There will be drama and excitement under the lights on Wednesday night as the FA Cup throws up a cracking and intriguing tie for Cray Wanderers who take on SCEFL Premier Fisher.  Kick off is 7.45pm. Please note the game will go to penalties if level after ninety minutes and no replay.

The Wands come into the game on a high after beating Kingstonian 5-1 on Saturday in a game which for much of the first half was a close, entertaining affair but Cray’s finishing on the afternoon was superb and in the end Tony Russell’s side won the game comfortably. 

A left footed brace from Joe Taylor in each half meant he was carrying on where he left off last season while Jason Banton despite being not entirely match fit struck six minutes before the break when the K’s were having a good spell of pressure.  A swift box to box breakaway saw Rhys Murrell-Williamson score a third just after half time and Freddie Parker also got off the mark for the season with a now trademark free kick goal.   There were also some excellent performances throughout the side and easy to forget with the final scoreline but Lewis Carey made some fine saves during the first half to keep the visitors at bay. Barney Williams and Tom Carlse especially also excelled and the centre-halves did well against a strong K’s front three and two assists from Bradley Pritchard for Joe Taylor augurs well for the season. Two fine young players also made their mark, Emanuel Oduguwa and Stefan Abatan but for this game, Abatan is cup-tied after appearing for Erith & Belvedere in a previous round.     

Despite the win there is no over-celebration as the focus now turns to Fisher and the challenge the Bermondsey side will pose and any complacency could be fatal and an upset could occur.

Ajay Ashanike’s side advanced to the 1st Qualifying Round by winning at Isthmian South-Central Tooting & Mitcham United on 12th September on a penalty shoot-out. Goals from Christian Udo and Josh Biddlecombe twice levelled for the Fish and they won 3-1 on spot kicks.  Their league form has seen them win, lose and draw in their first three games. After a goalless draw at Crowborough Athletic on the opening day of the season and a 0-1 home defeat to Balham, they then won 3-1 at home to Tower Hamlets last Tuesday.  On Saturday they advanced in the FA Vase with a 4-0 home victory vs Little Common with goals from Rob Brown, Tarik Ibrahim and two goals from Julio Da Mata.  Last season, Fisher were placed 12th in the SCEFL Premier when the season ended early in March.

The current Fisher club were re-formed in 2009 as a fan owned project playing at Dulwich Hamlet and in 2016-17 after years of playing away from the Bermondsey & Rotherhithe areas returned to their old roots at Salter Road at the St Pauls Sports Ground. 

The previous Fisher Athletic club were founded in 1908 with origins in the Fisher Catholic Club for Boys.  They had a steady rise through the 70’s and played in the London Spartan League second tier under Cray Wanderers and won the Premier Division in 1980-81 & 1981-82 and then played at the Surrey Docks Stadium. Fisher Athletic were Southern League South Champions in 1982-83 and in the 1984-85 season reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup for the first time losing to Bristol City at home. They then won the Southern League Premier in 1986-87 earning promotion to the Conference and reached the FA Cup 1st Round again losing at Bristol Rovers. They remained in the Conference for four seasons and were relegated in 1990-91.  In 2004-05 they were promoted from the Southern League to the Isthmian Premier and in their first season were promoted to the Conference South after beating Hampton & Richmond in the playoff final.  However despite doing well in the South financial problems had set in and a winding up order granted and in 2008-09 with a very young side were relegated and wound up. Then the new fan owned Fisher club were formed and in 2017-18 were promoted back to the SCEFL Premier following relegation to Division One the season before.        

Cray have only previously met Fisher three times and all in cup ties. Fisher who were a division below Cray in the London Spartan League beat the Wands 3-0 at home in the London Senior Cup in January 1977. Cray though won 2-1 at Fisher Athletic in the FA Vase in November 1980 with Eddie Jones and Alan Whitehead scoring.  The new Fisher side beat Cray in the London Senior Cup at home on penalties in March 2010 after a 2-2 draw with Leigh Bremner and George Porter scoring.  There was a two division gap between the sides back then so proof not to take things too lightly on Wednesday.

This has the makings of a great cup tie with a few links between the clubs strongly forged and under the lights this could be quite an evening.

Tickets are still available on-line if you wish to purchase via the Buy Tickets page. There will be cash admission on the night, £10.00 adults, £5.00 concessions and the club will be using the evePASS app which assists with track and trace and saves time filling out details but for those without smartphones you will need to leave your name, mobile no or address upon entering the ground.