Cray Wanderers continue a run of home games against National South opposition on Saturday as Tonbridge Angels are the visitors to Hayes Lane. Ko 3pm. Admission £10/£5 on gate (Cash only) or online at Please note entrance to the ground is via the Broomfields bar/restaurant in the Glyn Beverley Stand.

BROMLEY, GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 05: Cray Wanderers’s Sam Skeffington fires off a shot from the edge of the box during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Cray Wanderers and Welling United at Hayes Lane on July 05, 2022 in Bromley, Greater London, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Neil Smith’s Cray Wanderers side gave an encouraging display on Tuesday night going down 0-2 to Welling United in a game much closer than the scoreline suggests. With a few players still at the trialist stage it gave a chance to the Wands management to cast their eyes over a few potential signings. Certainly Dan Bassett looks lively up front and Anthony Cook and Billy Crook have begun pre-season well. Sam Skeffington gave an all action performance and played the full 90 minutes and there were a couple of trialists who caught the eye.

BROMLEY, GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 05: Cray Wanderers’s Daniel Bassett cuts the ball back across the area during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Cray Wanderers and Welling United at Hayes Lane on July 05, 2022 in Bromley, Greater London, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

It will be a good test against Tonbridge Angels who despite at points of the season looking in trouble ended fairly comfortably in 16th place last season. Tonbridge Angels are beginning a new era in management with Jay Saunders taking over at Longmead in May from Steve McKimm who had been in charge since 2014. Jay is a full time appointment for the Angels and achieved great success as Maidstone United manager guiding them to promotion from the Isthmian to the National League and spent a handful of seasons at Margate. He is assisted by Tommy Parkinson and Lloyd Blackman. They begun pre-season with a 5-1 win against Sutton Common Rovers last Saturday with new signing from Billericay Town, Femi Akinwande scoring four and one of number of new signings which include Mason Saunders-Henry from Welling United, midfielders Lewis Gard from Southend United, Emmanuel Maja from Enfield Town and Tommie Fagg from Ashford United and defender Ben Swift from Margate. On Tuesday night they continued their bright start with a 3-0 win at Folkestone Invicta with goals from Joe Turner, Fagg and Saunders-Henry.

The club will be playing on a 3G surface next season which is currently being laid and the club are looking to build a prosperous future and be competitive in the National South. They begin the 2022-23 season on 6th August at home to Weymouth with the first away game at Slough Town the following Saturday.

The teams last played in a friendly at the start of the 2019-20 pre-season campaign with Cray winning 4-2 at Hayes Lane with Freddie Parker scoring a hat-trick on 13th July 2019. New Wands signing Tom Derry scored for Tonbridge that afternoon.

Pic. Jon Hilliger/

Tonbridge FC were formed in 1947 and were Southern League regulars in the Premier or League 1 from a couple of years later and had some good runs to the 1st Round of the FA Cup in the 1950’s and 60’s and Malcolm MacDonald and Roy Hodgson, two future Fulham managers played for Angels in the 1960’s. In 1972-73 Tonbridge won promotion to the Premier Division and reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup for the fifth time losing to Charlton Athletic. Tonbridge Angels were born in 1976 after Tonbridge went into liquidation and at the end of the 1980’s Angels were relegated to the Kent League where they had some good battles with the Angels for three seasons in the Kent League in the early 90’s with Cray beating Angels twice in the 1990-91 season with Tonbridge managed by former Wands captain Phil Emblen. Tonbridge were promoted as Champions in 1992-93 returning to the Southern League.

The club moved to the Isthmian Premier in 2004-05 but were relegated to Division One South where they met Cray Wanderers once again and made an instant return to the Premier via the playoffs beating Dover Athletic in the final. Tonbridge did well in the Premier and finished 3rd in 2008/09 losing to Carshalton in the playoffs and met Cray for two seasons with Tonbridge being Cray’s first ever home opponents in the Premier in August 2009. Cray won 4-0 at Tonbridge in September 2010 but Angels managed by Tommy Warrilow after an iffy start to the season ended on a roll and reached the playoffs beating Lowestoft Town 4-3 in the Final. Tonbridge spent three seasons in the National South finishing 9th n 2011-12 before being relegated in 2013-14. In 2018-19 Angels under Steve McKimm’s management finished 4th and after beating Merstham in the Isthmian Premier playoffs won a Super playoff against Southern League Metropolitan Police to win promotion. In the first Covid impacted season of 2019-20 Tonbridge finished 15th on PPG and the annulled season of 2020-21 reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup losing to Bradford City at home but sadly with no supporters present.  

Tonbridge are a well-supported club and seem to be moving in the right direction as are Cray Wanderers and this should be a good watch for supporters and neutrals alike.