Cray Wanderers vs Charlton Athletic – Match Preview
Midweek cup action at Hayes Lane on Wednesday evening as Cray Wanderers take on Charlton Athletic in the Kent Senior Cup 2nd Round. Kick off at 7.45 pm with the game going to penalties if level after 90 minutes.
Incredibly this is the third season in the last four that the two sides have been drawn together in the Kent Senior Cup with Charlton winning the previous two encounters 4-1 in 2015-16 also in the second round while last season in the Quarter Final Charlton were impressive 5-1 winners in December 2017.
Cray come into the game buoyant after a fine victory against Hastings United on Sunday and Addicks fan Tony Russell’s side will relish the challenge of Jason Euell’s U23s side. The Hastings game could have gone either way with the visitors seeing two efforts cleared off the line and Nick Blue making two key stops early in the match.
Cray who had two goals disallowed for offside, took the lead on the stroke of half time when loanee from Charlton, Wilberforce Ocran struck on his debut and later hit the crossbar. Tom Phipp who had a storming game and also took the brunt of some tough challenges at time crashed home a superb second goal on 56 minutes before a Barney Williams own goal pulled a goal back a minute later. Cray though did well to see out the game and register a huge three points before the always sapping trip to Guernsey on Saturday so with that in mind their might be some changes in personnel from Sunday. For this game, Ocran will not be eligible to play against his parent club.
The Wands reached this round as far back as August 14th with a 2-1 win against Ramsgate at Hayes Lane with a brace of goals from Freddie Parker. Charlton received a bye in the first round.
Charlton play in the Professional Development League 2 and are unbeaten in their last four league games. Away from home they won at Barnsley (4-0) and Coventry City (2-1) and drew at Crewe Alexandra (1-1). They lost at Sheffield United (1-2), Colchester United (0-2), Millwall (0-1) and Cardiff City (1-3). They’ve drawn all their home matches against Birmingham City (2-2), Nottingham Forest (1-1), Watford (0-0), Ipswich Town (2-2), Bristol City (1-1) and against Stoke City (0-0) last Thursday.
Charlton Athletic were formed in 1905 and entered the Football League for the first time in 1921. Their most successful period was before and after World War II reaching the 1st Division for the first time in 1936 and finished runners up in 1937 to Manchester City. When big time football returned after the War Charlton were a force in cup football reaching the FA Cup Final in 1946 losing to Derby County (1-4) before coming back to Wembley the next season and winning the FA Cup for the first time beating Burnley 1-0 with Chris Duffy scoring and they at that time were one of the biggest supported clubs in the country. They stayed in the top flight until 1957 but then went through some lean years with a couple of spells in the old 3rd Division.
The club almost folded in 1984 when they went in administration and at the start of the 1985-86 season were forced to leave their Valley home which once had 75,000 people in attendance in 1938 due to safety concerns and ground shared at Selhurst Park for a number of years. Strangely considering the difficult financial restraints on Lennie Lawrence and his team incredibly they were promoted back to the 1st Division after a near 30 year absence and stayed there for four seasons which is actually something of an unheralded story which deserved better praise and mention in the media (not one Charlton game was televised live in all that time). Eventually Charlton were relegated in 1989-90 and understandably struggled back in what later became the Championship.
However, after much local support, campaigns including a political party and finally relenting from Greenwich Council Charlton returned to a refurbished and rejuvenated Valley on 5th December 1992 with Colin Walsh’s goal beating Portsmouth and a new history was about to be re-written. In a case of heavy poignancy the two sides met again just recently on the 25 year anniversary of the return to the Valley.
A memorable playoff final at Wembley against Sunderland in 1997-98 after a 4-4 draw and penalty shootout victory saw promotion for Alan Curbishley’s side to the Premier League where they were relegated after one season but came back again as 1st Division Champions in 1999-2000. They stayed in the Premier League until 2006-07 often finishing in the top half of the table. Since then their fortunes have flagged somewhat and nowadays find themselves in League 1 (Division 3 in old money) and once again their supporters have faced off the field matters but the club did well to reach the playoffs last season and always done well at Development and Youth level and in building Community relations.
There have always been good connections between the two clubs and many players have worn the colours of Cray Wanderers and Charlton Athletic down the years.
Admission costs are 10 pounds adults, 5 pounds concessions but the Football For A Fiver offer has been reinstated for this fixture so any Charlton supporter or any Premier League, EFL or National League season ticket holder on presentation of card can attend for a Fiver.