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Cray Wanderers return to league action after a brief break last weekend on Saturday as the 5th placed Wands travel to 8th placed Carshalton Athletic in a match between two in form sides.  Kick off at Colston Avenue is 3pm.

Cray Wanderers come into the game still in the playoff places despite missing a week and are unbeaten in seven league matches and have yet to beaten away from home.  Before the weekend off in November Cray began the month with a draw against Worthing and after that won three consecutive league matches beating Cheshunt 6-1 at home and then won at Wingate & Finchley, 1-0 and a very professional 2-0 win at Brightlingsea Regent on 16th November which also saw back to back clean sheets.

The win at Brightlingsea saw Joe Taylor score twice and continued his excellent form over the season and took his tally for the season to 21.  Cray are also the leading scorers in the Isthmian Premier with 36 in 17 games and the Isthmian South-East Champions have taken to life in the Premier with some style.  Defensively the team have been very sound and Barney Williams could make his 99th game for the club so close to a century of appearances for the always reliable skipper.

Since the last game Charles Etumnu has departed the club and is now at Whitstable Town and made his debut against Whyteleafe last Sunday.  Meanwhile, Freddie Parker who was on loan to the Oystermen in October-November has gone on loan to Whyteleafe for a month and came on as a substitute in the same match.

One thing you can say is that there are lots of good teams in this division and Carshalton Athletic certainly are one of them and had gone eight games unbeaten in the league up to Tuesday where they lost a close game 1-2 at Enfield Town who were the last team to beat Cray in the league.  The Robins have had a very good season in cup competitions reaching the 1st Round of the FA Cup after away wins at Bracknell Town, Harrow Borough, Lowesfoft Town and beat National League opposition in Dagenham and Redbridge in the 4th Qualifying Round.  Their run was ended at home by National North Boston United.  In the FA Trophy Carshalton are through to the 1st Round after home victories against Merstham, Frome Town and Tooting & Mitcham United last Saturday. They meet Aveley at home in the 1st Round on 14th December.

In the league, Carshalton are 8th on 26 points and began the season a touch slowly losing their first two games but bounced back to win four in a row at the end of August.  A home defeat to Hornchurch was then followed by an eight game unbeaten run which ended at Enfield Town.  At home, Carshalton picked up wins against Bishop’s Stortford (4-2), Leatherhead (1-0), Margate (1-0) & Brightlingsea Regent (2-0) and have drawn against Lewes (1-1), Kingstonian (2-2) and Folkestone Invicta (1-1). Their only home defeats came at the hands of East Thurrock United (1-2) and Hornchurch (1-4).  Away from home Carshalton won at Corinthian Casuals (3-2), Bognor Regis Town (2-0) and Cheshunt (1-0). They drew at Horsham and Worthing and were beaten at Potters Bar Town and Enfield Town.   Top scorer is Ricky Korboa with nine goals in league and cup but goals are generally well shared around the team.

Peter Adeniyi’s side were the last winners of the Isthmian South in 2017-18 and took to the Premier Division like a duck to water and finished 2nd last season with 71 points before losing at home to Merstham in the Playoff Semi-Final.

The last time the sides met in the league at Colston Avenue was virtually two years ago on 2nd December 2017 and ended in a 1-1 draw with Michael Power’s first half penalty cancelled out by Danny Dudley’s strike.  The teams met again at Hayes Lane on 17th February 2018 and Carshalton won 2-1 after Aaron Rhule gave Cray the lead. The overall record is P.30 W 12 D 7 L 11.

Cray Wanderers celebrate on their last win at Carshalton in January 2014 after Jide Maduako’s goal set up a 2-0 victory.

The Robins were formed in 1905 and had been members of the Isthmian League going back to 1973 and they spent thirty years there before being moved to the Conference South in 2004 following a re-structuring of the leagues. They spent two seasons there before relegation back to the Isthmian League where our paths crossed for the first time since the 1920-30’s in the Premier in 2009-10.  Both sides were relegated together in 2013-14 and renewed a pretty decent football rivalry when Cray were re-located to the Isthmian South in 2016-17 season.

Both teams have attacking footballing philosophies and on the 3G surface this should be one of the matches of the day and a game not to be missed as we await the start of the always exciting month of December.

DIRECTIONS TO CARSHALTON ATHLETIC FC

War Memorial Sports Ground, Colston Avenue, Sutton, Carshalton        SM5 2PW

Admission prices

Adults: £10.00 over 18’s
Seniors: £6.00 – Under 18’s: £3.00

Matchday Progamme – Online and can be found an evening before the match on the club website.

Supporters going to Colston Avenue need to adhere to the following:

Photo ID needs to be provided for purchasing alcohol but also needs to be shown at the gate upon arrival.   No drums or clappers are permitted into the ground.  Dogs will need to wear a muzzle but are generally welcome.

Please see here a link to the Welcome Away Supporters Page from the Carshalton Athletic website with more informaton:

https://www.carshaltonathletic.co.uk/fanswelcome

One of the best trips of the season and one of the more straight forward grounds to get to by train.

If you are driving in the best and fastest way is via the A232 picked up from West Wickham.  At the roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Wickham Road/A232 follow for 1.4 miles and at the roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Shirley Road/A232.  At the next roundabout take the 1st exit onto Addiscombe Road/A232 then keep following the A232 for 1.7 miles. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the Croydon flyover/A232 for 1 mile.  Then keep right to continue onto Epsom Road, use the middle lane to turn right onto Purley Way/A23, then turn left onto Croydon Road/A232 following the A232 for 2.2 miles.   Then continue onto the roundabout taking the 2nd exit onto West Street/A278 then after 0.3 miles turn left into Colston Avenue for the ground.

The entrance to the ground is down a small alley about 150 yards on your right.  This is a busy and narrow road so best to avoid parking down here – there is a car park at the ground or park on West Street or Colston Avenue.

Trains:

Trains to Carshalton go from London Victoria where there are direct trains on a Saturday at 11, 25, 41 and 55 past the hour.  Returns to Victoria are at 05, 15, 35 and 45 past the hour.  You can also go from London Waterloo at 12, 28, 42 and 58 past the hour which require a change at Clapham Junction or in some cases an additional change at Wimbledon so probably easier from Victoria.  Carshalton station is in Travel Card Zone 5.

The station is only a few minutes’ walk from the ground – take a right out of the exit and walk down the hill.  Turn right, walk under the railway bridge and then left into Colston Avenue – ground is 150 yards on your right.

The following bus no’s will take you close to Colston Avenue, 127, 157, 407, 627, S3 & X20

Carshalton has a few decent pubs within a stone’s throw of the ground.  On West Street (take a left out of the station) there are the Racehorse which is a live music venue and also The Hope, whilst in The High Street there is the Greyhound Hotel, Woodman and Coach and Horses – all of which are worth a visit.   The clubhouse at the ground is excellent and has done a pretty decent guest ale in the past.

If it’s a Chippy you want then Chipsmiths in the High Street should you get there early and decide to have a walkabout should suit you.  Also on the High Street are a couple of decent Indian restaurants, The Blue Bengal and Indian Oasis.  For Chinese food there is the Station Express on Station Approach and as the ground is close to the station could be worth popping in before heading back to Victoria.

Although by no means a large place there always seems to be lots going on there and there are a couple of lovely ponds, three parks, a Water Tower and well worth a stroll along the River Wandle as well as taking in some breathtaking Surrey scenery.   One to definitely recommend for those that like football and making a day out of it but might be even better if it didn’t rain on a Saturday for a change.