Cray Valley (PM) 4  Northwood 3

Tuesday 19th September 2023


1 Andrew McCorkell    
2 Teddy Stacey    
3 Deago Dunbar Bonnie    
4 Carl Stewart    
5 Luke Tingey ©    
6 Harry Gallagher    
7 Osaretin Otote (85m)    
8 Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway    
9 Godlove Oppong (53m)    
10 Sam Jenkins (110m)    
11 Kofi Anokye Boadi    
12 Ben Crowder (110m) (115m)    
14 Harry McCorkell    
15 Romario Jonas    
16 Luke Brophy (85m)    
17 Dan Williams (53m)    
18 Jack Smith (115m)    
19 Matt Messer    

Cray Valley:
Sam Freeman, Barney Williams, Arthur Lee, Mohammed Idris Oshilaya , Denzel Gayle, Sonny Black, Freddie Parker, Jensen Grant (Adam Coombes 72m), Matthew Vigor, Kyrell Lisbie (Calvin Ekpiteta 113m), Clement Asiedu


Northwood’s Emirates FA Cup dreams were ended for another year after a further 120 minutes were needed to settle this epic tie with the Millers finally prevailing on a pulsating night of cup football at the Artic Stadium.

There was one change to Woods’ starting eleven with Dan Williams having to settle for a place on the bench having failed to recover sufficiently from the injury he suffered in the first game, Sam Jenkins slotting in behind central striker Godlove Oppong.

Northwood were quickly into their stride as Oppong’s slide-rule pass almost played in Kofi Anokye-Boadi for an early chance but he was crowded out by the home defence. And the hosts were soon on the attack in a familiar vein as a long ball from Clement Asiedu set Matthew Vigor free down the left channel with the latter despatching the ball into the opposite corner of the net to give his side a seventh minute lead.

The Millers threatened to increase their lead as Kyrell Lisbie was denied by the legs of Northwood keeper Andrew McCorkell. But having recovered from the early setback, Woods began to piece some useful moves together with the lively Anokye-Boadi having a header from Teddy Stacey’s deep cross cleared away in the six-yard box before Jenkins latched onto quickly taken free-kick only to be denied by a smart save from goalkeeper Sam Freeman.

Northwood’s bright spell continued as Oppong began a move as he combined with Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway before getting on the end of Deago Dunbar-Bonnie’s hanging cross with his header dropping narrowly wide of the upright. And Woods levelled matters after they won an indirect free-kick on the edge of the box, Dunbar-Bonnie rolling the ball to Harry Gallagher, whose sweetly struck shot arrowed beyond Freeman with 34 minutes on the clock.

Woods deservedly went into the break on level terms after they successfully negotiated a late corner with McCorkell comfortably gathering a header from Arthur Lee. But the visitors had some more defending to do immediately after the restart as the pacy Lisbie surged into the Northwood box but was denied by another fine save from McCorkell.

PHOTOS by Dave Budden

Woods were forced into a change on 52 minutes as the unfortunate Oppong succumbed to the ankle injury he suffered in the first half after being on the receiving end of a poor challenge that went unpunished, with Willams his replacement. And the substitute was quickly into the action as he drew a save from Freeman.

The Millers remained a constant threat with their direct approach with Freddie Parker spurning a golden opportunity as he mishit a close-range shot after been set up by Lisbie. However, it was Northwood who put their noses in front for the first time in the tie as Gallagher continued his goalscoring run with his second of the evening as he headed home from Dunbar-Bonnie’s far post corner on the hour mark.

The hosts responded by putting Northwood under a spell of sustained pressure, McCorkell performing more heroics to keep out efforts from Parker and Jensen Grant while the pair were both off target with a couple more attempts.

The Millers’ onslaught continued as Parker was foiled again by McCorkell on another couple of occasions. However, the pressure finally told on 80 minutes as Sonny Black headed home a deep cross to restore parity.
Having hauled themselves back into the contest, the hosts smelt blood and they delivered what felt like a killer blow for Woods as the visitors conceded a third goal on 82 minutes as Denzel Gayle converted from close range.

But Northwood hadn’t read the script as they exposed the Millers’ vulnerability to the set-piece once more with an equalising strike on 84 minutes as Luke Tingey forced the ball home at the far post following Dunbar-Bonnie’s corner.

Woods made their second substitution as Luke Brophy replaced Osaretin Otote on the left flank with extra-time looming. However, the Millers could have finished things off as loose ball out from defence let in Parker, who fired into the side-netting, while McCorkell kept out an effort from Black. At the other end, the hosts successfully defended a couple of corners and a Luke Tingey throw which meant the tie moved into extra-time.

The Millers were looking the more likely in the opening period of the extra as Vigor shot weakly when well placed before Lisbie spurned a glorious opportunity to settle the tie as he blazed over having taken the ball beyond McCorkell. However, the hosts were not to be denied as Woods were caught out by another ball over the top with substitute Adam Coombes delivering an emphatic finish on 99 minutes.

Northwood dusted themselves down and went agonisingly close as Anokye-Boadi’s cross bounced off the crossbar with Greenaway-Alexander arriving at the far post only to see his header rebound off the woodwork.
Sam Jenkins made way for Ben Crowder in the second period of the extra with the substitute himself having to be replaced by Jack Smith as he immediately suffered an unfortunate leg injury. But there was to be no happy ending for brave Woods as they looked to take the tie to penalties with the contest petering out with no further chances at either end – the Millers booking their place in the next round and a trip to Carshalton.

REPORT by Robin Piper