Cray Wanderers vs Sutton Common Rovers – The pre-match thoughts of Danny Kedwell

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – August 14: Cray Wanderers’s Manager, Danny Kedwell watches on from the sidelines 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)

Photos: Jon Hilliger/

Cray Wanderers play their first Sunday league game of the 2021-22 Isthmian Premier season as Potters Bar Town make only their second visit to Hayes Lane.  Here Cray Wanderers manager looks back at Saturday’s FA Cup defeat to Sutton Common Rovers and gives an injury update. Also Danny looks ahead to a quick fire double header against the Scholars and Corinthian Casuals on Tuesday night. 

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 04: Cray Wanderers’s player manager, Danny Kedwell, watches his volley head goal wards as Sutton Common Rovers’s Aaron Bogle flinches during the Emirates FA Cup – 1st Qualifying Round match between Cray Wanderers and Sutton Common Rovers at Hayes Lane on September 04, 2021 in Bromley, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Let‘s start by going back to last Saturday and the FA Cup tie with Sutton Common Rovers. On reflection Rovers played well and merited the victory but for Cray Wanderers was it just a bad day at the office?

 I would say it was a bad day at the office. The players just didn’t work hard enough and in my eyes it looked like the players thought they just had to turn up and win. I did explain beforehand when you play a team a league below us that they are always going to step their game up and work hard and we just have to match that and our quality will come out in the end. Unfortunately they worked harder than us and came out with the result and deserved it as well.

I thought in the first ten minutes we started well and if one of those shots from Archie Burnett and Fjord Rogers goes in and we went in front then I think we would have gone on and won. As it was, it was Sutton Common who scored first and continued to hang on to their lead and gradually built on it.   

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 04: Cray Wanderers’s Archie Burnett takes a shot during the Emirates FA Cup – 1st Qualifying Round match between Cray Wanderers and Sutton Common Rovers at Hayes Lane on September 04, 2021 in Bromley, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

I told the boys beforehand don’t give them anything to hang onto. I’ve played in FA Cup games before where this has happened to me and you can’t allow the underdog team go in front as they gain confidence and up their game. Again it was a mistake for their first goal and it wasn’t just that there were three or four things leading up to it that we should have dealt with better. It’s frustrating and I didn’t have a good weekend to be honest. We are picking up a lot of injuries, we do not have a settled back four at the minute with Ejiro being out and had to bring Archie in as we are low on numbers also Jamie Yila, Charlie Allen, Jukesy has a little calf problem, Adam I couldn’t bring on as I couldn’t risk him with the two league games coming up. We haven’t had our settled team and obviously for the first two weeks we did have and the results show how good we were and missing the calibre of players like Ejiro, Charlie and Adam are big losses.

You mention the injured players, I believe and no disrespect to Sutton Common Rovers as they played well on the day, if we had EJ, Charlie, Andy, Jamie, Adam and we played them again today I think we would have won. Also Joey Taylor picked up what looked like a bad injury towards the end of the first half.

Beckenham | England | 24 July 2021 | Eden Park Avenue
Beckenham Town v Cray Wanderers
Pre-Season Friendly
(Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

I think if we had a bit more experience also in the side we would have won. We had quite a young side there was only me, Nicky Bailey, Dean Beckwith and Anthony Cook that were over 28 with the likes of Cameron, Archie, Fjordy, people see him and think he is a big guy but he is only 23. Joey Taylor has now ruptured his Achilles so there is another injury so will probably miss a lot of the season now. Joey has been so consistent and has been brilliant for us so far so a big setback for us.

Credit though to Sutton Common Rovers, they wanted it more and worked harder than us it’s as simple as that and the boys need a bit of a reality check because I won’t be having that especially as the player I was, I can’t run around as much but you have to have more of a work ethic than the other team, that is a priority and on Saturday we didn’t.

Let’s face facts we are not going to win the FA Cup and there will be a lot of clubs like us rather gutted not to be still involved in the competition. In your experience is it better to wait now until Sunday to play again or is the motivation to get back playing sooner to get back on track.

I felt that after the Worthing game what with Margate coming so close afterwards and I said after the Margate game that we dominated both matches and didn’t deserve to come away with a defeat. I thought with the little break from Monday to Saturday that that would be the turning point.  So I’ve had the boys in twice this week on Tuesday and Thursday as I think there are things that need doing and a bit of shuffling around, I need to get more players in as it doesn’t look like Ejiro is going to be back just yet and with Joey out too.  What we really need to do is get back to winning ways on Sunday and start to crack on with our season. At the moment we can’t crack on as we are worried about injuries.

To show the luck we are getting at the moment, Charlie Allen was doing a 12 minute run around the pitch and ends up twisting his ankle in a hole with the sprinkler and was in agony.  I told the players just what a big miss it is not to have Charlie in the team as he does all the donkey work, he makes runs and space for players, rats around and does the work that perhaps the fans don’t always see.  So he is a big miss for us too at the moment but it is hard but we have to get through it and see how many wins we can pick up until the team is all fit again as I do believe in these boys when we are at full strength.

You alluded to Archie Burnett who we’ve signed on loan from Bromley for the month of September who looks a major talent and highly regarded by Bromley and also Nicky Bailey who does bring experience to the midfield.

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 04: Cray Wanderers’s Archie Burnett makes his way to the changing room after being substituted in the second half of the Emirates FA Cup – 1st Qualifying Round match between Cray Wanderers and Sutton Common Rovers at Hayes Lane on September 04, 2021 in Bromley, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Archie is a very good player and that is the reason why he has come to us for a month. Saturday’s game was his first match for a while and he worked himself into the ground first half, running past people and where people are looking to mark him he is going around tackling them. He did burn out after 70 minutes and said his legs were hurting which was expected.

Same for Nicky Bailey, we needed some experience and he needs to keep fit as well but is quality on the ball, doesn’t give the ball away, can break the play up and when fully fit he is going to be a massive addition to the team. He is a winner, great in the changing room, he won’t take any nonsense and teaches the younger players. You don’t see what goes on but he is magnificent in the changing room and I’m getting people from Conference South clubs who’ve been after him saying how have we got him? He knows he isn’t quite match fit as he hasn’t played any football apart from a little pre-season work but in a month’s time I think we will see the benefits of him being with Cray Wanderers and the qualities he has.

We return to league football with a double header against Potters Bar and at Corinthian Casuals on Tuesday. The beauty of this league is the contrast in styles between teams we play each week. Some more rugged and uncompromising and others more cultured and direct. We are teams perhaps scratching around for a bit of form, is now a good time to focus on the league once again.

 Corinthian Casuals drew at Worthing in the FA Cup and then beat them in the replay and only lost to league leader Kingstonian to a penalty so they will be tricky as will Potters Bar as they will be determined like us to get going after one or two results. What we need to do is focus on taking our chances and defending properly, not just from the defence but from the front. All games at the moment are going to be tough and for the first ten games of the season no-one knows where anyone is and jockeying for position. You have teams who play in different styles one week to the next. The first two weeks we had that. Lewes looked to play football against us and we dealt with that. The following week at Hornchurch and they try to rough you up a bit and are direct so we dealt with that so we can deal with differing styles but  just need to stop giving silly goals away. Apart from the goal Lewes scored against us which was well crafted all the other goals we’ve conceded have been avoidable and this needs to stop and then we will move forward.