Cray Wanderers vs Welling United, PSF: Tuesday 3rd August, 7.45pm.

Match Preview.Pics: & Dave Budden

With the new Isthmian Premier division season just 11 days away, Cray Wanderers prepare this evening with the final home pre-season fixture as Welling United are the visitors to Hayes Lane. Kick off 7.45 pm.

Herne Bay | England | 31 July 2021 | MBS Stadium Herne Bay v Cray Wanderers Pre-Season Friendly (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

The match also sees the Wands face one of Danny Kedwell’s former clubs as Danny spent two seasons with Welling from 2005-07 and scored 38 goals in 70 appearances for the Wings. Cray have had a reasonably solid pre-season in terms of results, winning 4 drawing 2 and losing 1 of the 7 games played with two more matches to go in preparation before the league season begins on 14th August at home to Lewes. Cray Wanderers coach Jon Main also had a spell at Welling United from 2012 and was part of their National South title success in 2012-13.

Herne Bay | England | 31 July 2021 | MBS Stadium Herne Bay v Cray Wanderers Pre-Season Friendly (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

The last outing for Cray was on Saturday at Herne Bay where Cray led for a large chunk of the game following Sadik Balarabe’s header on 15 minutes but the home side who pressed for much of the second half levelled in the 87th minute. There have been some very positive performances from many of the players with the likes of Jack Turner in goal, Harvey Brand, Abdul Saccoh, Joey Taylor, Cameron Brodie, Jamie Yila, Anis Nuur, Sadik Balarabe, all new signings look like excellent acquisitions. Hopefully any injury problems can be ironed out ahead of the season with just one more pre-season game to follow at Ashford United on Sunday, 8th August.

Herne Bay | England | 31 July 2021 | MBS Stadium Herne Bay v Cray Wanderers Pre-Season Friendly (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Welling United like so many clubs will be raring to go after the frustrations of the last couple of seasons where the National South campaigns have ended abruptly and Steve Lovell’s side begin their National South season at Havant & Waterlooville on 14th August. Last season was a little difficult and were bottom of the table when the season was abandoned although they did win their last game played, a 4-3 win at home to Ebbsfleet in February 2021. With no relegation or promotion from the Isthmian Premier/Southern Leagues they can rebuild and start again. Their last pre-season game saw Welling draw 1-1 at Cray Valley PM on Saturday.

Surprisingly competitive games between Cray and Welling have been few and far between with only two league games played in the London Spartan League Premier in 1977-78 and other games were in cup ties with the last coming in the FA Trophy in 2012-13 with Welling winning 1-0 at Hayes Lane. The clubs moved in different circles after that with Cray off to the Kent League and Welling to the Athenian League and later the Southern League where they won the Premier Division in 1985-86 and were promoted to the Conference where they remained until 2000 and reached the 3rd Round of the FA Cup in 1989 losing narrowly to Blackburn Rovers at Park View Road. After returning to the Southern League they formed part of the new National South division in 2004 and were a very consistent club at that level and in 2011-12 reached the playoff final losing to Dartford but in 2012-13 under the player-management of Jamie Day won the National South and gained promotion to the Conference where they remained until 2015-16. In 2018-19 Welling reached the playoff final after beating Chelmsford City but were beaten in the final by the odd goal at Woking before lying 12th when the National South was decided on PPG in 2019-20.

Cray vs Welling United in the FA Trophy, November 2012. Pic. Dave Budden

Both clubs have a rich history and with both clubs under new ex-Gillingham stewardship will be looking forward to hopefully an unbroken season and a successful one.

Admission costs for this evening. Tickets are on sale online, £10.00/£5.00 or you can pay at the gate on the evening.