Charlton 1-1 Cray Valley Paper Mills: Lucas Ness scores own goal

Charlton 1-1 Cray Valley Paper Mills: Lucas Ness scores own goal as eighth-tier side produce excellent display to earn a replay in FA Cup first round

  • Eight-tier Cray Valley Paper Mills secured an FA Cup replay against Charlton 
  • Scott Fraser put Charlton in front but Lucas Ness then scored an own goal
  • Big debates on Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal on It’s All Kicking Off podcast 

Cray Valley Paper Mills will always remember the 5th of November. The eighth-tier side were facing their local rivals five divisions and 117 places above them – and after heroically holding their own at The Valley they’ll take them fifteen minutes down the road for a replay.

Against a Charlton side who changed their entire first XI, this had all the makings of an almighty FA Cup upset and on Bonfire Night the Isthmian League side threatened to deliver an explosive end. At times, they were the ones who looked like the League One team – and their rapturous group of 2,000 fans drowned out the home end for long periods.

Immense credit must go to Steve McKimm’s team. They showed no intent to sit back here even after Scott Fraser’s early opener. Instead, they were positive and direct and deserved their second half goal – which Lucas Ness put into his own net. The visitors won’t care one bit. They celebrated it like a Champions League final winner and rightly so.

Towards the end, it was the minnows were pushing for a goal that would have been one of the most seismic in FA Cup history – and they’ll spend their short journey home wondering what could have been.

McKimm said the ‘spirit’ he has brought to the team was key to their incredible achievement as he looks forward to another tasty clash at their Badgers Sports Ground.

Eighth-tier Cray Valley Paper Mills showed excellent spirit as they drew with Charlton

Hassan Ibrahim of Cray Valley Paper Mills celebrates at the full time whistle

Steve McKimm was extremely proud of his team after they showed excellent spirit

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‘Extremely proud,’ he said. ‘Throughout my career I’ve had a lot of spirit about me and I try to instil that in my players. We knew we couldn’t be expansive, but my players didn’t freeze after going 1-0 down. We weren’t a smash and grab side. We played good football. We played a team full of professionals and my boys were superb. I said to the players, “at least make sure you give them fans something to shout about”.

When asked how he would celebrate, McKimm replied: ‘I’m going to drink loads and loads of Guinness – probably until I pass out!’


Charlton (4-3-3): Walker 6, Abankwah 5 (Asiimwe 60 5), Ness 4, Thomas 6, Edun 6 (T Watson 61 6), Anderson 7, McGrandles 5 (L Watson 74), Fraser 7, Campbell 6 (Leaburn 74), Tedic 5, Kirk 4 (May 60 5)

Goals: Fraser 8

Booked: None

Subs: Maynard-Brewer, Hector, Blackett-Taylor, Dobson

Cray Valley (3-5-2): Freeman 7, Williams 5, Lee 5, Asiedu 6, Vigor 6 (Anau 71), Ibrahim 7, Tumkaya 5, Black 6, Ademiluyi 6, Lisbie 7 (Gayle 61 6), Parker 6 (Coombes 69 6)

Goal: Ness OG 47

Booked: None

Subs: Ovenden, Wicks, Chambers, Gilchrist, Ekpiteta, Turner

Referee: Benjamin Speedie

Attendance: 6721

Charlton boss Michael Appleton said the game was ‘hard to watch’ and that he was disappointed by the fringe stars who were given a chance to start.

‘They didn’t make the impact I expected,’ he said. ‘There was lots of anxiety [after Cray Valley’s goal] and they struggled after that. It was hard watching tonight.

‘I felt the starting XI was more than capable of winning the game. I still do regardless of how poor some of the performances were. I take full responsibility and clearly it was the wrong team today. [Cray Valley] were top draw. They deserved a second crack. I’m not going to deny them their moment.’

You can’t have the FA Cup first round without a team that has a name as delightful as Cray Valley Paper Mills – a name that always brings a puzzled face to anyone that hears it. Founded in 1919, it was originally the workplace team for a paper mill in St Paul’s Cray – which closed down in 1981. They couldn’t have been given a dreamier first round draw than this – the ‘Greenwich Derby’.

It took five rounds of qualifying and eight games for them to reach the first round of this famous competition – and it took Charlton’s Fraser just eight minutes to deflate their mood.

Despite changing their entire XI from their 3-2 win at Wigan in midweek, Charlton established control early as Keroy Anderson cut through their defence like a steak knife through silky butter to send Fraser through on goal. He rounded keeper Sam Freeman with ease and slotted home.

Cray Valley didn’t crumble. When lightning-fast Michael Ademilyui had the visitors’ first attack – his shot out wide being deflected behind for a corner – the roar from the packed out away end was deafening. Midway through the first half, Matthew Vigor worked his way into the Charlton box to set up the lively Kyrell Lisbie – son of Addicks legend Kevin – whose shot had to be diverted away from danger.

A goal from Scott Fraser in the ninth minute had put Charlton in the ascendancy

Fraser put Charlton in front but the Addicks were unable to maintain their lead

Cray Valley Paper Mills goalkeeper Sam Freeman celebrates with supporters at full-time

Just minutes into the second half – as fireworks began exploding in the night sky – the away end erupted too as Cray Valley scored one of the most famous goals in their history. They had committed men forwards as Lisbie was fed through before cutting a ball across the box that Ness bundled into his own net. Pandemonium.

Moments later Charlie Kirk could have put Charlton ahead again – and it was a poor miss from him as he was put clear on goal, poking straight at Freeman from point-blank range.

Appleton threw on his top scorer Alfie May and forward Miles Leaburn as the home supporters grew uneasy. But even with Charlton’s big guns on the pitch, they looked to be running out of ideas.

A desperate Charlton finally shifted into a higher gear as Tennai Watson tested Freeman again. He let the ball slip momentarily but Cray Valley stood strong. Ten minutes of stoppage time were announced – to huge cheers of the visiting supporters as free kick from sub Adam Coombes needed saving from Walker.

When the final whistle came, the home side hit the deck. Cray Valley’s elated stars raced around the pitch and embraced one another. Their fans bounced up and down and chanted ‘we’re going to Wembley’. This was every bit as good as a win.

There was no fireworks display for anyone inside the ground tonight. It didn’t matter. Cray Valley gave us a much more memorable performance instead.


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