Heely good: Cray Valley Paper Mills top off shock cup win with cheekiest of goals


The FA cup doesn’t just begin when the Premier League teams enter in the 3rd Round proper. It began last month with the First Qualification Round.

In the truest traditions of the grassroots tournament, we are following a side from the outset and hope to stay with them and be at their games, or those of the side who eliminate them, all the way to Wembley.

This site already sponsors the manager of Carlisle City, James Nichols. So in the interests of geographical balance, we selected a club at the other end of the nation, Portsmouth’s own Moneyfields FC. Our assistant editor Conor Smith claims to have played against their reserves for Netley which may have influenced our choice. 

The decision was cemented by their opposition Aylesbury United. The Ducks are a club with an FA Cup pedigree, who currently play their home games in Chesham, agonisingly far from their own Buckinghamshire home town, but agonisingly close to Wembley which is where this story ends next May.

So we started our series, “Moneyfields to Wembley with their visit to Aylesbury United, the Ducks, now playing their home games at the Meadows, home of Chesham United.

The Moneys progressed but lost 6-2 at home to Cray Wanderers in the 2nd qualification round as Jacob Tanswell reports.

While that was happening, their local rivals Cray Valley Paper Mills were within five miles of Wembley where they had been drawn away to Harrow Borough.

Harrow Borough 1 : 5 Cray Valley Paper Mills

Isthmian League South East Division Cray Valley (Level 8) astonished their Southern League Premier Division South (Level 7) hosts with a blistering second half performance that saw the Kent side blast four unanswered goals.

The icing on the cake was a remarkable fifth goal by Matthew Attenborough-Warren who found his initial effort well parried by Borough keeper Matthew Hall.

Finding himself turned around and facing away from goal, Warren instinctively backheeled the ball only realising the outcome when he heard the cheers from the Valley fans gathered behind the Borough goal.

But by then, this absorbing cup upset was well written into FA cup folklore. 2020/21 already represented Valley’s best ever FA Cup run and having been drawn away from home to a side above them in the structure, that seemed to be the limit of their ambition.

But as club media director Richard Green told me before the game:

“Cray Valley Paper Mills are an ambitious club.”

There was no lack of ambition about Kevin Watson’s side on the field though, Borough started the stronger in an even first half. 

The first chance came their way early when Geroge Moore found Frank Keita in the second minute. Valley keeper Andy Walker saved his side from an early deficit.

But Valley showed they were not there to defend six minutes later when Ade Yussuf was well denied by Hall who dealt less convincingly with a Keiron McCann effort shortly after, tipping it over for a corner.

The portents of things to come first appeared as early as minute 18, Yussuf being denied by an assistant referee’s flag after Warren supplied the pass.

Valley centre half Cem Tumkaya led his side with authority barking orders up the win to Denzel Gayle and Francis Babalolo, as well as keeping a horizontal check on his backline.

But it was his backside that saved Paper Mills half way through the first period. Liam Ferdinand is unlikely to be denied a goal by a more unusual body part. Borough’s Moore followed up and to his eternal credit, Tumkaya was aware enough to throw his body in front of the goal bound effort to keep his side level.

This was Borough’s best spell of the game and they looked like the side who played their football one level higher. Walker made an outstanding save to deny Ferdinand as the Middlesex side looked to press home their advantage.

The deadlock was broken when the visitors were awarded the first of the game’s three penalties. Ben Tricker was adjudged to have fouled Yusuff who picked himself up to convert the penalty.

Referee Lawrence Torz-Brown was well positioned when he awarded Harrow Borough their penalty seconds before half time. The combined challenge on Jordan Ireland looked soft, but Mr Torz-Brown was in no doubt that Gayle had impeded him, and awarded the leveling penalty which Keita converted.

Conventional football wisdom would be that a home side who had equalised as their visitors from a league lower strove to keep a lead into the interval had the momentum.

That football wisdom was convincingly smashed by a second half performance that Cray Valley Paper Mills are unlikely to match.

Paper Mills’ Cem Tumkaya was our Man of the Match

They even had the luxury of missing a penalty, awarded when the increasingly influential Hassan Ibrahiym was fouled by Ireland. Yusuff’s effort would have cleared a second goal were one built above the existing goal.

Undeterred the blue shirted visitors from St Mary Cray, took the lead five minutes later when Connor Dymond outjumped all and headed an Ibrahiym  free kick home.  That was the start of the avalanche.

Gayle made it 3-1, just three minutes later. By the time substitute Ade Adeyemo waltzed through the Borough defence to add the fourth, the heads above the red shirts had already gone down to accept the inevitable.

The best was yet to come however with Attenborough-Warren’s cheeky back heel sending a decent Paper Mills traveling support wild.

They were warmly congratulated by gracious Borough fans as they exited on a day which was an excellent showcase both for the FA Cup and non-league football.

The Millers fans now look forward to the third qualifying round draw with some well deserved excitement.

Man of the Match

Cem Tumkaya had an outstanding game for the Millers although his team mates may have some fun with the fact that his arse kept them in the game in the first half.

He may counter that it is more than their feet did!

Harrow Borough: Hall, Moore (O’Connor 76), C.Cole, Tricker, Jarra, L.Cole (Matthew 63), Maloney, Ireland, Ferdinand, Bryan, Keita

Subs Not Used: Charles-Smith, Purdue, Barnieh, Griffith

Cray Valley Paper Mills: A.Walker, Dymond, Sains, Tumkaya, Gayle (King-Elliot 67), Babalola, McCann, Morath-Gibbs (Hickey 46), Warren, Ibrahiym, Yusuff (Adeyemo 77)

Subs Not Used: Smith, Flack, Farmer, Kempston

Attendance 153

Referee: Lawrence Torz-Brown

More from Prost International

FA Cup report: Moneyfields 2 : 6 Cray Wanderers

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Moneyfields to Wembley

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