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Cray Wanderers 4
2 Tonbridge Angels

The Angels arguably face their biggest test in their pre-season friendly programme when they face Cray Wanderers at Hayes Lane (Bromley FC) on Saturday 13th July. The Wands were Isthmian South East champions last season by eight points and will take their place in the Premier Division for the upcoming season.  Renowned for their passing game all the signs are that whilst this is labelled a Friendly it will nevertheless be a competitive match for the spectators to enjoy.  It is the hosts first pre-season friendly at home so they will no doubt want to give their supporters plenty of encouragement as they prepare for their season in Step 3. 

Cray Wanderers can claim to be one of the oldest clubs in the land having been founded in 1860 although in those early days they were known as St Mary Cray and it wasn't until the late 1880's that the present name appears to have been chosen.  They took part in the FA Amateur Cup in 1893-94 and the following season were founder members of the Kent League.  Much of the 20th century was spent in that the aforementioned league although there were spells in the Kent Amateur, Metropolitan, London and Aetolian Leagues.

In 2003-4 they won promotion from the Kent League to the Isthmian League.  However by now they were having to groundshare with Bromley FC due to a planning problem with the installation of floodlights at their former Oxford Road ground.  Various attempts have been made to create their own home but planning permission was a constant problem.  Eventually, it would seem these have been overcome as permission has been granted for a new ground at Flamingo Park which should be ready for the start of the 2021-22 season.

The last time the Angels entertained Cray Wanderers at Longmead in a league game was Tuesday 21st September 2010.  There was expectation that Tonbridge were going to be one of the stronger sides in the Isthmian Premier but early results had been mixed to say the least including an ignominious home exit in the FA Cup by lowly Guildford City.  The Cray game midweek under the lights was to be the match to turn things round, but it didn't turn out like that with the visitors running out easy 4-0 winners.   There were some post match frank discussions between certain supporters and then manager Tommy Warrilow, but the match was to be a turning point in the Angels season with the side climbing from 19th position at that point to finishing 2nd in the table and eventual play off final glory in the match against Lowestoft Town.   Similarities to last season maybe!                                   

Published Wednesday 10th July 2019