the real fa cup

Homeless Neighbours Leave It Late

Stuart Fuller demonstrates the value of staying until the very end.

OK, I am going to admit that I didn’t technically see the goal that decided this tie. The word “technically” is crucial here because history will show that I attended the FA Cup First Qualifying Round game between Greenwich Borough and Cray Wanderers, and I still maintain I saw the 95th minute goal from the main road as I got in my car. My daughter Lolly will beg to differ, but as she wants some money to buy some new Vans (what is wrong with Dunlop GreenFlash I will never know), my version of events stands.

Every year it seems I end up watching Cray Wanderers in the FA Cup at some point. A couple of seasons ago I went to Hayes Lane, the home they share with Bromley FC, with the very landlords of this impressive organ, watching them huff and puff to beat Combined Counties League side South Park. Today, they were up against Kent League Greenwich Borough. This had the words “giant-killing” written all over it.

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This was also a game between two homeless sides, who now found themselves as neighbours, separated by a couple of fields. If their ambitions, and cash balances ever come to fruition they will be Boroughs apart, but in the current climate it is as realistic as Robbie Savage not patronising a caller on 606. Greenwich Borough, once at home on Eltham Green, used to be able to boast having Danny Dyer on their board (technically he is still listed as Chairman but in an honoury role), as well as his Football Factory and The Business colleague, Tamir Hussain. They also “discovered” Ian Wright back in the day before he moved to Crystal Palace. Cray Wanderers, the third oldest football club in the world who celebrated their 150th birthday recently, are desperate for a return to their roots in Orpington.

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Two steps in the Pyramid separated these sides, but from the first whistle it wasn’t obvious. Greenwich Borough certainly packed their team with strength, whilst Cray Wanderers had the guile up front of Laurent Hamici. Holmesdale FC’s Oakley Road ground isn’t the prettiest venues in the non-leagues. Whilst it ticks the rural box, it looks like Onslow’s front garden from Keeping Up Appearances. Since my last visit a year ago the latest addition to the ground was a pile of broken chairs in the corner which apparently were being prepared for Bonfire night.

Greenwich really should have won this tie long before the game entered the twilight zone. Twice, presented with open goals they couldn’t convert their chances and were eventually made to pay when Cray substitute Jamie Darvill headed home and won the game for the Ryman Premier League side.

As was the watchword of yesterday, the cup is all about the result and not the performance. Oh, and the cash. Don’t forget the cash.

1 Comment
  1. Great pic of grumpy old man!

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