Tonbridge Angels vs Cray Wanderers Women

Southern Counties Women’s League Division One West – 26/11/23

Tonbridge Angels                                                     2

Harrington, Churchill

Cray Wanderers                                                      2

Oldfield, Gregory 

Match report kindly provided by Charlie Bradford.

Cray Wanderers – the second oldest football club in the world and oldest in London – for the first time in their 163 year history, have a women’s team. Something that makes me immensely proud and the directors and CEO Sam Wright can take enormous pride from too in getting everything in place.

And they, by all accounts, have made a flying start, top of the league with six wins from six.

Their opponents today were Tonbridge Angels Women who came into the day in second place.

Excited at seeing the Cray Women’s team for the first time in a second V first matchup in the league at a “proper ground” in the shape of Tonbridge Angels, I made the lengthy trek from Fisher to Tonbridge and hoped to be rewarded.

However, that turned into a bit of a nightmare. With Millwall Lionesses V Bromley Women not finishing until gone 3 PM (what has happened to time keeping at games, for a 1 PM kick off to still be going on past 3 PM seems a joke?!), I caught a later train than planned to Tonbridge where I hoped to get a taxi from the taxi rank at 4:10 PM.

No taxis however turned up due to a festival / Christmas carnival blocking the high street meaning I had to jog to the ground. Anyone who’s done that walk knows how long it is and so I missed the opening couple of minutes!

Tonbridge had the first couple of chances in the game when firstly Alice Grandpierre struck at Cray goalkeeper Samantha Sharp before Grace Mayhead had an effort saved wide by the Cray custodian.

Tonbridge however were on top and took the lead in the 26th minute when a 20 yard free kick from Lucy Harrington brilliantly found the top left corner.

Grace Mayhead continued to cause Cray problems as a ball over the top saw her in on goal only for Samantha Sharp to save around her left post.

Tonbridge however were not to be denied a second when a cut back by Grace Mayhead saw Aimee Churchill find the bottom left corner despite Samantha Sharp getting two gloves to the ball.

HT: 2-0.

Cray were up against it and conceded a penalty following a trip in the box. However Cray were let off the hook as Grace Mayhead missed the target completely and screwed her effort wide left.

This proved to be a turning point in the game with Cray growing in confidence as they pulled a goal back in the 66th minute when Jessica Oldfield worked the ball to the edge of the Tonbridge box before striking into the bottom left corner.

A scramble late on saw Tonbridge goalkeeper Ashleigh Rhodes make two good saves before Cray got a stunning last gasp equaliser when Olivia Gregory cracked one off the underside of the bar on the half volley from the edge of the box to preserve Cray’s unbeaten start to the season in horrible drizzle!

FT: 2-2 and a big thanks to Sam Wright for the lift home – top man!

On a side note, it was an absolute pleasure to watch the Wands Women for the first time this afternoon in their first ever game under lights and I loved the experience!

Cray Wanderers: Sam Sharp, Grace Dodds, Vittoria D’urso, Claire Goldsmith, Danielle Smith, Okasia Brown, Annemarie Blanche, Louise Chenery, Katie Jackson, Hannah Atkins, Chloe Ashdown; Olivia Moore, Olivia Gregory, Hrystyna Kulishko, Renate Ofori, Jessica Oldfield