Cray Wanderers return to league action on Wednesday after two weeks without a match as they return to Herne Bay for the second time this season. The original contest was abandoned after thirteen minutes due to fog on 6th December. Kick off at Winch’s Field is at 7.45.
The two sides were due to meet in the league last Sunday but the game was postponed due to an unsafe pitch at Hayes Lane. The last time Cray played was at Corinthian Casuals on 14th January but the recent cold spell has meant the postponement of the last three league matches against Tooting & Mitcham United, Corinthian Casuals and Herne Bay. Despite this Cray boss Tony Russell has seen positives in that he has been able to freshen things up in regards to training and also the re-signing of Leigh Bremner (a former Herne Bay player) gives him an experienced and classy option up front. With Danny Haynes suspended we are likely to see Luke Medley play possibly alongside Bremner. Lee Prescott will also be missing from the midfield area due to suspension. Karl Dent with three goals in four games has been in a rich vein of form whilst Lea Dawson has been playing extremely well and helps keep things ticking over and defensively particularly at Hastings and at Corinthian Casuals the whole defence was disciplined and resolute. The feeling around the club despite the postponements is positive and that the club can kick on with their playoff push for the remainder of the season with the emphasis on improving consistency as this would be a great time to put a good run of points together.
Cray dropped to tenth place, eleven points behind fourth placed Carshalton and fifth placed Hythe Town but with plenty of games to come including matches against teams in the top half of the table, many of them at home there is still plenty of room for optimism. They have a lot of ground to make up but are more than capable of narrowing the gap with a run of positive results.
Sam Denly’s Herne Bay come into the game in 17th place in the league table having consolidated after a slow start to the season left them in the bottom three but a four game winning run in the autumn moved them up the table. Since the December 6th contest, two wins over Christmas at Ramsgate and at home to Chatham gave them breathing space away from the relegation places and they won impressively 4-3 at high flying Dorking Wanderers on 7th January to continue the momentum. Since then they have lost their last two league games both against Lewes but they haven’t played a game since January 16th when they were knocked out of the Kent Senior Cup by Dover, 0-1 at Winch’s Field. Since we travelled to Herne Bay they have signed veteran marksman, Ian Pulman formerly of Margate, Ramsgate and Whitstable Town who is a proven goalscorer.
Matches against Herne Bay used to be a regular occurrence back in the Kent League days we met for 26 straight seasons between 1977-78 and 2003-04. During that time Cray won two Kent League titles and Herne Bay won four in that time all during the 1990’s but progress up the league was denied as Winch’s Field at the time didn’t meet the requirements to go further. We had earlier met in the Aetolian league back in the early 60’s for five seasons. The overall record is P. 62 W. 27 D. 16 L. 19. The last time the two teams met in the league (up to 6th December) was on 10th April, 2004 when Cray won 2-0 at Herne Bay with Sam Wood and Richard Dimmock on target, before Cray returned to the Ryman South this season.
Herne Bay have been members of the Ryman League since 2012-13 after they were Kent League Champions in 2011-12 and also reached the FA Vase Semi Final. They have steadily improved their league position each year in the four seasons in the Ryman South. After a first season of struggle when they finished one point and place above the relegation places, they then finished 18th the following season and then 9th and a respectable 8th place last season.
With Cray really needing to win and Herne Bay perhaps looking to keep clear of the relegation places this should be a great game as we start a busy February. The Wands face another away Kent derby on Saturday when they travel to Sittingbourne.
DIRECTIONS TO HERNE BAY FC
Address: Herne Bay FC. The Altira Park Stadium, Winch’s Field, Stanley Gardens, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 5SG
Admission prices: Adult £9
Concessions: £5 (Senior Citizens 65+, Young persons 12 – 16 years)
£1 (Under 12’s)
Herne Bay is one of the really great away days of non league football and to me you’ve never really known football until you’ve been to Winch’s Field. Anything or anywhere you’ve been before pales into insignificance. A good atmosphere is generated there on match days and a club many of our long-time supporters may remember from the Kent League days,
The district has excellent road links with the M20 (M25/M26) and M2 motorways providing easy links from London. Herne Bay is a short drive from Canterbury, via the A28/A281 and A290.
Virtually all visitors will come via the A299 Thanet Way from the west. Take the junction for Herne Bay, going straight on at first roundabout and then left at the second (s/p Seafront). Follow this road until you pass under the railway bridge. Take the next left into Spencer Road and then the first left after about 200 yards into Stanley Road. The ground is on the left hand side. There is plenty of parking at the ground in the surrounding streets free of charge.
If you are coming by train then it is a ten minute walk from Herne Bay station (on the London Victoria to Ramsgate/Margate line). Turn right out of the station and follow Station Road northwards. Take the first right into Spencer Road and then after 500 yards take a right into Stanley Road for the ground.
If going from Bromley South there is a pretty regular service with direct trains at 15.53, 16:23, 17:14, 17:44 the best bets for you. Please note going back that the service back to Bromley South/Victoria becomes hourly after 20:21 so the last train back from Herne Bay is 22:21 so best not to hang around too long after the game and perhaps stick to a swift half.
The district is well served by Stagecoach East Kent buses from Canterbury Bus Station. For timetable enquiries, telephone +44 (0) 8707 433 711. For Herne Bay take either the 6, 6A, 6B or 7. For all enquiries, telephone +44 (0) 8717 818 181 or check out the National Express Timetable Information website www.nationalexpress.com
The nearest bus stops to the ground are:
Canterbury Road – 5 minutes from the ground via Spencer Road
Herne Bay Rail Station – 10 minute walk via Spencer Road
THE CRAY MASSIVE ON TOUR – HERNE BAY (Part Two)
The nearest pub to the ground is possibly the Heron on Station Road close to the Railway Station. If time on your hands there are a number of pubs close to the sea front including the Druids Head, the Divers Arms, Prince of Wales and the Rose Inn.
For Fish and Chip lovers, you should find something for your liking in Herne Bay unless you are particularly fussy. If you have time to go to the sea front then you have Fresh Fish and Chips, Broomfields and the wonderfully names Shakey Shakey amongst many choices.
For Indian food, the Gandhi Tandoori on Station Road would be your most recommended whilst for Chinese food, you have two in the High Street, The Zhang and New Chow’s Garden.
Herne Bay is a seaside town on the Kent East coast and was during Victorian times one of the most popular holiday destinations and boasts a fine pier and promenade. Herne Bay was home to the first freestanding purpose built Clock Tower built in 1837. Despite the risk of flooding the town remains upbeat and many tourists visit there or do the walk along the coastline to and from Whitstable which is about five miles away.
Also a popular destination for Anglers and also has sailing, rowing and yachting clubs. Many of you may have made trips there over the years and maybe never had a chance to watch football there. It is a really good trip for first time visitors and even though it is February it should still be well worth going.