Carshalton Athletic vs Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier, Saturday 26th November, 3 pm – Match Preview
Cray Wanderers play their second away game of the week on Saturday as Neil Smith’s side make the relatively short trip to Surrey to face Carshalton Athletic in a match pitting 7th vs 9th in the Isthmian Premier league table. Kick off 3pm.
Cray come into the game in better heart than last Saturday’s defeat at home to Wingate & Finchley after a stirring fight back from two nil down at half time to draw at Horsham, Cray’s third successive away league draw. The Wands found themselves two nil down after quarter of an hour after Horsham scored twice in three minutes with goals from Lee Harding and Jack Mazzone. Cray though had two efforts cleared off the line and pulled a goal back from the penalty spot scored by Anthony Cook after the excellent Tom Derry was fouled in the box. Substitute Nyren Clunis pulled Cray level with this second goal of the season in the 73rd minute and either side could have won it at the end.
Defensively Cray have been very good and the back four were superb in the second half and the centre back pairing of Jalen Jones and Sinn’kaye Christie in particular are getting the continuity of games and the two young full backs, Kellen Fisher and Harrison Sodje are composed and show a maturity that belies their ages.
Cray though will be without Fisher and Mitch Chapman suspended for the trip to Carshalton with Freddie Carter injured but there is a strength in depth in the squad to cover the second of five successive away matches. Cray remained 9th in the table on 25 points and ex-Robin Dan Bassett is the leading scorer with 7 goals.
Carshalton Athletic have had a good run of form during October and November and lie 7th, on 26 points, one ahead of Cray and picked up four successive one nil home wins in October to move steadily up the table. Former Tonbridge Angels manager, Steve McKimm was appointed in the summer with the Robins looking to improve on last season’s 12th place finish.
Last Saturday, Carshalton picked up a point at 6th placed Canvey Island from a 1-1 draw despite playing the second half with ten men. Tom Beere gave Carshalton a 12th minute lead before Joe Paxman levelled on the stroke of half time and Beere was sent off but the Robins held out for a good point.
At home Carshalton have beaten Brightlingsea Regent (2-1), Aveley (1-0), Corinthian Casuals (1-0), Folkestone Invicta (1-0) and Margate (1-0). Their only other home league games were defeats to Haringey Borough (0-1) and Enfield Town (1-3). Carshalton away from home won at Horsham (3-1), Bowers & Pitsea (1-0) and Herne Bay (3-2). They drew at Bognor Regis Town and Canvey Island and were beaten at Lewes, Kingstonian, Hastings United and Bishop’s Stortford. In the FA Cup, Carshalton reached the 3rd Qualifying Round after beating VCD Athletic and Westfield before losing at home to National South Havant & Waterlooville. In the FA Trophy, Carshalton beat Cray Valley PM before losing at home to Kings Langley in the 1st Round and in the Isthmian League Cup beat South Park 4-2. Top scorer so far is Tom Beere with 8 goals in league and cups.
Last season’s encounters saw Cray achieve a league double over the Robins with a 3-1 win at Colston Avenue in early October 2021 with goals from Marvin McCoy, Dean Beckwith and Andy Drury with Dan Bennett scoring for Carshalton who also missed a penalty. The corresponding match at Hayes Lane on 22nd January will surely go down as match of the year with Cray winning 5-4 coming from 0-2, 1-3 and 3-4 down with goals from Cameron Brodie (2), Chris Dickson, Luca Albon and Jamie Yila after Dan Bassett scored a first half hat-trick and Kwaku Frimpong scoring for Carshalton.
The Ryobins were formed in 1905 and had been members of the Isthmian League going back to 1973 and reached the 2nd Round of the FA Cup in 1982-83 losing at Torquay United. They spent thirty years in the Isthmian League 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 the 2016-17 season. Carshalton under Peter Adeniyi’s player-management were the last winners of the Isthmian South in 2017-18 and finished 2nd in 2018-19 in the Premier with 71 points before losing at home to Merstham in the Playoff Semi-Final and reached the last 16 of the FA Trophy. They were well placed in the 2019-20 season and reached the 1st round of the FA Cup but never got to meet Cray in the scheduled final game with the Wands second and Carshalton third and in the playoff places when the league ended in March and fourth in the very short 2020-21 season eventually curtailed due to Covid-19. Last season Carshalton finished 12th.
Matches between Carshalton and Cray Wanderers are always lively, well contested affairs and with both sides having made solid starts to the season and playing well this should be another fine match.
DIRECTIONS TO CARSHALTON ATHLETIC
War Memorial Sports Ground, Colston Avenue, Sutton, Carshalton SM5 2PW
Adults: £12.00 over 18’s (or £11 if purchased online: https://www.carshaltonathletic.co.uk/tickets
Seniors: £9.00 (£8.00 online) – Under 18’s: £4.00 (£3.00 online)
Matchday Progamme – Online and can be found an evening before the match.
PLEASE NOTE: FOR TRAIN TRAVELLERS THERE IS A PLANNED STRIKE BY THE ASLEF UNION ON THIS DATE. PLEASE CHECK NEWS/NATIONAL RAIL ENQUIRIES FOR UPDATES. TRAINS FROM BLACKFRIARS TO CARSHALTON RUN DIRECTLY AND ARE THAMESLINK TRAINS AND NOT TAKING INDUSTRIAL ACTION BUT SOUTHEASTERN IS IF LOOKING TO GET TO BLACKFRIARS.
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.
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.
IF YOU CAN TRAVEL BY TRAIN
Trains usually to Carshalton go from London Victoria but on Saturday you need to start from Blackfriars with trains at 06 & 36 past the hour or 19 and 49 on the way back. Please check online for more details. Trains from London Waterloo are a bit more complicated with a couple of changes often needed from Wimbledon and tram services to Mitcham to get a connection to Carshalton.
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 and serve top notch food. The clubhouse at the ground is excellent (one of if not the best in the league) 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.
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 doesn’t rain like last season’s trip.