Cray Wanderers vs Leyton Orient – London Senior Cup 1st Round – Wednesday 2nd November, 7.45 pm – Match Preview

Photos – Ozay Booth – Simon Roe Photography

Cray Wanderers make their return to the London Senior Cup for the first time since 2014 on Wednesday 2nd November as Leyton Orient are the visitors to Hayes Lane for the first competitive meeting between the sides.

Cray’s last home game in the competition was in March 2014 when AFC Wimbledon won 2-1 in a match played at Beckenham Town and Leyton Orient will provide tough opposition whether it is full strength side, fringe players or youth players.  

 The Wands go into November in good heart after picking up eight points from the last four league games and are 7th in the Isthmian Premier table following the weekend’s games.  Neil Smith’s side have shown good character having fallen behind in three of those four matches including against Enfield Town on 22nd October where Dan Bassett’s seventh goal of the season earned a point from a 1-1 draw.  There have been fine performances from Shaun Rowley in goal, Jalen Jones and Sinn’kaye Christie are forming a solid partnership at the back.  Loanee signings Kellen Fisher and Leyton Orient’s Harrison Sodje have already shown their quality and in midfield, Ben Krauhaus (another loanee) has made his mark with four goals in October including a hat-trick against Brightlingsea Regent.  David Ijaha made his return after missing  a couple of games through injury against Enfield and was outstanding in midfield while Dan Bassett and Nyren Clunis add quality on the wings and Tom Derry up front has worked hard all season.

With matches against Aveley, Lewes, Wingate & Finchley, Horsham and Carshalton Athletic upcoming in November it remains to be seen whether Neil Smith will play a young side like at Sheppey United in the Kent Senior Cup or with Leyton Orient arriving in terrific form maybe add some experience to the side.

Richie Wellens Leyton Orient side are one of the in form sides in the country and currently top EFL League 2 on 39  points, three ahead of  Stevenage Borough after a 1-0 win at home to Salford City on Saturday having played one game fewer.  Paul Smyth’s 14th minute goal was his seventh goal of the season.  The O’s have won 12, drawn 3 and lost just one of their 16 league games played.

Away from home, they picked up wins at Crawley Town (1-0), Colchester United (3-1), Rochdale (1-0), Barrow (2-0) and Carlisle United (3-2) and a point from draws at Swindon Town (1-1) and Doncaster Rovers (1-1).  At home Leyton Orient have beaten Grimsby Town (2-0), Mansfield Town (1-0), Hartlepool United (4-2), Tranmere Rovers (2-0), Walsall (1-0), Gillingham (2-0) and Salford City (1-0) and drawn with Northampton Town (0-0). Their only league defeat so far came at home to Newport County (1-2).  They begin their FA Cup campaign on Saturday with a trip to Crewe Alexandra in the 1st Round.  In the League Cup, Leyton Orient were beaten at Forest Green and in the EFL Cup lost at Oxford United but beat Sutton United at home 3-1.

Richie Wellens was appointed manager in March 2022 and helped move Leyton Orient to safety and in the end finished 13th in the 2021-22 season.

Although the teams have never played in a competitive game the sides have played two friendlies including as part of the Wands 150 year Anniversary celebrations in July 2010 with Leyton Orient winning 2-0 and the sides drew 2-2 during the 2016-17 pre-season.

Credit – SIMON ROE

Credit – SIMON ROE

The match pits two of London’s oldest clubs with Cray in 1860 and Orient formed in 1881 originally as the Glyn Cricket Club becoming Clapton Orient in 1890.  Elected into the Football League in 1905 the club remained in the 2nd Division until 1929.  During the 1st World War 41 members of the Clapton Orient squad signed up to the 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment with three players losing their lives at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The courage of the club players was recognised by a visit from King Edward VIII in April 1921 to a league match vs Notts County and was the first royal to attend a football league match

Before the Second World War in 1937, the club relocated to Leyton and changed their name to Leyton Orient and the O’s were in the 3rd Division South and won the title in 1955-56.

The club had their greatest moment in 1961-62 under the management of Johnny Carey when they won promotion to the top flight of English Football for the only time having come second behind Liverpool.  Their stay was only for one season but was still a great achievement.  They were relegated to Division 3 in 1965-66 and also that season changed their name to Orient.  In 1969-70 under the astute management of Jimmy Bloomfield Orient won the 3rd Division title and remained in the 2nd Division throughout the 70’s – early 80’s. Orient famously beat Chelsea in the FA Cup 5th Round in 1972, 3-2 at Brisbane Road and in 1977-78 reached the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup for the only time beating Norwich City, Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea and Middlesbrough before losing to Arsenal 0-3 at Stamford Bridge.  Orient were relegated to Division 3 in 1981-82, beat 1st Division West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup in 1985 and relegated to Division 4 in 1985-86 and in 1987 returned to the name Leyton Orient.  In 1988-89 the O’s won promotion to Division 3 after beating Wrexham in the Playoff Final but returned to the 4th tier a few seasons later.  After missing out on promotion in the playoffs in 1999 and 2001 Leyton Orient under the management of Tommy Taylor won promotion in 2005-06 and remained in the 3rd tier for a few seasons, reached the 5th round of the FA Cup in 2010-11 and came close to promotion to the Championship in 2013-14 after finishing 3rd but were beaten by Rotherham United in the Playoff Final at Wembley and never really recovered and were relegated the following season.  Leyton Orient then had a period of turbulence and were relegated from the Football League in 2016-17.  

After a poor start to life in the National League, the late Justin Edinburgh was appointed in November 2017 and saw an eventual improvement and in 2018-19 won promotion back to the Football League and reached the FA Trophy Final.  The club have acclimatised back in the league even with the Covid interrupted seasons and look this season to have the determination to challenge for promotion to League 1 and a new period of success for the famous East London club.

A few players have played for the Wands and Leyton Orient down the years from Bert Howe, Danny Chapman, Joe Dolan, George Porter, Charlie Grainger, Jack Sherrat, Bradley Pritchard and both clubs have strong community links.

This should be a great game under the lights and played to a finish with no replay.  Admission £10/£5 on the gate. Please note that season tickets are not valid for this match.