BY MARK DOIG
On Saturday, Cray Valley Paper Mills suffered a defeat at Hollands & Blair that took winning the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division out of their own hands.
Therefore, it was vital that they came back with a strong result against mid-table Erith Town who came into the game on the back of a good win against Rusthall.
Millers manager Kevin Watson made changes to the starting line up and the team repaid him with a strong win. However, Erith manager Adam Woodward’s team pushed them hard with their never-say-die attitude.
Adam Molloy, Erith’s goalkeeper, was by far the busier of the two custodians and was in action early on clawing out a Gavin Tomlin shot that looked as if it was headed for the top corner.
Steadman Callender’s first time shot went wide for Erith before the angle was too tight for Danny Smith to finish after Francis Babalola drove across the face of goal.
Anthony Edgar shot wide for Cray Valley before Shamal Edwards did likewise at the other end.
Cray Valley supporters will still be wondering how their team didn’t go ahead soon afterwards. Molloy made a double save, first from Edgar, then from Tomlin. It again fell to Tomlin but this time his shot crashed against the post and out.
Tomlin had another shot saved then Chris Edwards had a shot deflected into the side netting before the teams went in for the break.
It looked as though the pattern was going to continue when Tomlin’s shot was well saved by Molloy and Babalola’s follow up was deflected into the side netting.
However, from the corner, the Millers broke the deadlock. Ryan Flack delivered and Ashley Sains headed home.
Six minutes later they extended their lead when Tomlin broke through and fired beyond Molloy.
If the Millers thought that was game over, they were soon to think again. Callendar pressurised the defence into a mistake and his stunning finish gave a full length Deren Ibrahim.
Erith had a good spell but couldn’t create an opening and Babalola had a shot blocked for the Millers before they scored the crucial third. Tomlin was tripped in the penalty area and Flack stepped up to convert firing into the bottom corner with Molloy going the other way.
Denzel Gayle and Edgar had opportunities to make it four but that would have been harsh on Erith.
Cray Valley PM: Ibrahim, Edwards, Smith, Hickey, Sains, Tumkaya, Edgar, Semakula, Tomlin, Babalola (Gayle 83), Flack (James 83). Sub not used: Myles, Dawson, Willock.
PICTURES BY DAVE BUDDEN
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