Cray Wanderers got the Danny Kedwell era at the club under way with two wins to start the league season at home to Lewes and then on Saturday victory at FA Trophy holders Hornchuch. Here Danny looks back at his first two games in charge and a look ahead to the Bank Holiday double header vs Worthing and Margate.

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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)


Congratulations on you and the team for a winning start to the season and to your managerial career. An excellent win at Hornchurch at the weekend where not many teams will win this season. What are your thoughts on the game and the performance?

I’ve watched the game back and I feel we played better than I initially first thought. After the game Saturday I felt at first we hadn’t played that well. Watching it back I thought the boys dealt with Hornchurch’s threat in the first half magnificently. First 5-10 minutes they got behind us a few times and got their goal which came following a throw-in but afterwards I thought we dominated much of the game. It didn’t look like they were going to threaten us until Jack Turner’s great save late in the second half. The lads did very well and I thought they deserved the win.

Hornchurch started confidently and with a bit of a swagger but after going a goal down early we got back into it with Jamie Yila’s second goal of the season. Jamie’s has had an exceptional start to the season hasn’t he and a terrific talent.

 I saw Jamie play a couple of times for Fisher last season and he was very raw and I knew with a bit of coaching with him he would be something special. He was very direct and he does a lot of his work with the ball and didn’t really know the game defensively so he has listened and I would say the last two pre-season games and the first two games of the season defensively he has been magnificent as well as great going forward. So he has a bit of both now which will be frightening and he can lift the crowd when he gets the ball and runs with it you wonder where this is going! I’m on the sidelines but when he gets on the ball I’m jumping up with him.

Two important goals for him and for the team so far. Against Lewes he gave us that bit of leeway at 3-1 after some great work from Adam Coombes and a great finish against Hornchurch on Saturday which got us going.

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – August 14: Cray Wanderers’s Jamie Yila scores his sides third goal of the match 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)


It was a bit more of a tactical game at Hornchurch in the second half. Jack had to make a couple of fine saves but we went in front with Ejiro’s goal after a great delivery from a free kick by Andy Drury who has been excellent too in the first couple of games.

Andrew is our ball player and very good on the ball and his brain is two-three seconds ahead of everyone else’s and you can see has played in the Championship.  Sometimes things might not come off for him and he gets a bit frustrated if others cannot read it but I thought he did the donkey work on Saturday which I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do before.  Sometimes when you watch a game back you see things and I was shocked with the amount of hard work he put in and did a magnificent run back when the forward was one on one and toe-poked the ball away from him. I think from about 60 minutes they began to bombard us a bit and I thought the boys defended from the front all the way to the back and we were up against it and rode it out and got a goal.

In many ways the classic away performance and we go in front with a towering header from Ejiro Okosieme who also has been superb in the first couple of games.  Another great find for us.

 I think Ejiro and Freddie Cray for the first couple of games have been magnificent. I said to Freddie before the game you will be up against Chris Dickson who is very strong and he will play on you because of your size and I think he struggled for the first 10 minutes but got to grips with him and didn’t really see him much after that.  He is another young lad at 23 years old and Ejiro has been great but they’ve only played two games, early days and just have to keep going.

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – August 14: Cray Wanderers’s Ejiro Okosieme rises higher than Lewes’s captain, Mitchell Nelson, to win a header 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)

I thought your substitutions have been spot on so far. Charlie Allen came on at half time on Saturday to add a bit of combativeness to the game and also Fjord Rogers when he came on was a handful in both boxes.

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – August 14: Cray Wanderers’s Fjord Rogers 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)


The substitute at half time and this is nothing against Sadik but I felt we needed Charlie’s legs in midfield as Hornchurch were overloading us in the first half and I know that is what Charlie is about and I brought Fjord on but was going to bring him on a bit earlier before Adam went off injured. He is great in both boxes and holds the ball up and just gives us an outlet of getting hold of the ball and sticks with us rather than coming back and made two excellent clearances from corners.

Another player I’ve mentioned pre-season who has been superb so far is Cameron Brodie in midfield who is definitely going to be a fans favourite with his combative style and constant running.

 Cameron is unbelievable to have in your team but sometimes he does give you a scare like when he got booked and was thinking of taking him off early in case he was sent off as I would rather take a point and have 11 men on the pitch but he has managed it well in both games and since he got booked as he is a ratter and likes tackling he is mature for his age and carried on ratting but was more cautious and handled it very well.

Let’s take it back to your first game in charge against Lewes. We were all a bit apprehensive beforehand and it was a bit strange as a new era vs much of the old era for the club. How was that experience for you?

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – August 14: Cray Wanderers’s Adam Coombes takes a shot whilst through on goal 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)

To be honest I didn’t really think about that and concentrated more on what we were going to do. I know there was a big thing about the ex-Manager Tony Russell coming back first game and he did a magnificent job at Cray Wanderers and I take my hat off to him for what he achieved but I saw it as a normal game and I didn’t want to put too much fire into the match and focus on our boys.  I thought we were excellent on the day and everything I asked of them they did brilliantly.

We came out of the traps quickly and could have been two up in the first ten minutes but scored two goals both by Anthony Cook with excellent finishes.

 That is Cooky and like Andy Drury did a lot of donkey work against Hornchurch and good teams do that. You can’t always play good football and sometimes away from home you have to dig in as it can be tough and you have to show both sides of your game and that was Cooky on Saturday.  We could have been three or four up against Lewes and then it goes 2-1 and that can be the worst score to go in at the break at 2-1.  I said to the boys the first 10-15 minutes will be vital but we found another gear and with the squad we have and depth we can change it from the bench if we need to with the likes of Anis, Fjord and Sadik coming on.

It was good that Dean Beckwith got the last few minutes on Saturday. In terms of injuries is it just Jack Hanson that we are waiting to return.

 Jack is about four weeks away and looks like he might need another pre-season and only played two weeks before getting injured but he will be someone I’m really looking forward to seeing when he comes back.

Looking ahead now to Saturday and the visit of Worthing who are a very good side who’ve been top of the league the last two seasons before they stopped. When the fixtures came out we all thought it was a tough start but we can go into the game with confidence can’t we. Then we go to Margate two days later for a Bank Holiday double header.

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – August 14: Cray Wanderers’s Sadik Balarabe takes on the defender 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)

We can, we’ve come through two tough games with two wins and I can’t see why they shouldn’t be confident. I’ve told them every game will be tough but we just need to stand our ground and see where we are after three games.  We will see after Saturday where we are as a team. With Margate on Monday, I’m going to use my squad very wisely. Sometimes you can’t play the same team in a short space of time as that is where you can pick up injuries. I think I have a good squad, that is why I didn’t bring Anis on Saturday so he will be fresh and could start in one of those two games much like some of the other boys and that is why I will have to use the squad as two games in two days can take it out of the more experienced players but in both games we will be trying to get results.  What we mustn’t do is get carried away with the start of the season. It is two wins but just a start and we need to keep our feet firmly on the ground.