Cray Valley fall short in FA Vase Final

Cray Valley came close to glory but ended up as FA Vase runners-up after extra-time heartbreak against Chertsey Town.

The Millers leave the SCEFL as Champions and should be extremely proud of their incredible season despite defeat under the arch today.

Chertsey had the first opportunity of the game but Danny Smith dealt well with the ball from Dale Binns. Liam Hickey then blocked from Lubomir Guentchev before Hickey had Cray’s first attempt when blasting over the bar from range.

Kevin Lisbie almost got on the scoresheet when meeting Ryan Flack’s cross before Gavin Tomlin turned his man inside out before failing to make his creativity count.

At the other end Jake Baxter saw his overhead kick go over the bar before Andy Walker saved well from a Guentchev free-kick.

The Millers soon took the lead. In the 36th minute Tomlin beat his defender and drove into the box before sliding the ball between the keeper and his near post. Cue celebrations from the Cray Valley section as our SCEFL side had the lead.

The advantage lasted for just three minutes. From a corner, Sam Flegg headed against the post before putting away the rebound. The sides went into the break level.

Chances came at both ends throughout the second half with Lisbie and Tomlin giving the Chertsey defence a busy afternoon while at the other end the side from Surrey were always a threat from set-pieces.

The game was nearly settled in the final of the rgular 90 minutes when firstly Peacock sliced a shot wide for the Curfews before the impressive Anthony Edgar rattled the crossbar with almost the last kick of the game following a smart team move.

We now had another half-hour to play and it was Chertsey that would step on and win the game in this period.

The Curfews were awarded a penalty in the 105th minute when Cem Tumkaya brought down Guentchev on the edge of the box. The referee decided it was inside so pointed to the spot from where Baxter scored, despite Walker diving the correct way.

With Cray now committing players forward to try and find a way back into the game gaps were left at the back and Cherstey were able to exploit that in the dying stages with Quincy Rowe finishing well to seal the game.

A brave effort had ultimately fallen short as Cray Valley had to settle for just the one trophy in their centenary year but it was the one they had wanted most and now they leave the SCEFL as our Champions.

Chertsey: Jupp, Welch-Turner, MacLaren (Taylor 79mins), Peacock, Rowe, Guentchev, Baxter (Pomroy 118mins), Murphy, Binns (Jackson 97mins), Driver (Crossley 84mins), Flegg. Subs not used: Gallifent, Kinsella, Bennell.

Cray Valley: Walker, Smith, Hickey, Sains (Willock 112mins), Tumkaya (Potter 106mins), Edgar, Semakula, Tomlin, Lisbie (Babalola 100mins), Flack (James 73mins), Gayle. Subs not used: Ibrahim, Myers, Dawson.

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