Soccer Shorts: AFC Croydon Athletic unveil Keith Rayner as their new manager

Thursday 26th May 2016

Here are tonight’s Soccer Shorts articles.

AFC CROYDON ATHLETIC have appointed Kevin Rayner as their new manager, replacing Antony Williams who left the club to take charge of Ryman League Division One South side Chipstead (Surrey).

Rayner comes with a wealth of experience after more than 15 years in management. He has had spells at Farleigh Rovers, Croydon and Chipstead in the Ryman League. His most successful period was at Guildford City where he led them to two Combined Counties Premier Division titles before leading them into the Southern League where they finished in ninth-place.

Chairman Paul Smith told the Rams website: "We had a number of excellent candidates but I think we have found a manager who can help take this club onto the next level. His experience is exactly what we were looking for and we know he can hit the ground running."

Rayner, who will be joined by coach Lloyd Groves, added: "It is exciting to take on this job and I am very much looking forward to working with the board as together we continue to build this club. Now the work begins preparing for pre-season and the campaign ahead."

BROMLEY face a fight to keep out-of-contract striker Moses Emmanuel at Hayes Lane.

Emmanuel, 26, scored 20 goals for the Ravens during their debut Vanarama National League campaign and was a much-sought after asset before the last winter transfer window with his goalscoring form.

Bromley have issued their retained list this week, with 15 contracted players on the list, while striker Adam Birchall, left-back Aaron Tumwa, defender Paul Rodgers and winger Pierre Joseph-Dubois have been released.

Frenchman Joseph-Dubois and defender Sean Francis, who scored Bromley’s first ever National League goal, have been snapped up by former boss Mark Goldberg at relegated Vanarama National League South side Welling United.

Goldberg has also signed former Ravens striker Jamie Slabber (via Sutton United and Hemel Hempstead) and midfielder Danny Waldren (via Dulwich Hamlet) at Park View Road.

Bromley manager Neil Smith has Joe Anderson, Ben Chorley, Adam Cunnington, Louis Dennis, Ali Fuseini, Bradley Goldberg, Jack Holland, Alan Julian, Ben May, Lee Minshull, Max Porter, Reece Prestedge, Rob Swaine, Ugo Udoji and Alex Wall under contract for next season.

Jordan Higgs, who broke into the first team towards the end of last season, having worked his way up through the youth ranks, via Ryman League side Carshalton Athletic, has not been mentioned.

A club official said: “I believe Neil may be talking with a couple of players from last season’s squad not listed above but until there is any news there isn’t anything else to say.”

CRAY WANDERERS will play their Ryman Youth League under 21 games at Holmesdale’s Oakley Road ground in Bromley next season.

CROYDON’S Sunday side have been crowned Croydon Muncipal League Division One champions and defeated Santos 3-2 to win the Senior Cup, thanks to a goals from Freedom Piggott (2) and Billy Warren at Mayfield Stadium, the home of their Southern Counties East Football League rivals AFC Croydon Athletic.

DARTFORD have confirmed that defender Lee Burns has left the club and has signed for newly-promoted Vanarama National League South side East Thurrock United.

Burns, who made 272 appearances and scored 33 goals for the Darts during his time at Princes Park, has informed boss Tony Burman that he will not be taking up the offer of returning to pre-season.

Burman told “Lee has been one of the best players and characters that I have ever worked with throughout his time with Dartford FC.

“I can’t thank him enough for the help he has given me and the club over the last eight years to reach the highest level of non-league football.  I think we will all miss his bubbly character.”

DOVER ATHLETIC Academy manager Mike Sandmann was delighted with his side after they were crowned Football Conference Youth Alliance champions yesterday.

The Whites defeated their Leatherhead counterparts 5-1 at Sutton United’s Gander Green Lane in the Play-Off Final.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the Academy after being crowned the Play-Off winners,” said Sandmann, who is also Leatherhead’s first team manager.

“The development from the start of the season and to now has been incredible, they have developed their understanding of the game, taking the steps towards first team football.

“The Dover Athletic Academy, in partnership with The Abbey School in Faversham, will now be recognised as the best Academy in the country.  You couldn’t ask for much more from the players.

“I have to give huge credit to Leatherhead despite the scoreline because the game could have been very different.”

Leatherhead took the lead after 17 minutes through Calum Davies before Dover Athletic equalised through Kyron Lightfoot’s free-kick.

Dover Athletic rattled in four second half goals through Alfie Paxman, Ira Jackson, Lightfoot and Ben Cardwell.

“I thought Leatherhead started the game a lot better than us and caused us a lot of problems and were more than deserving of their lead.

“After 30 minutes I thought we came into the game and finished the half stronger. It took us half-an-hour to get into the game and pass the ball well enough, which created us some chances.

“An excellent free-kick from Kyron Lightfoot took us in 1-1 at half-time.

“Second half I thought we came on a lot stronger, creating some good chances through some good individual and team play.

“We defended their threat a lot better and really pushed on.  Alfie scored to make it 2-1 with an excellent strike and from there we really pushed on.

“In the end the 5-1 score flattered us a little as it certainly wasn’t one-way traffic throughout the game and credit once again to Leatherhead, they have done fantastic to reach the final.

“A special mention to man-of-the-match Kyron Lightfoot, who was excellent, two great finishes and two assists.

“Many of the Academy players will now finish their two years’ with us and what a way to finish!

“Some will be invited to Dover Athletic’s first team for pre-season and the rest with other clubs to continue their development.

“I am pleased that the lads have something to show for their hard work throughout the season and full credit goes to them.  It’s been a pleasure to work with them and look forward to seeing them progress in the upcoming years.”

ERITH & BELVEDERE manager John Wilfort has appointed Paul Springett as his new assistant manager, while Ashley-Paul Robinson becomes coach.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA boss Neil Cugley says fans will have to wait a little longer for news of summer signings ahead of the club’s Ryman Premier League return.

“Winning the league as early as we did meant we were ahead of the game so it’s something I’ve been working on for a month or so,” Cugley told

“I’ve got one new signing approved by the board but there’s one person I need to speak to who’s away at the moment about the other player we’re after.  I’m hoping to have this tied up fairly soon, but you know how I work, I don’t believe in saying too much till it’s all done and dusted.”

But attacking midfielder Jordan Wright has become the tenth player to commit himself to Invicta again next season after retaining the young player of the year trophy despite a season that was interrupted by knee surgery and recuperation after that operation.

Cugley added: “Apart from Micheal Everitt, who we knew wanted to pack up, we offered terms to all of the others and no-one has told me they want to leave.

“One of the lads is still concerned with how he’d fit the extra travelling around his work commitments, so we’ll have to wait and see what he decides, but I’ll be happy to start next season with those 14 plus the two that I’m talking to now.”

GREENWICH BOROUGH manager Gary Alexander has made Thurrock midfielder Lewwis Spence, 28, his first summer signing ahead of the club’s Ryman League Division One South debut season.

HASTINGS UNITED have unveiled former Gillingham and Dover Athletic coach Darren Hare as their new manager.

A website statement from the Ryman League Division One South club said: “Hare is a UEFA A Licence holder and has built up a wealth of experience whilst working in roles which have included six years as head of youth development at Gillingham, for whom he also served as Academy manager, as well as a spell in joint caretaker charge of first team affairs.

“He also spent two years as assistant manager at Dover Athletic in the late 2000s, helping to oversee their Ryman League title success during the 2008-09 campaign.

“Many supporters will remember Hare from his playing days as well, when, as a centre forward, he was part of Peter Sillett’s Hastings Town squad in the early 1990s.

“He is currently in the process of finalising his backroom team and these appointments will be announced in due course.”

HERNE BAY have announced the appointment of former skipper Rachel Tracy as their new Ladies’ manager following the departure of Anthony Deer.

Tracy has decided to hang up her boots after bringing down the curtain on a remarkable four years captaining the side that achieved three successive promotions whilst also winning no less than five cup finals and reaching The FA Women’s Cup First Round.

Tracy told the club’s website: “I’m looking forward to the challenge and it’s certainly going to be different leading from the dug-out rather than on the field but I know I can count on the support, help and guidance of a lot of people at the football club.

“I’ve talked to the players, virtually all of them will be staying at Winch’s Field and, like me, they are looking forward to next season.

“There will be one or two new faces as we look to build on what we learned from our first season in the London & South East Regional Women’s Football League. Let’s face it, we came fourth, pretty impressive first time round.”

HYTHE TOWN boss Clive Cook has brought in three more new summer signings having snapped up Dan Parkinson (Herne Bay), winger Charlie Webster (Tonbridge Angels) and midfielder Chris Saunders (Ashford United)

MAIDSTONE UNITED manager Jay Saunders has released winger Matt Bodkin, 32, who made 92 appearances for the club after joining from Margate in the summer 2014 and helped the Stones win back-to-back promotions.

Saunders told “Bodders has been superb for us the last couple of seasons and can be rightly proud of the part he played in our two promotions.

“Decisions like this are never easy but I’m in no doubt that he’ll get plenty of offers in the coming days, with managers keen to get someone of his experience.

“As a local lad, we look forward to seeing him in the future.”

Meanwhile, Alex Akrofi has found himself another club, signing on loan for Vanarama National League South side Concord Rangers.

PHOENIX SPORTS have appointed Ben Kotey as their new reserve team manager, assisted by Adam Maunder.

First team manager Steve O’Boyle, meanwhile, has appointed Paul Byron as his new assistant manager, while Grant Spelling becomes new first team coach.

O’Boyle has unveiled the signing of defenders Jack Barry and Jack Hopkins from Thamesmead Town.

SEVENOAKS TOWN manager Micky Collins has appointed Brad Draper (reserve team manager), Scott Chalmers-Stevens (under 21s) and Darren Mace (under 18s).

Collins has signed central defender Corey Holder and winger Byron Walker, who finished last season at their Southern Counties East Football League rivals Cray Valley.

TONBRIDGE ANGELS manager Steve McKimm says he has released two local players in Jack Brivio and Charlie Slocombe.

“Jack and Charlie want to be playing regular first team football, which I simply couldn’t guarantee here,” McKimm told

“Both players have always done their very best for me when called upon and have never let anyone at this club down.

“They have asked for help and advice in finding other clubs which I am very happy to do.

“Jack suffered a serious leg injury the season before last and has worked really hard in getting back to full fitness.

“Charlie suffered a number of niggly injuries during this last season which meant first team appearances were limited and is now looking to push on.

“I wish both of them the very best for the future and we will be monitoring their progress as they hopefully achieve their full potential.”

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