Cray Wanderers return to league action on Saturday after a short layoff with the first of two home games to finish September as Brightlingsea Regent are the visitors to Hayes Lane. Kick off 3pm.

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 12: Cray Wanderers’s Ejiro Okosieme gets his head to the ball whilst surrounded by Potters Bar Town players during the The Pitching In Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Potters Bar Town at Hayes Lane on September 12, 2021 in Bromley, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

The match sees two sides who got off to good starts to the season but both are now looking to arrest a run of defeats. Cray having won the first two games have lost the last five in league and cup and Brightlingsea who picked up seven points from their first four games have lost the last four games.

Injuries haven’t helped Cray’s cause since August and on Wednesday night, a side featuring a handful of trialists who could yet play a part for the club and players like Andy Drury, Charlie Allen and notably Jack Hanson got a run out against Bromley U23s with Hanson scoring in a 1-1 draw. Stability has been a problem with also the likes of Anthony Cook, Adam Coombes and Ejiro Okosieme all been hampered in the earl y weeks of the season  but hopefully the injury situation will ease with Joey Taylor the long term injury at this point and also at times luck has been in short supply. Cameron Brodie who has had a good season to date is unavailable due to suspension.

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – August 14: ***NAME*** during the Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Lewes at Hayes Lane on August 14, 2021 in Bromley, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Brightlingsea got off to good start to the season with a 2-0 home win vs Merstham on 15th August and although they were beaten at Enfield Town (0-2), Tom Austin’s team next beat Leatherhead 1-0 at home and then picked up a point from a 1-1 draw at East Thurrock United on Bank Holiday Monday. Since then a 3-2 defeat at Leiston in the FA Cup was followed by three straight league defeats at Kingstonian (1-3) and at home to Bishop’s Stortford (1-4) and to Lewes (0-4) last Saturday. Top scorer is Lewis Byrne-Hewitt with three goals.

The sides have met only six times In the Isthmian North and Premier with Cray winning four and Brightlingsea two.  The last meeting was the last game played in 2019-20 season for both clubs on 7th March, 2020 with Cray winning 1-0 at Hayes Lane.  Brightlingsea were 22nd when the season ended early following the outbreak of the Covid pandemic and in the shortened 2020-21 season were 19th after eleven matches.

Joel Rollinson gets a shot in on goal during the last meeting between the teams on 7th March, 2020. 

Brightlingsea Regent were formed only in 2005 following a merger of Brightlingsea United and the youth club Regent Park Rangers.  Brightlingsea United had been playing in the Essex and Suffolk Border League (Step 7) at the time of the merger.  The original club were founded in 1928 and had played in the Essex and Suffolk Border League until 1972 when they joined the Essex Senior League. They won the Premier Division title back to back in 1988-89 and 1989-90 and went on to the Eastern Counties League gaining promotion to the Premier in 1990-91.  In 2003 they left the league and two years later they began again as the new Brightlingsea Regent club.  They won back to back promotions and in 2010-11 won promotion to Division One of the Eastern Counties League.  In 2012-13 they achieved another promotion to the Premier Division and the following season finished runners up and were promoted to Div One North of the Isthmian League where they met Cray Wanderers for the first time.  They twice came close to reaching the playoffs before in 2016-17 they won the North Division title and gained promotion to the Isthmian Premier.  They finished 20th in their first season at this level but comfortably clear of relegation and finished 13th , in 2018-19 their highest ever league placing.

Both teams will be desperate to get their seasons going again and should be an enjoyable, open encounter.  Admission £10.00 adults/£5.00 concessions available online on the tickets page or on the gate.