Cray Wanderers vs Bognor Regis Town – Isthmian Premier, Wednesday 17th August, 7.45 pm – Match Preview
With the new Isthmian Premier League season underway, Cray Wanderers play their first home midweek game of the campaign as Bognor Regis Town are the visitors to Hayes Lane. Kick off 7:45 pm. This is the first of a quick fire double header of home games for Cray with Canvey Island the visitors on Saturday.
Cray were unfortunate to begin the season with defeat to Billericay Town on Saturday. Despite not being at full strength and in searing heat Neil Smith’s side put on a fine display and deservedly led at the break courtesy of Dan Bassett’s Wands league debut goal. Cray were dogged and resilient but two goals in the last twenty minutes turned the game in the home side’s favour.
There were some fine performances especially up front with Bassett, Michael Ademiluyi, Nyren Clunis and Tom Derry a constant threat, Mitch Chapman and Sam Skeffington were not out of place in midfield and at the back in particular Jalen Jones looked a great prospect. The indefatigable Anthony Cook playing more of a right back role in place of Sam Wood led by example as always but overall it was hard to find any fault in the Wands display.
Bognor Regis Town began their season with a fine 1-0 home win vs highly fancied Hornchuch courtesy of Alfie Bridgman’s first half strike. The Rocks finished 9th last season and were one of the few teams to win at eventual champions Worthing so are a side that could be a dangerous outsider this season.
Robbie Blake has built up a solid team with a mixture of youth and experience and Bridgman, and goalkeeper Toby Steward, both on loan from Portsmouth had great games against the Urchins on Saturday. Other summer arrivals include winger Nick Dembele from Gosport Borough, centre back, Tom Bragg from Eastleigh and Isaac Olaniyan from AFC Wimbledon. Always a very solid side and tough to beat they had a positive pre-season and look to have built on that on Saturday.
Last season’s encounters saw a win apiece both on the road. Bognor won 1-0 at Hayes Lane, also on a Wednesday night with Josh Gifford’s second half goal on 12th January while Cray won at Nyewood Lane in a victory that proved vital in Cray’s eventual safety from relegation with Sam Wood and Chris Dickson (2) scoring in a 3-2 win with Gifford scoring twice for the Rocks.
Bognor Regis Town were formed in 1883 and spent their early years in the West Sussex and then Brighton & Hove District leagues..They then joined the Sussex County League in 1927 and stayed there until the 1970’s. They won the Division One Championship in 1972-73 and were promoted to the Southern League and then in 1981 moved to Division Three of the Isthmian League and were promoted straight away. They were promoted to the Premier in 2002-03 and two years later were moved to the National South where they stayed until 2008-09 and were relegated to the Isthmian South in 2009-10 and met Cray Wanderers for the first time. They missed out on goal difference in 2010-11 for promotion from the South Division and lost in the playoffs to Dulwich Hamlet. In 2011-12 they gained promotion via the playoffs beating Godalming and Dulwich Hamlet to go up to the Premier. They were consistent promotion challengers and in 2013-14 finished 3rd but lost in the playoffs to Lowestoft Town. In 2015-16 they came 2nd but lost to Dulwich Hamlet and also reached the Semi-Finals of the FA Trophy losing to Grimsby Town. In 2016-17 they came 2nd again but this time beat Wingate & Finchley and Dulwich Hamlet to earn promotion to the National South once again. In 2017-18 they were relegated and in 2018-19 consolidated finishing 14th and won the Sussex Senior Cup. Bognor were 8th when the 2019-20 season was null and voided, 14th in the much shortened 2020-21 season and 9th last season.
Cray Wanderers vs Bognor Regis Town – 21/1/2014
Admission: £12 adults, £6 concessions/U18s online at www.cray-wanderers.com/tickets or pay at gate (cash only). Printed programme, £2 also available.