Cray Valley battle back to knock Maidenhead United out of FA Cup

Manny Parry (pictured earlier this season) forced home United’s opening goal. 

Maidenhead United 2, Cray Valley PM 3 

Substitute Francis Babalola turned home Ade Yusuff’s cross in second half injury-time to cap an incredible comeback as Cray Valley PM came from two goals down to defeat Maidenhead United in the FA Cup. 

Alan Devonshire’s men looked to be cantering into the first round of the competition after going 2-0 up inside 30 minutes.  

Manny Parry’s disputed finish from close range in the 20th minute just about crossed the goalline while Dan Sparkes slick side-footed finish from a Ryheem Sheckleford cross put the Magpies further ahead in the 29th minute.  

Yusuff seized on a mix up between Magpies’ keeper Taye Ashby-Hammond and Alan Massey to score into an empty net a minute later and Connor Dymond’s excellent header from a corner in the 45th minute levelled things up at the break.  

Both sides created chances in an even second period, but Maidenhead fluffed the biggest of theirs when Sam Barratt’s 83rd minute spot kick was saved by stand-in keeper Joe Docherty after Kieron McCann was adjudged to have handled in the box.  

Yusuff missed a gilt-edged chance a few minutes later when he lashed the ball into the side-netting after turning well in the box. But, with penalties looming, it was the Isthmian League South East side who had the final laugh when Yusuff escaped down the right-hand side and sent in a cross that Babalola diverted home.  

He and his teammates scampered down the left touchline to celebrate with club officials in the main stand and the final whistle sounded just a few moments later to signal one of the biggest cup shocks of the day.

United started well enough, matching their visitors’ intensity in the early stages, while they looked threatening from Sparkes’ balls in from the left. Yusuff had the ball in the net in the 12th minute but his effort, after Ashby-Hammond had made an instinctive save, was ruled offside.

A Barratt free kick from distance was beaten out by Docherty in the 17th minute and Shaun Donnellan scooped the rebound over the crossbar.

Maidenhead’s first goal followed three minutes later. Ryan Upward’s header from a Sparkes’ corner was blocked on the goalline and Parry just about forced the loose ball over the line. Cray furiously disputed the referee’s decision to award the goal and Dymond was yellow carded for his protestations.

The home side’s second goal in the 29th minute followed a slick move down the right. United’s right back Ryheem Sheckleford’s low cross was stepped over by Danilo Orsi Dadomo and Sparkes applied a classy first-time finish low past Docherty.

If the home side thought that was job done, they were very much mistaken. Just a minute later Yusuff hassled Ashby-Hammond and Massey into a mistake and picked up the loose ball to tap into an empty net. The goal galvanised the visitors, lifting the level of each of…

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