Report Whyteleafe 2 Cray Valley 2
Report from Brian Davis
Whyteleafe (2) 2 Cray Valley (0) 2
Hibbert 28, 40. Hasler 59, 90(+3)
Leafe dropped their first points of the season to a very late equaliser from a talented Cray side who worked hard to pull back a two-goal deficit at half time. Omari Hibbert, back from injury, scored twice as he had done on each of his previous appearances and it was a boost to have him back after injury. A bumper crowd of 287 turned up to see unbeaten Leafe and also to get tickets for the big cup match on Tuesday against National League South side Concord Rangers.
Leafe had the first chance when Jamie McGeoghegan broke away from defence and split the visitors defence. Aaron Watson was first to the ball but shot wide as Andrew Walker advanced and narrowed the angle.
Cray then had a period of dominance. Ade Yusuff missed from close range and a shot from Denzel Gayle was blocked by Bentley Graham, the ball bouncing off his foot and over the bar. Tyler McCarthy then made a good save to tip over a free kick from Sammuel Hassler.
Leafe then scored against the run of play, and had a great spell, finding the net three times although one was given offside. The first came in the 28th minute following a strong run from Ryan Gondoh, who sent Hibbert clear and he shot past Watson into the net.
Two minutes later Hibbert found the net again, converting a cross from Dami Olorunnisomo but it was ruled out for offside.
McCarthy then made a good save to deny Ade Adeyemo before Hibbert struck again in the 40th minute, this time scoring after good work from Watson who found him on the edge of the area.
Cray were easily the best side Leafe have faced this season and pulled a goal back in the 59th minute when a partially cleared corner fell to Samuel Hasler who fired home a low 25 yard shot into the bottom corner.
Cray played some excellent football and it was McCarthy who made several good saves to preserve Leafe's lead. One save from Yusuff with his feet when he was clean through and looked favourite to score. Graham also blocked another shot on the line
Leafe held on until late in the game but conceded a free kick on the edge of the box in the 3rd minute of stoppage time. It was somewhat controversial in that it was taken well back from where the foul was committed thus gaining a much better angle to shoot at goal. Hasler struck it well, finding a gap in the crowded defence to claim a share of the points.
Although this was a disappointing end to the game it is fair to say that Cray thoroughly deserved something from the game. Leafe now have two big cup games, the FA Cup 3rd Round Qualifying on Tuesday and another home match with Cray next Saturday in the F A Trophy.
Leafe; McCarthy, Thompson, Olorunnisomo, Graham, McGeoghegan, Douglas, Mensah, Orome, Watson (Walker-Barth 82), Gondoh (Ceesay 45), Hibbert (Scott Palmer 62). subs not used Dennis, Atkinson.