Cray Wanderers vs Bishop’s Stortford – Isthmian Premier, Sat. 11th December, 3pm – Match Preview

Pic credits: Jon Hilliger –

Cray Wanderers look to build on the encouragement of Wednesday night’s victory against Horsham as Bishop’s Stortford are the visitors to Hayes Lane on Saturday, 11th December, kick off 3pm.

BROMLEY, GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 24: Cray Wanderers’s Jamie Yila races Folkestone Invicta’s Alfie Paxman to the ball during the The Pitching In Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Folkestone Invicta at Hayes Lane on November 24, 2021 in Bromley, Greater London, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

The win took Cray out of the bottom three and was just reward for some good performances of late which deserved to earn more points but for the run to continue will have to be done the hard way against a Bishop’s Stortford side unbeaten in 14 games.

BROMLEY, GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 13: Cray Wanderers’s Freddie Barton takes on Bedfont Sports’s Michael Dwayne-Holden during the The Buildbase FA Trophy match between Cray Wanderers and Bedfont Sports at Hayes Lane on November 13, 2021 in Bromley, Greater London, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Danny Kedwell with players like Richie Danquah and Daniel Uchechi being unavailable overseas in the coming weeks looked to add some new blood this week and experienced winger Kyel Reid certainly made his mark with the opening goal on Wednesday in the 3-1 win. Central Defender Ethan Kaiser impressed on his debut and substitute Erald Desa made an eye catching cameo appearance off the bench late on and almost scored with his first touch of the ball.  This is likely to be Sam Skeffington’s last game as a Wands player as his loan spell from Bromley comes to an end. Sam was excellent against the Hornets as was Cameron Brodie and Jai Reason in the midfield and Chris Dickson scored the second when he followed up a rebound and Jamie Yila scored his sixth of the season for Cray’s third.  Dean Beckwith at the back has been superb in the last couple of games and the full backs, Freddy Barton and Kasim Aidoo have also shone not only defending but going forward.

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 25: Cray Wanderers’s Kasim Aidoo warms up before kick off of the The Pitching In Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Brightlingsea Regent at Hayes Lane on September 25, 2021 in Bromley, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

SURREY, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 09: Cray Wanderers’s Cameron Brodie during the The Pitching In Isthmian Premier League match between Merstham and Cray Wanderers at The Whiskey Bible Stadium on November 09, 2021 in Surrey, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Steve Smith’s Bishop’s Stortford side have been one of the form teams in the Isthmian Premier this season and currently sit 5th in the league table.   The Blues have drawn their last three league games including a 0-0 draw at a wet and windy Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday night but have to go back to October 9th for their last defeat at Worthing.   Like Cray, Bishop’s Stortford are in FA Trophy 3rd Round action next Saturday in an intriguing clash at fellow playoff contenders Cheshunt.

After a slow start by their recent standards with two defeats in the first four games Bishop’s Stortford have picked up momentum. Away from home they have won at Brightlingsea Regent (4-1), East Thurrock United (2-1) and Corinthian Casuals (2-0) and drawn at Bognor Regis Town (0-0), Horsham (1-1), Merstham (2-2) and Folkestone Invicta (0-0). Their only away defeats came at Carshalton Athletic (0-2) and Worthing (1-3). At home the Blues beat Hornchurch (1-0), Leatherhead (7-0), Margate (1-0), Enfield Town (2-1) and Wingate & Finchley (3-1). They drew with Bowers & Pitsea, Haringey Borough, Lewes and Carshalton Athletic. Their only home defeat came to Kingstonian.  In the FA Trophy, Bishop’s Stortford have advanced past Lewes, Chipstead and Leiston to reach round 3. In the FA Cup they beat Lowesfoft Town before losing to Bowers & Pitsea in the 2nd Qualifying Round.  Top scorer so far is Jake Cass with 15 goals.

The teams have only ever met twice in the league over the last couple of seasons, Cray had a memorable 5-1 win at Bishop’s Stortford in September 2019 with Joe Taylor (2), Tom Murphy (2) & Karl Dent scoring.  Last season the teams played on a Sunday afternoon at Hayes Lane on 11th October 2020 with the visitors winning 3-1 after Freddie Parker scored for Cray second half goals from Aaron Green and two from Frankie Merrifield.   The only other previous meeting at Cray was in December 1969 in the London Senior Cup at Grassmeade with Bishop’s winning 4-1.

The Blues have since then become renowned as a cup fighting side with an impressive 13 appearances in the 1st Round of the FA Cup including last season and the first team to win FA Amateur Cup and FA Trophy Finals at Wembley.

After playing in local leagues early on in their history they joined the Spartan League and after the 2nd World War later moved to the Delphinian and Athenian Leagues.  It was from 1970 when they reached the 1st round of the FA Cup losing to Reading that they began to make national headlines and in 1970-71 moved to the Isthmian League Premier.  In 1973 they reached the 2nd Round of the FA Cup losing to Peterborough and in 1973-74 became the last ever winners of the FA Amateur Cup beating Ilford 4-1 at Wembley. After a couple more good cup runs they were relegated to Division One of the Isthmian in 1977-78 bouncing back three years later. In 1980-81 they won the FA Trophy beating Sutton United 1-0 and in 1982-83 broke new ground by reaching the 3rd Round of the FA Cup beating Reading and Slough Town along the way and drew 2-2 at 2nd Division Middlesbrough before losing 1-2 after extra-time in the replay.

The club bounced back and forth from Division One to the Premier and in 2003-04 after non-league restructuring were placed in the new Conference South where they stayed until 2011-12 when they were moved to the Conference North where they stayed for two seasons before returning to the South for 2013-14.  They were relegated in 2016-17 to the Southern Premier but in 2018-19 were returned to the Isthmian Premier where they finished 7th in their first season back and then 17th in the season that never finished. Last season they were 7th but only played six games and were the only unbeaten side in the division.

With this being Cray Wanderers last league game before Christmas this could be a chance to leave the festive shopping for one afternoon and come and watch what should be a cracking game.  Admission £10.00 adults, £5.00 concs, u16s on the gate, cash only or online at