Extra-time defeat for Chichester makes it a Cray day

CHICHESTER were eliminated from the FA Vase in an action-packed contest against Cray Valley Paper Mills.

Fortunes changed several times before the Kent visitors eventually grabbed two goals in extra-time to secure a 5-3 victory.

City fell behind on seven minutes when Adam Marsh’s cross bobbled in the goalmouth before Lewis Wood knocked it in.

But after 24 minutes it was 1-1. A clearance from the Cray defence only got as far as Josh Case, who returned a curving 20-yarder that crept just inside the post with keeper Matt Bailey not even moving.

City went ahead when the roaming Frazer Smith drifted across midfield and struck a deflected shot in the 36th minute.

However, the Millers fought back with two goals early in the second half. Pressure from Wood enabled Michael McKenna to stab in the equaliser on 53 minutes, and nine minutes later a long ball that travelled the length of the park ended with Wood cheekily clipping it past the oncoming Anthony Ender.

In the 65th minute, Smith made it 3-3, chipping past the keeper after another of his dangerous runs, and from the restart Ender had to be alert to tip over a whizzing shot from the centre circle.

Chichester’s resources were badly stretched during the latter stages, with both centre-backs forced off and reserve goalie Matt Dann having to come off the threadbare bench and play outfield.

Despite this, Cray defender Ben Nealey almost gifted the game to Chichester when his over-powered back-pass required a dramatic save from Bailey.

Finally, the tie was decided in a hectic two-minute spell during extra-time. Nealey made a goal-line clearance to deprive City, and the ball went straight to the other end where Tunde Aderonmu converted. Moments later, Jamie Wood bagged Cray’s fifth and it was effectively all over.

The last act arrived with six minutes remaining when Corey Heath fouled Marsh, but Ender blocked the resultant penalty and then denied Marsh again when he rushed forward to try and follow up.

CITY: Ender, Heath, Madden, Boniface, Cody, Case, Groom, Blatchford, Gromett, Ansa, F Smith. Subs: Boulton, Dann, Chittock.

Chichester host Pagham on Saturday.

CHESTER BROWTON