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Cray Valley looking forward to hosting FA Vase semi-final first leg tie against Canterbury City

By Matthew Panting

Cray Valley chairman Frank May admits hosting a game in the last four in the FA Vase will prove every bit as challenging as the action on the pitch.

The Southern Counties East title hopefuls entertain Canterbury at Badgers in the first leg on Sunday in what will surely provide the club a record home attendance.

"It's been manic," said Mr May. "We're expecting a large crowd next week and we don't know how to cope with them – we've not had one down here before!

Cray Valley (green) in action during their FA Vase quarter-final win at Willand Rovers. Picture: CVFC
Cray Valley (green) in action during their FA Vase quarter-final win at Willand Rovers. Picture: CVFC

"What are we going to do with the car park, how many programmes do we need, who's going to print them, how are we going to get everybody in the boardroom?

"We're expecting a big crowd, I hope they enjoy the day and I hope we can cope with them all."

Being paired against a team in the same league has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm around Cray Valley about being one tie away from Wembley.

"It's beyond our wildest dreams," he added. "We all start every season hoping to get through a few rounds in the FA Cup and to beat our previous best in the FA Vase.

"To get to the semi-finals is incredible. We've beaten some good teams and put on some good performances.

"The atmosphere at Willand Rovers after we beat them in the quarter-finals was sheer excitement.

"It's a shame we've got Canterbury in the semi-finals because you always want to play a team that's not in your league. But it's still a semi-final in the FA Vase and two legs that we're really looking forward to.

"From the league's perspective to get two teams into the last four in the FA Vase is a great advertisement for the league. We know how tough this league is.

"Canterbury's league position is possibly false but their best performances have been reserved for the FA Vase without a doubt. There's no telling which way it will go over the two legs.

"We're celebrating our 100th birthday in September so to do that as FA Vase finalists would be beyond anyone's expectations."

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