Match Sponsor : The Divers Arms
Match Ball Sponsor : Screen Machine Whitstable
A first Isthmian League visit from last season’s SCEFL Premier champions Cray Valley PM and they won’t want to remember the last time that they were here in the Kent League.
The club was established in 1919 and joined Division Two of the Sidcup & Kent League. The club won the division at the first attempt, earning promotion to Division One. They later joined the Kent County Amateur League, winning Division Three of the western section in 1936/37. The club left the league at the end of the 1954/55 season. They subsequently joined the South London Alliance. They were Division One champions in 1979/80 and won the Premier Division two seasons later. They spent time in the Spartan League and when it merged with the South Midlands League to form the Spartan South Midlands League and then the London Intermediate League. In 2001 they left to join the Kent County League, becoming members of Division One West.
In 2002/03 Cray won Division One West, earning promotion to the Premier Division. Two seasons later they won the Premier Division and after finishing third in 2010/11, they moved up to the Kent League. In 2011/12 Herne Bay beat Cray away 3-0 (Walker 2 (1p), Marsden) and 3-0 at home (Baverstock 2, Soutan). Bay went on to win the league and were promoted and also reached the FA Vase semi-final. Cray Valley ended in 11th place.
The Kent League was renamed the Southern Counties East Football League in 2013 and Cray gained promotion to the Isthmian League after being Premier Division champions in 2018/19 when they also reached the final of the FA Vase, losing to Chertsey Town 3-1 at Wembley.
Cray opened this season with a goalless draw at home to Hastings United and followed that up with a 3-1 victory at Sittingbourne and on Bank Holiday Monday hosted Sevenoaks Town and beat them 1-0, leaving them 3rd in the table, three points and eight places above Bay. In the FA Cup Cray beat SCEFL leaders Chatham Town 2-1 at home in the Extra Preliminary Round and last Saturday they visited Whyteleafe in the Preliminary Round and were defeated 0-2.
The return fixture takes place at the Badgers Sports Ground, Eltham on Saturday 04/01/2020.