The Wanderers went into the match as the lowest ranked team left in the competition, having won their first two qualifying games impressively, scoring 14 goals against opponents from steps 5 and 6 in the qualifying rounds.
On a blustery day in South-East London Cricklewood made a positive start, coming out on top in the opening exchanges; but found themselves 1-0 down early on as 39 year old ex-Charlton Athletic and Premier League striker Kevin Lisbie used all of his experience to win a penalty, which he himself then converted.
A second Cray Valley penalty was awarded just after the half hour mark after a two way tussle in the area, and again was converted by Lisbie. Cricklewood fans looked on in disbelief as both penalties on another day could easily not have been given, and not a lot seemed to be going the way of the lower league side.
Cray Valley’s second knocked the wind out of the Cricklewood players, and the bigger club quickly capitalised, adding a third through a deflected shot. Cricklewood went into half-time 3-0 down; despite having an even share of the play, and with ex-Jamaica International Lisbie and the size and power of the Cray Valley players being the difference.
The second half was a heated affair, with the impact substitution of Marcus Gibbs Greenidge changing the pace of the Cricklewood attack. The experienced semi professional outfit were pulling every trick in the book to unsettle the visitors, and the ref was having a busy time with his yellow
card. Anthony Emeh got one back for Cricklewood on 69 minutes, but despite late pressure against a tiring Cray Valley side, the Wanderers were unable to capitalise.
After far exceeding expectations in the competition, Cricklewood will now concentrate on promotion from the Middlesex County Football League, with an away game to Sporting Hackney this Saturday up next on the fixture list.
Cray Valley PM FC 3 – 1 Cricklewood Wanderers
Lisbie 6’ pen, 32’ pen Emeh 69’
Cricklewood Wanderers FC upcoming fixtures:
28/10/17 3pm Sporting Hackney Vs Cricklewood Wanderers FC (MCFL)
04/11/17 3pm Kensington Dragons FC Vs Cricklewood Wanderers FC (Cup)
11/11/17 3pm British Airways Vs Cricklewood Wanderers FC (MCFL)
18/11/17 3pm Cricklewood Wanderers FC Vs Brentham (MCFL)
Find out more: Twitter @cricklewoodwfc