Cray Valley PM 3-1 Erith Town
Cray Valley PM 3-1 Erith Town

After a tight first half Cray Valley PM ended Erith Town’s resistance to keep themselves in the hunt for the Southern Counties East Football League title.

Having suffered a surprise defeat at Hollands and Blair on Saturday, it was crucial that the Millers returned to winning ways but Erith pushed them all the way.

Gavin Tomlin had the first goal attempt with a shot that took a deflection and looped up but Adam Molloy did well to claw it away.

At the other end Dan Nash did well to cross and find Steadman Callender but his first time effort flew wide.

Anthony Edgar put a free kick over before Francis Babalola fired across the face of goal but Danny Smith was unable to finish from a tight angle.

Edgar shot wide after Tomlin held it up well before Shamal Edwards shot just wide for Erith at the other end.

Ashley Sains headed wide from a Ryan Flack corner before the Millers came even closer. Edgar fired in a shot that Molloy beat out as far as Tomlin. His fierce drive was again charged out by Molloy and it again came out to Tomlin and this time he beat Molloy but not the post.

Tomlin was again thwarted by Molloy after good work by Flack and Chris Edwards had the last chance of the half with a shot that was deflected into the side netting.

Immediately after the interval Liam Hickey hit a long shot well over before the Millers were again foiled by Molloy. Edgar created the opportunity but Tomlin’s shot was again well saved by the Dockers goalkeeper. It came out to Babalola but his shot was deflected wide.

Eight minutes into the second half and the deadlock was broken. Flack hung up a corner and Sains rose to head home.

Molloy saved a free kick from Edgar before Hickey headed wide from another Flack delivery.

Eventually the pressure told and Cray Valley increased their lead. Tomlin went on a surging run before firing home beyond the helpless Molloy.

It looked as though the floodgates may open but the Dockers stunned the hosts by pulling one back. Cem Tumkaya got himself into a bit of a tangle and Callender nicked it away before giving Deren Ibrahim with a powerful drive into the far corner.

Suddenly it wasn’t plain sailing for the hosts and they had to defend a couple of corners as the Dockers looked for an equaliser.

However, having survived that spell Cray Valley made sure of the points with eight minutes remaining. Tomlin broke into the penalty area and was tripped by Steve Springett. Flack stepped up and sent Molloy the wrong way.

In the closing minutes substitute Denzel Gayle had a shot deflected wide before Molloy saved a long Edgar shot at the second attempt.

Victory for Cray Valley left them in third place, two points behind Corinthians while Erith dropped one place to eleventh.

Cray Valley PM: Ibrahim, Edwards, Smith, Hickey, Sains, Tumkaya, Edgar, Semakula, Tomlin, Babalola (Gayle 83), Flack (James 83).

Sub not used: Myles, Dawson, Willock.

Erith Town: Molloy, Nash, Fairweather-Oates, Bedford (Freeman 75), McDonagh, Springett, Valencia, White, Coleman (Francis 83), Callender, Edwards (Clothier 89).

Subs not used: Mitchell, Scotter.

Cray Valley PM:

Goalscorers: Sains (53), Tomlin (59), Flack pen (82)

Yellow cards: Dawson

Red cards: None

Erith Town:

Goalscorers: Callender (64)

Yellow cards: Springett, Bedford

Red cards: None

Referee: Abdulaziz Olol

Assistants: Graham Scott and Zack Moules

Attendance: 93

Man of the Match: Gavin Tomlin

Pictures supplied by Dave Budden.