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MATCH REPORT

Southern Counties East Football League

10-Oct
SCEFL
Crowborough Athletic

4
v
3
Cray Valley PM
               

After the euphoria progressing in the FA Vase and League Cup in the last seven days, Cray Valley PM came crashing back down to earth with a sixth consecutive away League defeat at the hands of Crowborough Athletic on Saturday.

Despite being twice in front in this match, the Millers away hoodoo in the League continued as the Crows scored twice in the last ten minutes to seal a dramatic 4-3 win for the home side.

The Crows took the lead after just nine minutes, after new signing from Erith & Belvedere Byron Walker, had forced home keeper Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke into an early save.

But the Crows went up the other end and Scott Treleaven, despite being surrounded by defenders on the corner of the Millers penalty area, was allowed to get his shot away, which curled around Stevie Sutton to nestle in the far corner of the goal.

The Millers though pressed forwards with Taylor McDonagh looking dangerous on the right wing as Jimmy Rogers and Rory Hill pulled the strings in midfield.

And it was from a McDonagh through ball that sent Walker scampering past the home defence to slot the ball past the out-rushing Stroomberg-Clarke to equalise after 18 minutes.

Hill fired a shot just past the outside of the home goal as the Millers enjoyed possession and they increased their lead after 22 minutes.

Ryan Sawyer hit a high ball towards the Crows penalty area and as Stroomberg-Clarke and Dan Tear came out for the ball, Walker jumped in between them to head the ball over the stranded keeper and into the unguarded net from the edge of the penalty area.

The Millers then relaxed their grip on the match and allowed the Crows to press forward. Jon Shea’s dangerous cross was hacked away before Brad Potter had to clear from Sam Carrington, with home support claiming a penalty but the referee saw nothing but a very good, and clean, tackle.

Luke Harvey saw Stroomberg-Clarke turn his shot around the post before Sutton did the same at the other end, turning away Carrington’s shot as the team’s swopped opportunities.

The home side levelled things up after 37 minutes though as a Callum Ridley free kick from the left was delivered deep to the far post. Centre half Jason Hollick headed the ball back across the face of the goal for Carrington to head the ball into the goal from six yards.

Adam Gross hit a free kick for the Millers over the bar before Sutton again had to clear from Carrington but could only watch as Ridley, thankfully, fired the rebound wide.

Just before the break, Greg Benbow’s cross was headed goalwards by McDonagh but the ball was hacked clear as Harvey looked to divert.

Just after the restart, Walker was blatantly pushed in the back on the edge of the Crows penalty area as he looked to be in the clear, but the referee allowed play to continue as the ball was hacked clear and Carrington put the ball in the net only for the ‘goal’ to be ruled out for offside.

The Millers were again enjoying the majority of the possession but chances were coming and going as Benbow’s cross flew across the face of the goal without getting a touch from anyone before Hill burst into the box from Harvey’s pass and from a tight angle, his shot took a deflection before hitting the outside of the post and going out of play.

Walker then saw a shot deflected into the grateful arms of Stroomberg-Clarke before Sutton palmed away Shea’s stinging effort. Walker saw another shot blocked before putting the rebound over the bar. Carrington then got himself between Sawyer and Sutton but headed wide as the match, still poised at 2 all, swung from end to end.

Moments after player/manager Paul Gross entered the field of play, brother Adam Gross delivered a corner kick from the right hand side and Harvey came off the post to glance a header into the goal to put the Millers back in front with just about 15 minutes remaining.

The Millers then went for the kill and Stroomberg-Clarke denied Harvey, blocking the striker’s powerful effort before Paul Gross’ miss-hit effort from 12 yards rolled agonisingly wide of the far post.
The Crows though, held their nerve and hit the Millers with the ultimate sucker punch to claw their way back on level terms in the 81st minute.

Sutton’s clearance was headed back into the Millers half and Carrington, looking at least a couple of yards offside as he walked back towards the half way line, looked up and saw that the linesman was happy to see play continue.

Now in the clear, Carrington lifted his shot over the advancing Sutton and into the goal.
Buoyed by this slice of good fortune, the Crows took advantage in the 87th minute as Scott Treleaven hurled a throw-in towards the near post. Carrington flicked the ball on and Ridley, unmarked at the far post, had the simple task of tapping the ball home from close range.

The Millers tried in vain to grab a late equaliser as another Adam Gross corner kick missed everyone as the ball flew across the face of the goal before Walker’s cross was contested by a posse of players at the far post. The ball dropped to a standstill, almost on the goal line and as everyone stopped and waited for someone to put the ball in the net, no-one did and Stroomberg-Clarke was relieved to be able to fall on the ball and secure the win for his team.

The Millers remain in 15th place in the League table after this defeat but have played one match more than the four teams below them, who are all now within 3 points of Paul Gross’ team.
The Millers will now be looking to keep away from the danger area of the League table by picking up three points from Wednesday evening’s fixture at Badgers with AFC Croydon Athletic who themselves, are just one place and two points above the Millers.

Come On You Millers!