until the 21st minute.

Alex Chambers, making just his third appearance of the season following an injury lay off since April, found himself with time in the Wells penalty area but, falling backwards, he snatched at the opportunity and stabbed his shot wide of the goal from 12 yards.

Rory Hill fired a free kick over the Wells goal before Chambers drove a shot straight at visiting keeper Steve Lawrence as chances were at a premium with two evenly matched sides cancelling each other out.

The complexion of the tie completely changed though just before the break as the Wells grabbed two opportunistic goals to put them in control.

The lively Ehis Izokun was giving Millers captain Tommy Osborne the run around and when Izokun picked up the ball on the left wing in the 41st minute, Osbourne stood off the winger who took the opportunity to advance towards the penalty area. As Izokun reached the corner of the box, Osborne was still failing to close him down and Izokun hit a shot with the outside of his right foot that curled away from Sutton to settle in the far corner of the Millers goal.

And just two minutes later, it got worse for the Millers as Sutton’s attempted clearance from a back pass bobbled over his foot and Ben Hunt won the race for the loose ball to toe poke home from close range.

The Millers needed a quick response and it arrived just 4 minutes into the second half.

Lawrence pushed away Chambers’ effort and as the Millers regrouped, Luke Harvey saw his shot blocked by Lawrence but Rory Hill was hand to guide home the rebound.

The Millers upped the tempo in search of an equaliser while the Wells were using their pacy front men to counter attack. Hill stung Lawrence’s fingers with a driven free kick before Izokun drove a shot into the side netting at the other end.

And the Millers were back on level terms after 67 minutes after Lawrence slipped and stumbled as he attempted to clear from his penalty area. The loose ball travelled no more than 5 yards sideways and Harvey was quickly on the ball to hold off the challenge of the last defender to run the ball home.
Kieron Tarbie had to make a last ditch tackle on substitute Taylor McDonagh before Harvey was inches away from connecting with Greg Benbow’s cross as the Millers pressed.

Luke Saggers, a substitute for the tiring Chambers, headed over from a Hill free kick before Izokun fired a shot across the face of the Millers goal as the Wells pressed forward in the final minutes.
Harvey then had a chance to wrap up the match in the final minute but from 8 yards, he shot straight at Lawrence and the match went into extra time.

Chances were few and far between in the extra 30 minutes with Hunt shooting straight at Sutton before a storming run by Hill into Wells penalty area saw his low cross turned goalwards by McDonagh but Lawrence safely gathered the ball at his near post.

Harvey thought he had won the tie for the Millers with just four minutes of extra time remaining as he slotted past Lawrence from close range but play was brought back by an offside flag and the match went to a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

Luke Harvey and Jamie Lawrence both tucked away their spot kicks before Adam Gross fired his kick wide of the target.

Ben Hunt and Rory Hill then scored before full back Kieron Tarbie saw his attempt pushed away by Stevie Sutton to keep the Millers in the shoot-out at 2 each.

Tommy Osborne scored with his kick before the Wells’ Ehis Izokun blasted over the bar to give the Millers the chance to secure the win but Steve Lawrence saved Greg Benbow’s effort before Ollie Cooke scored to send the tie to sudden death.

Jimmy Rogers held his nerve to plant his kick safely in the corner before Sutton dived low to his right to push away Nick Graham’s spot kick to send the Millers into the next round by 4 goals to 3.
Paul Gross’ team will now need to rest up before making the trip to Crowborough Athletic on Saturday, which, with no Premier League or Championship fixtures due to Euro 2016 Qualifiers, is this year’s Non-League Day and we look forward to a bumper crowd at the Community Stadium.

Come On You Millers!