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Raynes Park Valev
Raynes Park Vale FC

Grier's Guide to Raynes Park Vale

The match: Raynes Park Vale v Kingstonian, Surrey Senior Cup 2nd round. Tuesday 10 January, 19:45.

The club: Formed in 1995 by a merger of Malden Vale and Raynes Park FC, with the latter's history beginning as the works team of the Southern Railway until it was axed as part of the notorious Beeching Cuts. They've been in the Combined Counties League ever since, achieving a best-ever third place last season.

The town: Suburb nestled between Kingston and Wimbledon, presumably familiar to most Ks fans. Famous residents have included actor Oliver Reed, rugby player Danny Cipriani and kids' TV presenter Dave Benson-Phillips.

The ground: Grand Drive, Raynes Park, SW20 9DZ. It has just the one, fairly small, covered grandstand.

Directions: The ground is just a ten minute walk up Grand Drive from Raynes Park station, which is easily reached from all the borough's stations. The month-long misery for South Western Trains users should finally be at an end. Alternatively buses 57, 131 and K5 all go to Raynes Park, or if driving you can park at the ground.

Tickets: £8 adults; £5 over 60/student/disabled; £3 U18s; U12s free

Our record there: A 4-0 hammering in a July pre-season friendly gave a clear indication that all wasn't well with the Ks squad. In 2009 we gave a debut to unknown triallist Christian Jolley; he went on to excel for us that season before going on to have a successful career in League Two and the Conference National.

Recent form: Top of Combined Counties Premier South and on a barely believable 12-match winning streak. Raynes Park Vale are a club on the up and make no mistake: if bookies took bets on the Surrey Cup they'd be making Vale the clear favourites against a Ks side that hasn't won away all season. They reached this stage of the Surrey Cup with a 2-1 win over Alfold.

Players to watch: Manager Josh Gallagher, older brother of Chelsea and England midfielder Conor, has put together a strong squad. It includes three ex-Ks players, most notably Aaron Lamont who will undoubtedly be a danger pulling the strings in midfield. Reece Williams-Bowers and Charlie Penny are the others who have previously worn the red and white hoops.

Crowd: Their average crowd is 160, well up on last season, as their success is beginning to attract more fans along.

Drinking: Opposite the station is Green King pub the Raynes Park Tavern, with pub grub and sport on the big screen. The Cavern Freehouse often has live music.

Food: Options near the station include a chippie, a Greggs and various other takeaways.

Published Wednesday 28th December 2022