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Weston-super-Mare AFC v Cray Wanderers

Weston-super-Mare AFC 4 - 1 Cray Wanderers
18 Nov 2023 - 15:00The Optima Stadium

Weston had to come from behind against Cray Wanderers, eventually seeing off their lower-league opponents 4-1 at The Optima Stadium.

Cray opened the scoring around 45 seconds into the game when a quick free-kick was fizzed into the feet of Balai Antonio Dembele, the loose ball falling to Gary Lockyer 25 yards out who curled a first-time strike into the top corner past the dive of Harry Lee.

Weston looked to hit back when Sam Avery headed a Robbie Willmott cross over at the back post following Jordan Bastin’s short corner, before Marlon Jackson had a shot tipped wide by Shaun Rowley from the edge of the area after bringing a long pass down and working a yard of space. Lockyer then headed a cross wide at the back post for the visitors.

Weston were to level on the half-hour mark when Jackson got away from his man and fed a pass out to debutant Alex Fletcher on the right. Fletcher’s shot from the edge of the box took a deflection and fell for Bastin six yards out, who worked a yard of space and fired into the roof of the net past Rowley.

The Seagulls looked to come again to get ahead when Mannings’ low shot from 25 yards was held by Rowley, before Jason Pope rattled the crossbar from inside the area when being fed by Willmott and taking aim across goal on his right foot.

At the start of the second half, Cray substitute Anthony Cook had a shot from 18 yards deflect into the hands of Harry Lee, before Rowley managed to claim a Fletcher cross at the second attempt under pressure from a sliding Avery. Rowley then pushed a Morton effort away from 25 yards, before a Cray defender blocked an Avery header from six yards following Willmott’s corner. Willmott then had a curling shot from 20 yards deflect wide.

The Seagulls took the lead just before the hour when a Jacob Jagger Cane shot from 20 yards was on target, however the effort took a nick off of skipper Humphries and deceived Rowley for Lloyd’s first of the season.

A third was to follow through a well-crafted move when Jackson brought a goal-kick down from Lee and found Willmott on the left. He managed to find Mannings running in behind the full-back and his excellent cross across goal was slid in by Fletcher for his first goal on his first Weston appearance since signing from Bath City.

Cook hit the side-netting for Cray after a burst into the box, before visiting skipper Jack Holland headed wide at the back post from a corner.

Weston made it four to see themselves through to the next round when a long-pass in behind found Mannings down the left, whose low cross across goal was converted by a sliding Jackson to cap off a wonderful individual performance for him.

Lee was called into action when stopping a placed Frankie Raymond shot low down to his left inside the box, before Cook drove wide from 25 yards when off balance. Substitute Reuben Reid then had the game’s final chance when taking range from 18 yards, his shot from 18 yards smacking off of the post after being found by fellow sub Oscar Collins.

FT: Weston 4-1 Cray Wanderers (Bastin 30, Humphries 39, Fletcher 63, Jackson 72 – Lockyer 1)
Attendance: 452.

Weston XI: Lee, Bastin, Humphries (C), Pope, Avery, Willmott, Jagger Cane, Morton, Jackson (Reid 75), Mannings (Collins 84), Fletcher (Edwards 70). Unused substitutes: Dodd, Purnell.

MOTM: Alex Fletcher.