Cray Wanderers first ever FA Trophy 3rd round tie ended in defeat as  Dartford advanced into the 4th Round after a purple patch of three goals in six minutes before the half hour turned the cup tie in the National South side’s favour.

A quick fire brace from Jake Robinson in the 24th and a 27th minute penalty put the Darts in the driving seat and on the half hour Danny Leonard stole up from the back to slot home a well taken third.

Cray though battled hard through three rounds to advance to the 3rd Round and never gave up and deserved the goal scored by midfielder Jai Reason fifteen minutes from time and threw everything at the Darts goal to try and to force a dramatic final to the game.

Both sides were affected by Covid enforced absences but the game was played at  a good pace and keenly contested.  Cray created the first big opening of the afternoon in the fourth minute when from a corner down the right, Kyel Reid’s ball to the far post was met by the head of Fjord Rogers but bounced off the top of the crossbar.

After a short spell of sparring, the game began to blossom from the 20th minute and Jamie Yila showed good tenacity and perseverance to win the ball outside the box, turn and from the left of the area saw a shot deflected past the left post by Vint.  From the corner, keeper Dan Wilks had to push the ball away under pressure.

Shortly after Jai Reason saw a shot charged down on the edge of the box and then did well after a short period of pressure, Reason set up Reid for a shot from just outside the area which went wide of the right post.

In the 24th minute and slightly against the run of play Dartford forged ahead when a fine ball from Noor Husin was  played through to Jake Robinson who bore down on goal but Bailey Vose did well to spread himself to block the shot. Dartford were quick to the follow up and the pacey and rangy Tyrique Hyde down the left kept the ball moving and set up Robinson who from the left edge of the area placed a shot wide of Vose and into the bottom right.

Cray needed to regain their composure but three minutes later Dartford were awarded perhaps a rather harsh penalty when down the right of the area Hyde was adjudged to have been clipped from behind by Marvin McCoy. From the spot, Robinson confidently struck his second of the afternoon.

On the half hour it was 3-0 and seemingly the end of the tie when Robinson this time was provider as his ball into the area was deflected off a defender towards Hyde who glanced the ball towards the right of the box to Danny Leonard who strode up from the back to hit a half volley into the bottom left corner.

Cray started the second half positively and a ball in from the left by Reid towards the far post was glanced off target by Yila.  Then from distance the hard working Rogers lashed a shot well over.

Dartford were still a threat going forward and Jebb set up Kedman down the left of the area and his first time shot was well held by Vose.

Then there was a good passing move down the left and Jordan Wynter found Kedman and his zippy cross towards the far post found Robinson who on a hat-trick skewed his shot across goal and wide of the left post.

Cray continued to seek a goal to put them back in the game and came close when down the right a great cross from Sam Skeffington was headed past the left post by Yila.

Just after the hour the game was starting to get stretched and for Dartford, Robinson set up Sonupe was saved by Vose. At the other end, Andy Drury who had a terrific, industrious game setup Reason for a shot from 25 yards which was saved by Wilks.

In the 75th minute Cray scored the goal their performance merited as Vose won the ball from a corner and threw the ball out Yila down the left and then found Reid who laid the ball across to Reason who crashed home an unerring finish from the edge of the area to make it 3-1 with still a fair bit of time left.

Dartford should really have made it 4-1 shortly after when a Leonard cross from the left was headed over by Dan Roberts who was slightly on the stretch.

The Wands were just running out of time but came close to a second goal in injury time when from a free kick on the right of the penalty area, Yila’s ball into the area was met by Drury but Wilks did well to save and following up Drury went down in the box seemingly under a challenge but no penalty was given even though he picked up a knock which forced him off towards the end.

Not for the first time in recent weeks, Cray perhaps didn’t get the just rewards for their performance with the result but certainly there was a lot to compliment the side on their display and against a very good side who are legitimate promotion contenders from the National South can be proud of their showing and during the competition as a whole which saw the club break new ground.

Cray's next game is on Monday 27th December at home to Margate, 3pm ko.


Cray Wanderers:  Bailey Vose, Kasim Aidoo, Dean Beckwith, Marvin McCoy, Jack Hanson, Andy Drury (Erald Desa 90+4), Sam Skeffington, Jai Reason, Kyel Reid, Jamie Yila, Fjord Rogers (Danny Kedwell 64).  Subs: Eniola Hassan, Silas Donkor, Daniel Mountain


Att: 473