The Easter Holiday programme begins on Saturday as Cray Wanderers travel to Surrey for the second successive Saturday to take on Chipstead at the High Road. Kick off is 3pm. Please note that the planned pitch inspection at Chipstead on Saturday morning has been cancelled and the GAME IS ON.
This is the first of the usual double header over Easter with a tremendous tussle with Greenwich Borough to come on Easter Monday but before that the Wands will have to be at their best to beat a Chipstead side who can make life very difficult for teams at home. Cray moved down one place in the Bostik South league table after Borough won at Sittingbourne in midweek meaning a real battle for that extra automatic promotion spot.
Tony Russell’s travel down in good spirits having won three games in a row and on the back of an excellent, disciplined performance to win at Corinthian Casuals last Saturday. Junior Dadson continued his fine form of late with a 10th minute strike and a resolute defensive performance, the midfield won that battle against a good footballing side and an excellent display upfront from Charlie MacDonald gave the Wands a great win on the road. To do a league double over Corinthian Casuals is very hard to achieve so Cray deserve enormous credit for doing that. With six games left in the season and teams tightly bunched behind Lewes who now have an eight point lead at top the games will become more tense but very exciting for the fans.
Chipstead have had a fairly solid season after losing their opening four games of the season but they picked up their first point of the season in a 0-0 draw at Hayes Lane in September and were good value for that point. Antony Williams’ side have lost their last five matches but before that had won four out of five games so can rise to the occasion when they are on their game. Their last game saw them travel to Dartford to take on Thamesmead last Saturday and were beaten 0-1 by a second half penalty. They were due to play South Park at home on Thursday evening but the match was postponed.
Their home form has seen them beat Shoreham (2-1), East Grinstead Town (4-0), Horsham (4-1), Herne Bay (3-0), VCD Athletic (3-1) and Guernsey (1-0). They drew with Walton Casuals (1-1), Faversham Town (1-1), Greenwich Borough (2-2), Ramsgate (1-1) and Molesey (2-2). They were beaten at home by Sittingbourne (1-2), Whyteleafe (1-2), Carshalton Athletic (3-4), Thamesmead Town (0-2), Hythe Town (2-4), Lewes (0-1), Corinthian Casuals (1-2) and Phoenix Sports (2-3). Away form has been quite decent with wins at Horsham (2-1), VCD Athletic (3-1), South Park (3-1), Corinthian Casuals (3-2), Faversham Town (2-0) and Shoreham (3-0). They drew at Cray Wanderers, Sittingbourne, Hastings United and Phoenix Sports and lost at Walton Casuals, Herne Bay, Molesey, Carshalton Athletic, Whyteleafe, East Grinstead Town, Ashford United, Greenwich Borough, Ramsgate and Thamesmead Town. Leading scorer is Sam Bell with 12 league goals.
The last time the two sides met at Chipstead was in February 2017 and the game finished in a 2-2 draw after Cray led twice through goals from Danny Haynes and Jay Leader but were pegged back by strikes from Leon Lalor-Dell and Bradley Wilson.
Chipstead were promoted for the first time in 2006-07 as champions of the Combined Counties League and have been mainstays of the Bostik South ever since. In seven previous league meetings Cray have won five with two draws.
It is always an enjoyable trip down to Chipstead but if Cray are to keep their good run going they will need to produce another performance similar to that down at Corinthian Casuals and it should be a fascinating afternoon.
DIRECTIONS TO CHIPSTEAD FC
The High Road, Chipstead, Surrey CR5 3SF
£9 for adults, £6 for concessions (senior citizens, students and Under18s), and accompanied under 16s are £3.
Leave the M25 at junction 7 and take M23 northbound signposted Croydon. After 2 miles the M23 ends and becomes the A23. After about 1 mile at the first set at traffic lights adjacent to a BP garage turn left into Star Lane. Follow Star Lane into Elmore Road, keeping the church and the green on your left until reaching the crossroads with High Road. Turn left (signposted Lower Kingswood & Reigate) and parking for away supporters is 200 yards on your left. To walk to the ground leave via the car park entrance turn left and the clubhouse and turnstiles are a further 200 yards along the main road.
Leave Purley by the A23 southbound past Tesco’s on your left. Follow A23 towards Coulsdon and take the Coulsdon bypass signposted M23 and Gatwick. At the second set of lights after leaving the by bypass turn right into Star Lane – there is a BP garage on the corner. Follow Star Lane into Elmore Road, keeping the church and the green on your left until reaching the crossroads with High Road. Turn left (signposted Lower Kingswood & Reigate) and parking for away supporters is 200 yards on your left. To walk to the ground leave via the car park entrance turn left and the clubhouse and turnstiles are a further 200 yards along the main road
By Train: It is advised that if you are travelling to Chipstead by train that you travel to Coulsdon South where there is a cab office and you can get a cab to the ground and book a return journey.
Please note that this match takes place on the Easter weekend. Usually there is a train service to Coulsdon South from London Bridge but that will not be the case on 31st March. There are direct trains from London Blackfriars leaving at 06 and 36 past the hour. Returns to Blackfriars are at 26 and 56 past the hour.
If you prefer to go from London Victoria you will need to change at East Croydon for a train to Coulsdon South. There are four trains an hour leaving Victoria at 09, 23, 39 and 53 where you need a connecting train from East Croydon. On the way back to East Croydon/Victoria you require a train at 16, 26, 46 or 56 past the hour. If you prefer to go to Chipstead you will need to need to stay on the Blackfriars train past Coulsdon South and one other station to reach Chipstead station.
If you travel to Chipstead Station there is NO cab office and it is about 1.1/4 miles to the ground, up a very steep and narrow hill with NO pavements
The nearest stop for the 405 bus is Star lane, Hooley. On foot up Star Lane, keeping right on sight of St. Margaret’s Church; right again up Elmore Road to reach the Pond, turn left the club is 200 yards down on the right.(about a 20 minute walk)
THE CRAY MASSIVE ON TOUR – STAYING IN SURREY
Chipstead is a village so don’t expect a lot of choice once you arrive, with the nearest pub to the ground, the Ramblers Rest in Outwood Lane being around a mile away from the ground. Close by that one is the Midday Sun. There is also in Chipstead, The White Hart in Hazelwood Lane. Another Surrey ground with a decent clubhouse which may be the best option as the ground is a bit in the back of beyond.
For a fish and chips shop you are best to go to Coulsdon where there is Mr Chips or Caterham for the Fishermans Chippy (Coulsdon Road). For Indian food best hop into Banstead for where there is the Curry Centre in the High Street. If you stay on the Banstead High Street you will find the Royal China restaurant. As you can gather there aren’t too many amenities in Chipstead itself so best to sample the wares at the ground or buy some sandwiches from the village store.
A commuter village and a very small rural location this is genuine Gymkhana country and one for those that love football interspersed with a country walk. One of the real challenges for the train travelling away fan but once you are there a very enjoyable one. This could be a trip we might miss out on next season if the Bostik League boundary changes are anything to go by.