Cray Wanderers bade farewell to Hayes Lane last Saturday where the Wands have played since August 1998 with defeat as Bognor Regis Town ended seven league matches without a win with a convincing victory in an end to end game on a day of emotion for Wands officials, players and fans.

On a day of no little anticipation before the game there was a relaxed atmosphere before kick off although Cray were without a win in seven games a good open match was in the offing.

Cray had beaten right at the end against Dartford in the London Senior Cup in midweek and from that side that started on Tuesday into the team came Ellis Brown, Enoch Muwonge and Tom Beere for Tom Bonner, Frankie Raymond and Sam Wood.  Bognor Regis Town in 13th place had scored 65 goals this season and from the side which drew 3-3 at Carshalton Athletic last Saturday there were two changes with Jasper Mather and Joe Briffa coming in for Seung-woo Yang and Alfie Bridgman.

The game with the pressure off and nothing really riding on the match it was probably as open and free flowing as any other this season.  Bognor perhaps edged the opening minutes but it was Cray who struck first in the 7th minute when Tom Beere played a fine ball through to Nyren Clunis who scored his second goal in a week with a cool finish in off keeper Archie Bennett and into the net.

Bognor looked to get back into it and Tommy-Lee Higgs and Matt Burgess saw efforts blocked and then a cross from the right by Harvey Whyte was headed wide by Higgs.

That was a temporary reprieve as in the 16th minute the Rocks levelled with a quality strike from Higgs who from the edge of the D struck a shot with power high into the net.

The match went from end to end from here and Jasper Mather for Bognor saw an effort deflected past the post for a corner. From the corner, Matt Burgess’ cross from the right to the far post was headed over by Craig Robson.

For Cray, Enoch Muwonge showed his pace cutting in from the left and from inside the area his effort was on target and chested away almost off the line by Joe Rabbetts.  Then from a free kick out on the right, the cross was glanced wide by Gary Lockyer.  This was followed close to the half hour by Lockyer finding space to lash a shot just over the bar.

Bognor continued to look a threat going forward and Higgs saw a shot pushed out by Shaun Rowley who did well to block as Dan Gifford looked to knock in the rebound.  This was followed by another corner down the left by Burgess which came to Harvey Whyte who steered a shot wide.  Then, Higgs curled a shot wide of the right post before Oliver Downs had to be withdrawn through injury for Seung-woo Yang.

In the 37th minute Bognor took the lead when Whyte down the right played in Mather down the left who found plenty of space in the area to crash a shot high past Rowley into the top right corner.

In an entertaining half there was still time for Rowley to make a fine push over save from Gifford’s shot and at the other end Ellis Brown down the right fired just past the left post.

Then Joe Briffa saw a shot deflected behind for Bognor and a ball across came to Gifford at the right post but was crowded out by Charlie Paye and put the ball wide.  Then, for Cray, Clunis set up Lockyer who shot wide.

Bognor Regis Town began the second half in more of the ascendancy and Mather shot just wide of the left post and Gifford worked his way into the area but his shot lacked power and was saved by Rowley.  This was followed by Burgess curling a free kick over from just outside the box.

Archie Johnson was brought on in place of Muwonge in the 54th minute and just after that, Lockyer again looked to find space to shoot and fired wide.  

However, Bognor were playing well at this time and in the 57th minute increased their lead when Craig Robson who had a fine game out from the back made a run forward, and played a pass out to Lucas Pattenden on the right who set up Robson for a crisp finish from just outside the area into the bottom left corner.

After Anthony Cook came on, Josh Hallard down the left put a ball across for Ellis Brown in the middle but good defending at the far post meant the ball went behind for a corner.

The match went through a bit of a lull for perhaps the first time in the match but in the 76th minute Bognor scored a fourth to seal the win when substitute Alfie Bridgman won the ball and down the right of the area saw his effort blocked by Rowley but the ball bounced up in the air invitingly for Bridgman to head into the net.

Towards the end, Bridgman saw a shot held for Bognor but Cray were unlucky not to score at the other end when Hallard down the left saw his shot hit the right post and into the arms of Archie Bennett.

With the game drifting to its finish there was still time for a harsh fifth goal three minutes into injury time when Mather won possession twenty five yards from goal and ran down the left of the area, took the ball wide of Rowley and stroked into the net.

In the end, the final whistle came as a bit of a relief as the Wands were well beaten at the finish by a side which looked much better than their league position suggests on the day but really it was all about the poignant occasion and after 642 league and cup games at Hayes Lane the realisation that a new era awaits the Wands in the summer at Flamingo Park.

Cray, in 17th place on 47 points who are without a win in seven league games, finish the season next Saturday at Dulwich Hamlet.

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Emmanuel Kwatchey, Jack Holland, Charlie Paye, Josh Hallard, Alfie Evans, Ellis Brown, Tom Beere (Sam Wood, 64), Enoch Muwonge (Archie Johnson, 54), Nyren Clunis, Gary Lockyer (Anthony Cook, 58): Subs: Cameron McQueen-Hinckley, George Brooke

Att: 276