Late Babalola winner fires Cray Valley PM into first round proper for first time ever

Saturday 24 Oct 2020

Francis Babalola’s dramatic late winner fired Cray Valley Paper Mills into the Emirates FA Cup first round proper for the first time in their history to spark emotional scenes at Maidenhead’s York Road.

Kevin Watson’s side fought back from two goals behind in a helter-skelter contest against the National League team as the visitors, who compete in the Isthmian League South East Division, produced a moment of Cup magic for the ages.

They had to do things the hard way in Berkshire, however, as Manny Parry and Dan Sparkes' first-half strikes handed Maidenhead a two-goal advantage within the opening half hour.

2020-21 Emirates FA Cup
  • Fourth round qualifying
  • Saturday 24 October
But Watson’s resilient outfit hauled themselves back into the match as Ade Yusuff reduced the deficit before Connor Dymond’s leveller on the stroke of half time.


A see-saw second half ensued as the rain poured down in Maidenhead, with both teams knocking on the door for that all-important winner and a shot at a date with an EFL outfit in the first round.

The hosts were awarded a penalty with under ten minutes to go, only for Millers goalkeeper Joe Docherty to produce a moment of Cup heroics and deny Sam Barratt from the spot.

And that set the stage for substitute Babalola’s late, late winner, predatorily pouncing at the far post to fire home and prompt jubilant scenes among the travelling contingent.

Skelmersdale United are now the lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition after soaring to a memorable 4-1 win away at Stafford Rangers.

The North West Counties League Premier Division side became the maiden NWCFL team to make it through to the first round proper since 1996/97 as two goals each from Emini Adegbenro and Lloyd Ellams kept their name in the hat.

Skelmersdale, who play in the ninth tier of the pyramid, conceded with just over ten minutes to play but late strikes from Adegbenro and Ellams triggered ecstasy for Paul McNally's visitors.

Hayes & Yeading shocked National League outfit Wealdstone as goals from Francis Amartey and Omar Rowe catapulted the Southern League side into the first round proper.

Goals either side of the break proved enough to floor the hosts at Grosvenor Vale and clinch a Cup upset for Paul Hughes' joyous visitors.

Yeovil Town toppled Dover Athletic 7-6 on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw.

Thirteen perfect spot-kicks were struck by both teams but goalkeeper Adam Smith saved the day for the National League outfit to help continue their Cup adventure.

Other entertaining affairs included Canvey Island’s 3-2 victory over Cray Wanderers as two goals from Evans Kouassi helped the hosts survive a late scare.

Kouassi’s early double and Conor Hubble’s strike had given the Isthmian League side a 3-0 lead and while Joseph Taylor and Lee Lewis cut the deficit, Canvey Island held on to march into the first round proper.

Barnet edged past Leiston 3-2 away from home, while there were also a high-scoring, closely-fought contest at Weymouth as Oxford City progressed after winning by the same scoreline.

Banbury United battled back from a goal behind to beat Bury Town 2-1, while South Shields also edged past FC Halifax Town 2-0.

Tonbridge Angels beat Taunton Town 5-0, Solihull Moors eased past Wrexham 4-0 while Hartlepool United waltzed past Ilkeston 6-0 in a game shown live on the BBC.

Elsewhere, Dagenham & Redbridge, Woking and Brackley Town booked their places in the first round proper, while Chesterfield edged past Stockport County 7-6 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

FC United of Manchester beat Guiseley, Darlington beat Cambridge City and Marine won at Chester to cap a memorable day of fourth round qualifying action.

By FA Staff