There will be a piece of history on Saturday 20th April as Cray Wanderers play their final game at Hayes Lane in the Isthmian Premier as Bognor Regis Town are the visitors.  Kick off 3 pm.

Cray Wanderers moved into Hayes Lane in the summer of 1998 with the first game in the Kent League vs VCD Athletic on 26th August 1998 which ended in a 2-1 Wands win.  This will be Cray’s 516th league game at Hayes Lane including four home playoff ties and in that time with six seasons spent in the Kent League with the last 20 in the Isthmian League, the highest league structure in the club’s history.  The 25 year cycle from just before the end of the millennium and seeing a new one has seen three league championships, one promotion via the playoffs and hosts of great players, matches and goals and from the summer of 2017 an era from grass to a 3G surface.  So it will be a poignant afternoon for many club officials, committee, players and most of all supporters who from next season can look forward to new beginnings at Flamingo Park whilst still playing in the Isthmian Premier.

The match itself brings no real pressure on either side with Cray Wanderers now in 17th place on 47 points and Bognor Regis Town in 13th on 53 points.  Both teams though will be looking to end the season on a high with Cray without a win in the last six league games and Bognor are without a win in seven.

On Tuesday night, Cray’s cup excitement for the season came to an end with a somewhat unlucky 1-2 defeat to Dartford in the London Senior Cup QF despite the boost of an early Nyren Clunis goal.  One of the bonuses of the game was the appearance of young players coming through like George Brooke, Cameron McQueen, Reggie Rye and also Charlie Paye at the back show the future is bright for these players and the club especially when injuries to senior players has left a thin squad at times this season.

Bognor Regis Town will come into the game on the back of a gutsy comeback to draw 3-3 at Carshalton Athletic last Saturday coming from 3-1 down with goals from Jasper Mather and Matt Burgess (2).  Robbie Blake’s side were in contention for the playoffs after a strong start to the new year which included six league wins in a row from January which included a 2-1 win against the Wands on January 9th at Nyewood Lane.  Gary Lockyer struck Cray in front in the first half and held on until two goals from Dan Gifford in the last three minutes won the game for the rocks.  

Bognor have tended to do quite well at Hayes Lane and last season’s league game on 17th August 2022 finished in a 2-2 draw with Harold Joseph and Nyren Clunis scoring for Cray and two Nathan Odonkonyero strikes for Bognor Regis Town.

Away from home the Rocks have won at Canvey Island (3-1), Folkestone Invicta (1-0), Hashtag United (5-4), Margate (2-0), Haringey Borough (1-0) and Wingate & Finchley (1-0). Bognor Regis Town picked up points at Enfield Town (2-2), Potters Bar Town (1-1), Dulwich Hamlet (1-1), Hastings United (1-1) and Carshalton Athletic (3-3) and were beaten at Chatham Town (0-1), Cheshunt (1-3), Hornchurch (1-4), Whitehawk (2-3), Billericay Town (1-2), Lewes (0-1), Kingstonian (2-3) and Horsham (4-5).  At home Bognor Regis Town beat Kingstonian (2-0), Concord Rangers (2-0), Haringey Borough (3-0), Horsham (2-0), Chatham Town (2-1), Cray Wanderers (2-1) and Billericay Town (1-0). They drew with Carshalton Athletic, Hashtag United, Lewes, Margate, Canvey Island, Cheshunt, Potters Bar Town, Whitehawk and Wingate & Finchley and were beaten by Hornchurch, Dulwich Hamlet, Enfield Town and Hastings United.  Bognor Regis Town finish the season with a midweek trip to Concord Rangers and finish the season next Saturday at home to Folkestone Invicta.   Dan Gifford is the leading scorer with 21 goals.

There may not be much at stake with both teams looking to wind down their respective seasons but this could be a cracking game and is always a competitive match when the two sides meet and one to be remembered with surely some raw emotion at the final whistle.

There will also be the announcement of supporters Player of the Year and Supporter of the Year tomorrow afternoon.

Admission £12/£6, on gate (cash only) or online at Match Programme £2, Golden Goals £1


This afternoon sees a big game in the history of Cray Wanderers as the Wands bid farewell to Hayes Lane with the final match vs Bognor Regis Town.  Here Neil Smith gives his thoughts on the occasion and the future at Flamingo Park, the challenge of Bognor Regis Town and a thank you message to supporters.

Hello Neil.  Thank you as always this season for your insights and thoughts shared in the matchday programme and on the website.  This afternoon is going to be a big game and the last for Cray Wanderers at Hayes Lane. What are your thoughts on what will be a poignant occasion after the club’s stay since the summer of 1998 coming to an end after 515 league games and so many memories for our fans?

It will be very historic as a farewell game so full thanks to Bromley for letting us borrow their pitch over the course of all those matches and also after the move from grass to 3G in 2017. However, what a fantastic achievement that the Directors and Owners have managed to secure that pitch at Flamingo Park and have created a new home. Again it will be an historic occasion when we play our first league game there too.


Our final game sees us against Bognor Regis Town which is always an exciting and competitive match and with the pressure off both sides should be a decent way to end the season against Robbie Blake’s side.

I love playing against Robbie Blake’s team, there is always a little twist in there somewhere along the line, a change of formation or change of players.  He has done brilliantly for them and unfortunate for them that they have just missed out on reaching the playoffs as I know it was something he wanted to achieve this year.

There is no pressure, it gives us a great opportunity to hopefully keep playing some of the young lads who have been doing well for the U18’s and Academy teams so they can gain that experience of playing first team football with good players.  Hopefully it will be a fun day and a nice farewell game for Hayes Lane and I’m looking forward to it.

You mentioned the U18s, they play in the Kent FA Cup Final on Sunday and against Dartford last Wednesday George Brooke and Cameron McQueen all played as well as Charlie Paye who I know has earned plaudits from the fans for his performances and players like this are the future of the club aren’t they.

Absolutely, I want that pathway and for players to play for the Cray Wanderers first team coming through the youth setup.  Roy and Frank are doing a fantastic job coaching the U18s and they just missed out on the Kent Youth League North title. They have the cup final on Sunday and I have to be careful. Although I want players to play for the first team I don’t want them to miss out on playing in a cup final.

We are very mindful of our youth setup and creating that pathway.  When I came into the club this was something I wanted and the young kids having a chance through our Academy otherwise you risk losing players to other Academies and they miss out on first team opportunities. It was something I wanted to join the dots to and hopefully next year we will have a Reserves/U23s side as well so we can create that pathway even better.  Likewise with the Women’s team and Girls football so if we can get some of the youngsters out there and give them that experience they will learn from it. 

Thank you Neil as always for your insights and thoughts during the season.  We will still have one more game to go in front of a very large crowd at Dulwich Hamlet next Saturday but from myself, the club and fans have a great summer.

Thank you and I would just like to thank all the supporters who have been immense during what has been a difficult season and we wanted to achieve more than where we are at the moment. That second year is always more difficult than the first because people get to know who you are.  The support has been amazing and from the management team and players we say thank you.


An important note for Cray Wanderers supporters wishing to travel to Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday 27th April.  We have been advised by Dulwich Hamlet that Wands supporters should purchase their ticket online due to expected high demand on the last day of the season.

Please see here a link to purchase your ticket: