Cray Wanderers vs Corinthian Casuals – Isthmian Premier, Saturday 8th April, 3 pm – Match Preview

Pics 1, 2 and 3: Ozay Booth

The 2022-23 season seems to have flown by but here we are with just four more games of the season to go and Cray Wanderers kick off a crucial Easter weekend double header on Saturday at home to Corinthian Casuals.  Kick off 3 pm.

The match is crucial for both teams with the Wands starting the match in 7th place in the Isthmian Premier on 64 points, four behind fifth placed Enfield Town who visit 8th placed Horsham on Saturday.  Lewes moved above Cray on 65 points on Good Friday after a 3-3 draw with Herne Bay so a win or draw for Cray will move Neil Smith’s side back into sixth place.  Cray visit Herne Bay on Easter Monday unbeaten in five games and take on  a Corinthian Casuals team who need a win to avoid relegation.

Last Saturday saw Cray pick up a vital point at Enfield Town which gives Cray a decent away record against the top 8 sides having won at Aveley and drawn at Bishop’s Stortford, Canvey Island, Enfield Town, Lewes and Horsham and the only defeat was to Hornchurch and that was to a goal five minutes from time.   The Wands came back from a goal down to draw at Enfield who took the lead in the sixth minute but Cray deservedly levelled in the 81st minute through Harrison Sodje’s second goal in successive games.  Cray came close to scoring again shortly after through Destiny Oladipo while at the other end Shaun Rowley made some fine saves during the ninety minutes to help secure the point.

The aim for Cray is to win their last four games and hope Enfield who close the season with games against Bishop’s Stortford and Aveley slip up or Lewes, Horsham, Hastings United and Carshalton Athletic fail to capitalise and reach the Isthmian Premier playoffs for the first time in the club’s history.

Corinthian Casuals come into the game on the back of two successive wins which ended a fourteen game run without a victory to give themselves a chance of staging a great escape from relegation.  Last Saturday saw Casuals win 1-0 at Potters Bar Town through a Finlay Lovatt goal on the stroke of half time and moved them on to 26 points from 38 games in 21st place and ten points behind 18th placed Kingstonian who have a much better goal difference. So a draw is really no good for Corinthian Casuals and like Cray will definitely have to win every game to stay up.  Crucially Casuals are at home to Kingstonian on Easter Monday which if they can get a positive result on Saturday would make that game a winner takes all match.

Brian Adamson took over as manager in March after Justin Fevrier departed and will steer Corinthian Casuals through the remaining games with former Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and England midfielder Andy Gray taking over next season. 

When the two sides met back in October, Cray came back from a goal down at half time to win 3-1 in a game which was played at Met Police FC with goals from Dan Bassett, Ben Krauhaus and Tom Derry after Mo Diallo had given Casuals the lead.  Corinthian Casuals won the last time the sides met at Hayes Lane in January 2022 with two Oliver Sitch goals after Jamie Yila had headed the Wands in front.

Away form for Corinthian Casuals this season has seen wins at Billericay Town (2-1), Kingstonian (2-1) and Potters Bar Town (1-0) and drawn at Haringey Borough (2-2)

and Wingate & Finchley (1-1). Their other games ended in defeat at Horsham (0-5), Aveley (1-2), Hornchurch (0-5), Canvey Island (1-2), Enfield Town (0-2), Carshalton Athletic (0-1), Bognor Regis Town (2-3), Hastings United (0-3), Lewes (0-2), Herne Bay (1-3), Bowers & Pitsea (0-1), Bishop’s Stortford (0-3), Folkestone Invicta (2-3) and Margate (0-2).  At home Corinthian Casuals beat Bowers & Pitsea (4-1), Herne Bay (3-2), Brightlingsea Regent (2-1) and Wingate & Finchley (1-0). Corinthian Casuals drew with Lewes, Hornchurch and Canvey Island and lost to Cray Wanderers, Margate, Folkestone Invicta, Potters Bar Town, Aveley, Haringey Borough, Bognor Regis Town, Horsham, Hastings United, Carshalton Athletic and Enfield Town.

This game will be one of the key matches on Saturday in a season which is set for an exciting finale with the league title, playoff places and three relegation berths still to be decided. After this Bank Holiday weekend we may be a step nearer to resolving the uncertainty but promising to be an exciting match on Saturday with both desperate for a win.

Admission £12 adults, £6 concessions/U16s