A non-league football club from Eltham have landed their biggest ever match in the first round of the FA Cup – and they won’t have to travel far to play it.
Cray Valley PM, who play in the eighth tier of English football, will go to The Valley to face Charlton Athletic on the weekend of November 3-5.
The Millers beat Enfield Town 5-2 in the fourth qualifying round yesterday to make it through to the first round proper and the chance to play Football League sides. They will make the short trip from Badgers Sports Ground, on Middle Park Avenue, to The Valley to contest the cup’s first Greenwich Borough derby.
Five divisions separate League One from Charlton from Cray Valley, who play in the Isthmian League South East division and are one of five teams from that level to make it through to the first round.
Charlton will be odd-on favourites to win the SE7-SE9 clash, but the trip to The Valley will underscore the rise of the Millers, who started life in 1919 as a works team at paper mills in St Paul’s Cray.
When the mills closed in 1981, the club abbreviated Paper Mills to “PM” and eventually found a home at the Badgers Sports Ground in Middle Park Avenue. They are currently managed by Steve McKimm, best known for his eight years in charge at Tonbridge Angels.
It the second time Cray Valley have made to the first round of the FA Cup. In 2020 they were drawn against Havant & Waterlooville of National League South, but lost 1-0 at home, with Havant’s manager Paul Dowsett saying: “The better team lost.”
While this will be Charlton’s first FA Cup match of the season, it will be Cray Valley’s eighth – they were taken to a replay by Chatham-based Lordswood in the preliminary round while it also took two matches to beat Carshalton Athletic in the third qualifying round.
One link between the Addicks and the Millers is striker Kyrell Lisbie – the son of Kevin Lisbie, who played for Charlton throughout their Premier League years and also spent four years at Cray Valley.