Cray Wanderers vs Folkestone Invicta – Isthmian Premier – Sunday 24th March, 2024 – 3 pm

Cray Wanderers                      0

Folkestone Invicta                  1

Smith 30

Cray Wanderers first of three consecutive Kent derbies ended in defeat as a David Smith goal on the half hour helped ease Folkestone Invicta’s relegation worries in a game of few chances at Hayes Lane.

Despite the defeat Cray remain nineteen points clear of the relegation places on 45 points while the win for Folkestone puts them on 42 points and sixteen points clear of 19th placed Margate.

The only goal came on the half hour when Tom Kavanagh’s ball into the box came to Tom Derry which was blocked but following up David Smith prodded home.

Cray were looking to build on last Saturday’s 4-0 win at Haringey Borough and from the side which started that game into the side came Cameron Black and Rhys Murrell-Williamson in place of Tom Bonner and George Brooke.  Folkestone, who were beaten 3-2 at Cheshunt on Tuesday night made one change with Seidou Sanogo coming in for Toby Byron.

On a bright afternoon before the game there was an impeccably observed minute applause for former Cray Wanderers Secretary Kerry Phillips.

With both teams having wriggle room from the bottom four there was a bit of an end of season feel to the match but did have occasional moments of quality and perhaps over the game Folkestone edged the match.

The game started lively but both defences were on top with the first shooting chance coming in the fifteenth minute for Folkestone as David Smith made a strong run forward from midfield and set up Seidou Sanogo who from just outside the left of the area curled a shot just over the top.

Cray began to exert some pressure and in the 24th minute threatened the Invicta goal when Frankie Raymond and Ellis Brown down the left set up Sam Wood who with his left foot fired a shot over the bar.

Two minutes later Folkestone came closest yet when Shaun Rowley’s clearance under pressure from ex-Wand Tom Derry came to Sanogo who from 35 yards lobbed the ball towards goal and was headed off the line and over by Cameron Black.

In the 30th minute Folkestone took the lead when Tom Kavanagh down the right hoisted a cross into the area and the ball fell to Derry whose effort was blocked but came to David Smith who nudged the ball towards goal and into the net possibly via a slight deflection.

Shortly after Eddie Allsopp curled a shot over the top and could have gone two nil up when Sanogo put Smith through down the right of the area but was denied by a fine tackle by Sam Wood who won the ball and was cleared.

Cray had a bit more of the ball before half time and Rhys Murrell-Williamson saw an effort after cutting inside from the right blocked but at half time Folkestone had shaded the half.

HT:  0-1

The second half was a fairly scrappy affair but Folkestone started brightly and Derry down the right put over a cross close to the byline which went across goal ahead of Smith in the middle.

Cray introduced Gary Lockyer and Anthony Cook early in the second half and George Porter down the left found a bit of space and drove a shot just past the right post.  Shortly after, a cross from Cook down the right was glanced wide of the left post by Porter.

Folkestone came close to a second goal when Callum Davies’ ball came to Smith down the right of the area and his near post shot was pushed out by Rowley.

Cray had plenty of possession but Folkestone were pretty rock solid at the back with Ian Gayle and Callum Davies in the middle and chances were few and far between.

Folkestone looked to work an opening down the right when another ex-Wand, Cameron Brodie found Smith who turned inside the area but saw his effort blocked by Cameron Black.

For the Wands from a free kick down the left from Frankie Raymond into the box was turned behind by Gayle for a corner.  From the corner from the left by Raymond, the ball was eventually cleared out to Sam Wood whose low shot was well claimed by Kai McKenzie-Lyle.  Then David Ijaha set up substitute Josh Hallard who fired a shot well wide of goal.

The last opening of the game for Cray came when Raymond set up Gary Lockyer who from just outside the area down the right fired in a shot which ruffled the side netting and behind.

Folkestone had managed the game well and held out for the final few minutes and made it back to back home defeats for Cray who next entertain 2nd placed Chatham Town on Good Friday.  Cray remain in 15th place on 45 points and probably need at least one more win to guarantee safety for next season.


Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Emmanuel Kwatchey, Jack Holland, Cameron Black, Sam Wood, David Ijaha, Tom Beere (Josh Hallard, 74), Frankie Raymond, Ellis Brown (Gary Lockyer, 50), Rhys Murrell-Williamson (Anthony Cook, 54),  George Porter: Subs: Alfie Evans, Enoch Muwonge

Booked: Holland 71

Folkestone Invicta: Kai McKenzie-Lyle, Michael Kedman, Ian Gayle, Callum Davies, Thomas Kavanagh (Cameron Brodie, 39), Jason Fregene, Dean Rance, Edward Allsopp

(Toby Byron, 78), Tom Derry, David Smith (Louis Collins, 70), Seidou Sanogo:  Subs: Joe Coleman, Will Moses

Scorer: Smith 30

Booked: Kavanagh 38, Rance 76

Referee: James Keane

Assistants: Jake Sýmes, Brian Demrov

Att:  267