Goals: Babalola 84’ - Allen (pen) 37’.
Guernsey had to dig deep to came away from Isthmian South East leaders Cray Valley PM on Saturday afternoon.
Despite coming under non-stop second-half pressure, it looked as the game wore on like Ross Allen’s first-half penalty would be enough for a fantastic victory. The hosts deserved to get on level terms given their domination of the second half, but there were few clear-cut chances and there was a touch of cruelty about their late leveller, which took a wicked deflection to wrongfoot Callum Stanton.
A frantic start saw Charlton Gauvain test Andrew Walker and Francis Babalola fire over within the first two minutes, with the Cray number nine wide again on seven minutes shortly after Robbie Legg had lifted a free-kick well over.
Captain Jamie Dodd spared his defensive team-mate Frank Tobin’s blushes with a block to deny Babalola and Tobin had misplaced a backpass, while Allen had a neat effort into the bottom corner chalked off after Legg was deemed to have fouled his man in the build-up.
Walker got behind another effort from Gauvain midway through the half after great work by Carlos Canha on the left, while Matthew A-Warren scuffed wide from outside the area 35 minutes.
A minute later, some classic Allen play set up the chance for the Green Lions to take the lead as he turned one way then the other in the area and drew a trip from a defender. Walker went the right way and got a hand to Allen’s resulting spotkick, but couldn’t keep it out as the Guernsey number 10 squeezed it right into the corner.
Stanton’s first real save came just before the interval as he shifted right to turn wide a curler towards the near post by Anthony Edgar, while Babalola could only fire over on the turn in stoppage-time.
Guernsey had got a foothold in the game towards the end of the half but the Millers turned the screw after the break. A block denied Babalola early on and Denzel Gayle lifted a shot well over the top from the edge of the area.
Soon after, Stanton fielded a deflected effort from Edgar, before taking no chances in pushing an effort wide from the same player moments later.
Allen had Guernsey’s only chance of the second half just after the hour as he opted for the early volley with his left foot as a ball dropped over his shoulder, with his looping effort flying wide of the near post.
Stanton dealt with two chances at his near post and Daniel Smith undid all his good work with 20 minutes left after playing a couple of one-twos to come inside but sliced his shot wide.
The home side got their rewards with a little over five minutes to go. Babalola cut inside to work space and shot from the edge of the area. Stanton might have got behind the initial effort but in his bid to make the block, Frank Tobin stuck out a leg, with the ball diverting off it and looping in the other direction to which Stanton was heading, where it nestled in the corner.
Frank Tobin blocked a low shot from substitute Kweku Ansah and Babalola dragged a poor effort wide in the closing stages, but overall the Green Lions saw the game out relatively comfortably. This was definitely a point gained rather than two dropped.
The Green Lions stay seventh in the table, three points shy of the play-offs with a game in hand. Saturday’s other Isthmian South East results were as follows: Ashford United 2-3 Whitehawk, East Grinstead Town 1-1 Burgess Hill Town, Phoenix Sports 2-3 Chichester City, Sevenoaks Town 3-1 Ramsgate, Sittingbourne 2-1 VCD Athletic, Three Bridges 4-1 Hythe Town, Whitstable Town 0-2 Whyteleafe.
Cray Valley PM: Andrew Walker, Hassan Ibrahiym, Daniel Smith, Liam Hickey, Ashley Sains, Ali Tumkaya, Denzel Gayle, Francis Babalola, Anthony Edgar, Matthew A-Warren, Josh James (Kweku Ansah 65’). Not used: Ryan Flack, Max Ovenden, Kalvin Morath-Gibbs, Archie Mehmet.
|Shirt||Player||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals|
|5||Tom De La Mare||-||-||-|
|8||Charlton Gauvain (Keanu Marsh 76')||-||-||-|
|9||Robbie Legg (Matt Loaring 55')||-||-||-|