Aveley vs Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier, Saturday 21st January, 3 pm – Match Preview

Pics:  Jon Hilliger – www.hilligerpix.com/Ozay Booth

BROMLEY, GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 05: The Pitching In Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Aveley FC at Hayes Lane on November 05, 2022 in Bromley, Greater London, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Cray Wanderers continue their recent run of games against Championship and playoff contending teams on Saturday as Neil Smith’s visit Aveley for the first ever league match at the impressive Parkside ground.  Kick off 3 pm.

One point separates the teams in the Isthmian Premier League table with Cray Wanderers in 3rd place on 43 points, a point ahead of 6th placed Aveley.  The league is so tight in mid January that just ten points separates leaders Hornchurch to 13th placed Folkestone Invicta so it certainly promises to be an exciting last three months of the season.

Cray will be looking to return to winning ways after their first defeat in ten games last Sunday to Bishop’s Stortford.  The Wands showed good resilience to come back from going a goal down just before half time and levelled through Yahaya Bamba’s penalty and then took the lead through an impressive debut strike from Dajon Golding.  Bishop’s though showed their powers of recovery and scored twice in ninety seconds to regain the lead and held on for the three points.

It shows how far the club has come in a year that defeat to a club of the stature of Bishop’s Stortford brought a sense of disappointment for the players but certainly a year ago it would have been unlikely the side would have come back from a goal down in the way they did and showed their resilience and the togetherness of the team

For the trip to Aveley, Cray are hopeful that Jephte Tanga will  return after missing the last couple of games through injury but Harrison Sodje is unavailable as currently required by parent club Leyton Orient. Freddie Carter is expected to miss the game through concussion protocols after going off in the first half against Bishop’s Stortford.

It will definitely be another tough test on Saturday against an Aveley side who are strong at home and have won back to back home matches. The Millers beat Wingate & Finchley 1-0 on Saturday through Harry Gibbs first half goal and on Monday went through to the Semi Final of the Velocity League Cup after beating Leatherhead 2-1 with goals from Ben Allen and a late Andre Coker winner.

The Wands edged a very competitive encounter on 5th November at Hayes Lane with Cray winning 2-1 through great goals from Tom Derry and Mitch Chapman with Tom Stephen scoring for Aveley.  

BROMLEY, GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 05: The Pitching In Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Aveley FC at Hayes Lane on November 05, 2022 in Bromley, Greater London, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

At home reigning Isthmian North champions Aveley have beaten Billericay Town (1-0), Corinthian Casuals (2-1), Potters Bar Town (3-1), Margate (3-1), Haringey Borough (3-0), Hornchurch (1-0) and Wingate & Finchley (1-0 and drew with Herne Bay (1-1), Kingstonian (0-0) and Enfield Town (1-1). Their only defeats came against Bognor Regis Town (1-6) and Canvey Island (0-1).  Away from home, Aveley have won at Hastings United (2-1), Wingate & Finchley (2-1), Brightlingsea Regent (6-0). Folkestone Invicta (5-2) and Corinthian Casuals (3-1). The Millers drew at Lewes, Horsham and Bognor Regis Town and were beaten at Bishop’s Stortford, Carshalton Athletic, Cray Wanderers, Bowers & Pitsea and Billericay Town.  Their run to the Semi Finals of the Velocity League Cup has seen wins against Tilbury, Bowers & Pitsea and Leatherhead. Much like Cray they were knocked out of the FA Cup and FA Trophy early losing to Potters Bar Town and Horsham respectively. George Sykes is the leading scorer with 16 goals in league and cups.

BROMLEY, GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 05: The Pitching In Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Aveley FC at Hayes Lane on November 05, 2022 in Bromley, Greater London, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

The sides last met at Aveley in the league in the Isthmian North on 24th August, 2015 at the old Mill Field ground and finished 1-1 after Petrit Elbi’s goal for Aveley was cancelled out by a late spectacular overhead kick from Lea Dawson for Cray.

This promises to be one of the games of the day in the League and a good one for the Wands fans as a fairly local trip through the Dartford Tunnel into Essex as this exciting and unpredictable season looks to be going right to the wire with many sides still fancying their chances of at least a playoff place.


Aveley FC  – Parkside, Park Lane, Aveley, Essex RM15 4PX

Admission: Adults: £12 Seniors £8 Under 16 £5

Driving Directions:

Clockwise on M25:

– At junction 30/31, Use the 2nd from the left lane to take the A13 exit to Dagenham/Tilbury/Thurrock (Lakeside).

– Take Ship Lane to Park Lane in Aveley

: At Mar Dyke Interchange, take the 2nd exit

: At the roundabout, exit onto Ship Lane

: At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto High Street

: Continue onto Stifford Rd

: At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Aveley Bypass/B1335

: At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit

: Merge onto Park Lane. Parkside will be on the right

Anti-Clockwise on M25:

– Merge onto M25

– Use the left 2 lanes to take the M25 N exit

– Merge onto M25

– Take the A2(E) exit toward Dartford/A225/Canterbury/M2

Via the A13

Follow the A13 until reaching the junction with the A1306. Turn left (Rainham/Wennington) then immediately turn right into Sandy Lane (B1335) to Aveley. At the next roundabout go straight over onto the Aveley bypass (B1335). At the next roundabout take the first exit on the left onto Park Lane, the entrance to the ground is 300 yards on the right hand side.

By Train:

C2C stations Ockendon and Rainham are the closest and most accessible to get to Parkside. Available to access from both Fenchurch Street/Liverpool Street and Southend Central.  

Ockendon Station: The station is around 2.9miles away from Parkside, however, on Saturdays the Number 22 Bus runs from Elan Road to Hanford Road and the ground is a 3 minute walk from the Hanford Road bus stop.  From Fenchurch Street trains leave at 23 & 53 mins past the hour and returns at 08 & 38 past the hour. You could get there via West Ham and trains leave at 03 and 33 past the hour.

Rainham Station: The station is around 4 miles away, and on matchdays there are 3 TFL 372 Buses an hour that take around 15 minutes to get to St Pauls Close and into Aveley, followed by a ten minute walk either through the Village centre or down the Aveley Bypass.  Trains leave Fenchurch Street at 07 or 37 past the hour and returns as above at 03 & 33 past the hour.

Nearest Pubs are Sir Henrys (Romford Road, Aveley RM15 4XB or the Park Tavern also on Romford Road/Usk Road.  The Aveley Chippy in the High Street is the nearest Fish and Chip shop.   If you get off at Rainham Station then close to the station are The Phoenix Pub (The Broadway) and close by the Angel Inn and also the Albion (2 Rainham Road) if you have time on your hands.

Aveley is fairly near for Wands supporters to travel and we have done so on a few occasions over the years but this will be the first ever league game played at Parkside.  Cray played an FA Trophy 1QR replay against Grays Athletic in November 2017 who ground share at Parkside and a couple of pre-season friendlies there.  

Aveley is a town lying just on the edge of Greater London and part of Thurrock Unitary Authority and a Church of England Parish. St Michaels Church in Aveley is a Grade I listed building. There are a number of Grade II listed buildings in the town and has an agricultural background in that part of Essex hence the Millers nickname for the club. Aveley moved to the Parkside ground, which was the site of an old gravel pit in 2017 and has helped rejuvenate the club and area.