Cray Wanderers reach the halfway stage of their pre-season programme this evening as Tony Russell’s side travel to Park View Road to take on Erith & Belvedere. Kick off is 7.45 pm.
The Wands have won their last four pre-season games and there was evidence at Bearsted on Saturday that the side were starting to crank up a few gears. Despite being without Barney Williams, Karl Dent and Danny Haynes, a Cray team with a clutch of very good young players like Marcus Evans, Freddie Parker, Josh Owen and Ken Charles produced a stylish display against a good side. Experienced heads like Luke Medley and Lea Dawson provided the goals and defensively the Wands have looked very solid indeed with Mitchell Nelson catching the eye with his displays.
The Wands have three more pre-season games after tomorrow with trips to Glebe, Canvey Island and Merstham to come before the big kick off on August 12th.
Like Cray Wanderers, Erith & Belvedere are one of the great names of football in South East London and Kent but have had a disappointing couple of seasons resulting in relegation to the SCEFL Division One last season.
The Deres were founded in 1922 and within two years had reached the FA Amateur Cup Final where they lost to Clapton in the final. They reached the final again in 1937-38 losing to Bromley at the Den. The club went on to achieve success in local cup football winning the Kent Amateur Cup six times. Surprisingly considering the close proximity league games between the two sides have been few and far between with perhaps the greatest period being in the Kent League between 1978-79 – 1981-82 as the two teams built up a competitive rivalry with Cray winning the Kent League in 1980-81 and the Deres the winning the title the following season. Erith and Belvedere then spent many years in the Southern League South and then East before returning to the Kent League in 2005 with Cray now an Isthmian League club. Erith & Belvedere had a great season in 2012-13 winning the Kent League and League Cup double and reached the last 8 of the FA Vase and spent one season in the Ryman North where they were relegated. Since 1999 the club have ground-shared with Welling United at Park View Road following a fire in the main stand at their old Park View ground in 1997.
Luke Coleman’s side start off the new season in the Southern Counties East League Division One and should start as one of the favourites for an instant return. They kick off their season in the Extra-Preliminary of the FA Cup on 5th August at home to Sussex side Wick with the winners at home to Abbey Rangers or Cray Valley PM in the Preliminary Round. They begin their league campaign away to Gravesham Borough on August 12th. In the FA Vase they also were drawn at home in the 1st Qualifying Round against Holmesdale.
Trips to Park View Road are always a pleasure and this should be a decent game between two famous clubs looking for good times ahead.
DIRECTIONS TO PARK VIEW ROAD
Park View Road
Kent DA16 1SY
Leave the M25 at Junction 2 and take the A2 towards Central London. Leave the A2 at the third exit (signposted A221 to Bexleyheath and Sidcup). Take the A221 towards Bexleyheath and at the next roundabout turn right (3rd exit) continue towards Bexleyheath. You will go under a bridge that carries the A2. At the next roundabout take the second exit into Danson Road. Follow this road until your reach a T-junction. At these traffic lights turn left into Park View Road. The ground is down on the left. There is no car park at the ground as such, but there is plenty of street parking available.
Welling station is situated just under a mile away from the ground. As you come out of the station entrance turn right and at the bottom of this road turn left onto Central Avenue. This leads onto a T-Junction with Bellegrove Road (there is the Plough & Harrow pub in front of you) at which you turn left. Continue straight along Bellegrove Road and this leads into the High Street. The ground is further down the High Street on your right. There are four buses which take you to and away from outside Park View Road, no’s 89, 96, 486 and B16.
CRAY MASSIVE ON TOUR – ERITH & BELVEDERE
Park View Road is one of the best non-league football grounds, unusually located in a High Street which gives particularly on a Saturday game plenty of options for drinking and eating.
There are a plethora of pubs in close proximity to the ground including the Guy Earl Of Warwick which is practically next door to the ground. Across the road and heading slightly down the High Street is the Rose and Crown and three minutes walk away from the ground is the Nags Head which is spacious and serves good food. Before you come to this pub is the Door Hinge Micro pub which as it sounds is very small but could well be worth a visit if arriving at the ground early. Further down the High Street and not that far away from the ground are the New Cross Turnpike which is a Wetherspoons pub and a short walk from the station is the Plough & Harrow which might be a good place to start if you looking to do a crawl.
The Dere’s Clubhouse at the ground is one of the best around and is very long and spacious. If you are going to a Welling United game, the Wings Bar is another great clubhouse which has had substantial improvements in recent years and often holds beer festivals and music.
Food wise there is something for everyone in the High Street with the usual fast food outlets as well as the Danson Fish and Chips on Park View Road and the Seahorse and Elite Fish Bar in the High Street. There are a few Indian, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese restaurants and on Saturday games there is the Happy Belly Café and Grill, greasy spoon which does a fine cooked breakfast.
All in all this is one of the great away days for any supporter or neutral and the ground itself has bags of character and tradition.