Report: Cray Valley 0-2 Whyteleafe
After the midweek league victory away to Chichester City, the Leafe were in Emirates FA Cup action on Saturday, away again, this time to take on our Bet Victor Isthmian South East rivals, the Paper Millers from the Valley of Cray or rather, Cray Valley PM!
Sounds rather exotic, the Valley of Cray, although the very neat little ground is situated just off the South Circular Road in Eltham! Freshly promoted to our league this season, Cray Valley (last season’s FA Vase finalists) have started the season impressively, so would provide a stern test for Harry Hudson’s Leafe side. Presenting an even bigger challenge to both sides was the weather. The match was played in paint-stripping 32-degree heat and as a result the pace was quite slow.
Having said that Cray came out of blocks pretty fast and a raid down the Whyteleafe left saw Cray’s speedy wing back, Denzel Gayle, hit the post with a fierce shot. Thereafter, Leafe controlled the game with the impressive, Corie Andrews, opening the scoring in the 24th minute from 18-yards out.
The Leafe contingent, mostly sheltering in shade under the little stand behind the Cray goal held their breath in the 33rd minute when Ronnie Sobowale shaped to take a free kick some 25-yards out, having seen his blockbuster free kick smash the back of the net on Tuesday evening. This time he didn’t catch it cleanly but still hit a swerving, dipping shot that called for a smart save, low down to his right, from Cray keeper, Andrew Walker.
After the much-needed interval both teams did their best to conserve energy in sweltering heat and Cray mounted several attacks looking for the equaliser, but their final ball let them down every time. Leafe’s defence played very well, with Jamie McGeoghegan once again impressing in central defence alongside Corey and Nathan.
Quick word for regular centre-half Ricardo Thompson, who due to injuries was pushed into a central midfield role on Saturday and looked very much at home putting in a sterling effort. Some awful defending saw Leafe stretch their lead in the 75th minute, Cray’s left back gifting the ball to Jordan Clarke whose smart shot was beaten away by the goalie only for them to repeat the error, this time via their centre back, very shortly after, although this time, Leafe midfielder, Antonio Walker-Barth made no mistake beating two defenders ten yards out and sticking his shot past a beaten Walker in the Cray goal.
So, a 2-0 win Leafe, and our Emirates FA Cup journey begins again. Although it’s too soon to get measured up for cup final suits, a modest bottle of Blue Nun (other varieties of alcoholic grape juice are available!) was probably enjoyed on Saturday evening. The romance of the cup, eh?
WHYTELEAFE LINE-UP – 1 Tyler McCarthy 2 Mannie Mensah 3 Matt O’Donoghue 4 Nathan Campbell (capt) 5 Jamie McGeoghegan 6 Corey Holder 7 Corie Andrews (sub 16 Bentley Graham 60’) 8 Ricardo Thompson 9 Ronnie Sobowale (sub 15 Tyrese Sutherland 51’) 10 Jordan Clarke (sub 14 Antonio Walker-Barth 45’) 11 Renedie Masumpu.
Subs not used: 17 Adam Aziz 18 Martin Sontan 19 Jack Fuell
Scorers: Corie Andrews 24 & Antonio Walker-Barth 75
Booked: Corey Holder & Jordan Clarke