Cray Wanderers vs Bromley – Pre-Season Friendly, 5/9/20, 2.30pm

With the start of the new Isthmian Premier season just a fortnight away, pre-season continues on Saturday with the first of a double header of home friendlies with our landlords Bromley sure to provide tough opposition for Tony Russell’s side.  Kick off at Hayes Lane is 2.30pm and please note you must have a pre-purchased ticket as no cash admission on the day. Adult tickets are £10.00 and £5.00 u16s. Please see here a link for tickets.

Cray have been playing well in pre-season over the last few games and followed up a 4-2 win at VCD Athletic on 24th August with a 2-2 draw at Burgess Hill Town last Saturday and a 1-1 draw at Aveley on Tuesday evening. Jay Leader’s early goal gave the Wands the advantage and Aveley quickly levelled but despite plenty of possession and pressure couldn’t quite win the game.

Bromley will provide just the opposition Cray need as a full time Step 1 club and it will be interesting to see Cray up against a National League side and should be a fascinating game.

Pre-season has seen some very good personal performances with Freddie Parker who was rested for the trip to Aveley in superb form including a hat-trick against VCD and also scored a fine goal at Burgess Hill and looks in great shape.

Another player who if Cray Wanderers fans haven’t had a chance to watch the Wands pre-season is a new addition to the team, Kyron Richards.  Kyron who has played at AFC Wakefield was spotted at the trialist day on 1st August at Flamingo Park and has played in all the pre-season games in a number of positions and scored a great goal at VCD and displayed maturity and discipline in the trips to Burgess Hill and Aveley.   Lee Lewis also shone at Aveley with an all-action performance and with most of the friendlies so far being ultra-competitive games compared to other years this has made for some compelling matches so far.

Saturday will be a tough test of Cray Wanderers credentials as Bromley are a hugely respected National League club and Neil Smith’s team are more than just punching above their weight in the top tier of non-league football. Bromley finished 13th last season but did top the league for a number of weeks so more than capable of ruffling feathers in the National League again when the league starts at the beginning of October.   Three new arrivals to the club show a team with ambition with former Ipswich Town and Millwall midfielder Liam Trotter, defender Kory Roberts who arrives from Walsall and today striker James Alabi signed for the club previously at Leyton Orient.

Competitive matches between Cray Wanderers and Bromley have been few and far between in recent years and usually have been reserved for Kent Senior Cup ties but both clubs have a storied history together and in many ways have been intrinsically linked with many Cray Wanderers players going on to play for Bromley and when Cray were promoted to the Isthmian League many began to go the other way.  One of those players, Butch Dunn, a fearless centre-forward recently passed away and had a great scoring record at both clubs. The clubs met in Cray’s first ever season in the Isthmian Division One in 2004-05 and the only time pre-war that teams met in league competition. Cray famously won 5-2 as the home team on 23/10/04 with Bromley winning 3-2 at home in April 2005. Bromley were promoted that season via the playoffs and the brief series of league matches came to an end.

Maybe the biggest game came back on 12th April 1963 when Cray beat Bromley 3-1 in the Kent Amateur Cup Final at Hayes Lane in front of a crowd over 3500. Also there were two FA Cup ties at the old Oxford Road ground in 1976 and 1984 which both went the way of Bromley.

This should be a great occasion on Saturday and with Bromley supporters unable to watch their team play at home at present, the Cray Wanderers match does give an opportunity for their fans to watch their team before their season starts. Cray can go into any match with confidence and should be a great watch for fans of both sides.