The 2016-17 Ryman League South season comes to an end on Saturday with Cray Wanderers in Kent derby action away to Faversham Town. Kick off at Salters Lane is 3pm.
It seems impossible that the season has come to an end already but we are at that stage and it promises to be a tremendous contest as eleventh placed Wands take on ninth placed Faversham Town.
Cray have had less than 48 hours to prepare for the game following the Three Bridges re-arrangement but despite that the Wands put in a professional display to win 4-0 in a game played at East Grinstead on Thursday night.
The game was fairly even for 70 minutes with Cray one up through Anthony Adesite’s well taken goal. Despite hitting the post and missing a penalty Luke Medley wasn’t to be denied and scored two excellent goals to give Cray breathing space and took his season tally to 26. Danny Haynes superb free kick rounded off a very satisfactory evening for Tony Russell’s team. With such a short space of time between games there was perhaps a case of squad rotation for some players but there were some really good performances against Three Bridges with particular mention to the young players like Ben Mundele and Timi Osidobu who have been in great form for some time now. Anthony Adesite and Brandon Scott gave good performances as did Zak Henry who played with a lot of assurance in midfield.
Defensively, Antonio Lazzari and Jai McKinlay after a difficult opening to the game stuck to their tasks well and Nick Blue when called upon made some smart saves. With an excellent performance against Greenwich on Easter Monday to go with it, two clean sheets in a week is very encouraging.
Although they may be some disappointment with an eleventh place finish there is no doubt there is enormous potential within the team and next season with a change of playing surface at Hayes Lane, the hoped for return of James Duckworth after a season out and perhaps one or two new additions the club hopes to be more competitive next year.
Our opponents on Saturday, Faversham started the season well and were playoff contenders in the early weeks of the season. Ray Turner’s side had a disappointing run between October and December where they won just five games and slipped down the table. However, they have been one of the form teams in 2017 and out of the last 23 games have won 13 of them which put them back as an outsider for the playoffs but now seem set for a ninth placed finish.
Salters Lane is usually a difficult place to get a result and they have lost only four games at home all season, and three of those were against the top three. The two sides have met twice earlier this season within a week of each other. When the two sides met on August 27th Cray edged a cracking contest 1-0 at Hayes Lane with Anthony Adesite turning the ball in from close range to decide the game. A week later in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, Faversham won 1-0 through Kieran Campbell’s second half goal although the Wands were denied the stonewall penalty of the season when Grant Basey was fouled inside the area with the game scoreless.
Faversham were promoted to the Ryman League as champions of the Kent League in 2010-11. Since then they have been one of the most consistent teams in the league. In 2012-13 they had a great season finishing third and reached the playoff final where they lost to Maidstone United. In 2014-15 they had another great season again finishing third, scoring 111 goals but were beaten by Merstham on penalties in the playoff semi-final. They reached the playoff final last season after finishing fifth but after beating Dorking Wanderers in the semi-final they were beaten 3-0 by Worthing in the final. They also reached the final of the Ryman League Cup where they lost to Kingstonian. This season hasn’t been quite as dramatic but in a league as good as this one has been in 2016-17, a top ten finish is a good achievement.
As we say farewell for the 2016-17 season a big thank you to all the supporters for giving the club such great and loyal support throughout the season. It has been great to see so many of you there and the players appreciate greatly your support as skipper Lea Dawson confirms – “The Cray Massive home and away have been quality. Next season we will deliver that promotion”
Also a big thank you to the management, players and club officials who to me have helped make this one of my favourite seasons of recent years. No stresses, no strains, no relegation fears whilst knocking on the door of the playoff places up to the end of February. What more could you want!
I hope you all have a great summer and we’ll see you again for pre-season in July.
DIRECTIONS TO FAVERSHAM TOWN FC
Shepherd Neame Stadium
SAT NAV CODE ME13 8ND
Over 60s & Student Card Holders: £5
Children aged 12-17: £2
Children under 12 – Free
*Under 12’s must be accompanied by an adult.
From junction 6 of the M2 (A251) follow the signs for Faversham. At the junction with the A2 turn right and the ground is on the right after approximately half a mile. The entrance is in Salters Lane, opposite Mill House Residential Home. If using SAT NAV please when turning off at Junction 6 at the top please turn left not right as it tells you to.
If you are coming by train then exit the station and follow the road around to the left on Forbes Road. This will become “The Mall” and when this road reaches London Road, turn left and the ground is 300 yards on your right hand side.
There are trains to Faversham that leave Bromley South at 23, 53 and 58 minutes past the hour and take around about just over an hour to get there. Returns back to Bromley South leave at 03, 22 and 38 past the hour.
The Cray Massive On Tour – Faversham
If you want a drink in Faversham, well it probably is the brewing capital of the country with the Shepherd Neame Brewery founded in 1698 believed to be the oldest family run brewery in the UK. This is in Court Street and about a mile from the ground.
The nearest pubs to the ground are the Crown and Anchor in the Mall which is on the approach to London Road and the ground. There is also the Elephant Inn also in the Mall and the Railway Hotel near the station. Across the road from the ground is the Reads Restaurant.
There are quite a few Fish and Chip shops in Faversham with the Park Fish Bar on East Street close to the Brewery perhaps the most highly rated.
There are two Indian restaurants fairly close to each other in Preston Street, The Prince of India (ME13 8PA) and The Spice Lounge on East Street. The nearest Chinese restaurant is Yeungs Li’s about five minutes from the station.
Faversham lies next to the Swale river and was a major seaport and lays claim to have been the capital of Saxon England. There was an Abbey in the town but was practically destroyed in 1538 and there are historical links to nearby Canterbury.
Gunpowder was made there from the late 16th century but the factories were closed in 1934 and never re-opened. Since then the town has been renowned for its hops and brewing and its market believed to be the oldest in Kent still in existence.
Faversham Town are also the only football team besides the England national team to have three lions on their badge.