Cray Wanderers play their second home Isthmian Premier game of the season on Saturday as Corinthian Casuals are the visitors to Hayes Lane. The match pits two sides seeking their first three points of the season. Kick off is 3pm.
Cray Wanderers could consider themselves rather unfortunate to lose 3-2 at home to Folkestone Invicta on Wednesday night. After going behind early to a Jerson Dos Santos goal, Cray turned the game around with two well taken goals from Andre Coker. Cray also hit the woodwork three times but Folkestone were always a threat and Dos Santos curled a stunning strike with nine minutes left. Despite a great save from Lewis Carey to deny Keiron McCann shortly after, in the second minute of injury time, Johan Te Horst’s well taken goal won the game for the visitors.
There was a lot to commend the team for on Wednesday particularly the amount of chances created against a strong team while the two wide players, Andre Coker and Jerome Federico caused Invicta a lot of problems and Tom Carlse and Bradley Pritchard had fine games too.
What we have learned in the first couple of games in the season is that this league is far more unforgiving than the South-East Division and good teams will go on right to the end. There will be no such thing as a dead cert game in the Premier.
The same can be applied to Corinthian Casuals who although have begun the season with back to back defeats, both were close games with little to choose between the sides. They began with a 0-1 defeat at highly fancied Haringey Borough last Saturday and were unfortunate not to grab a point. On Tuesday night, they went down 0-1 at home to Merstham but James Bracken’s side will always be lively and will be difficult opponents.
Corinthian Casuals returned to the top flight of the Isthmian League for the first time since the 1970’s when in 2017-18 they gained promotion from the South Division despite losing the playoff final to Walton Casuals on penalties they were promoted on a points per game average in comparison to the other step 3 beaten playoff finalists. Their first season back in the Premier ended in a 17th place finish which was a fine achievement.
The last meeting between the two sides at Hayes Lane was an exciting one on 14th October, 2017 with Cray winning 4-2 with goals from Aaron Rhule, Karl Dent and a brace from Michael Power before Casuals pulled two goals back through Malachai Robinson and Reyon Dillon. The return game at King George’s Field on 24th March, 2018 saw Cray win 1-0 courtesy of an early Junior Dadson goal. They met the Wands for the first time in league competition in 2004-05 in DIvision One South and the overall record is 14 games played, Cray have won 11, Casuals 2 and 2 draws.
Corinthian Casuals were formed in 1939 following the merger of two amateur clubs, Corinthians and Casuals and were placed in the Isthmian League after the end of the Second World War when football resumed. The original Corinthians club were a massive influence on railway workers in Sao Paulo and after being influenced by watching them play in London, the famous Brazilian club Corinthians were formed through the railway workers. Through their links to the Brazilian club Casuals have toured Brazil three times including in 1988-89 when the legendary midfielder Socrates played a half for both sides and most recently in 2015.
They reached the FA Amateur Cup Final in 1956 losing to Bishop Auckland after a replay and spent many years in the Isthmian League up to 1984-85 when they were demoted to the Spartan League. In 1995-96 they were promoted to the Combined Counties League and within a couple of years returned to the Isthmian League. They met the Wands for the first time in league competition in Division One South in 2004-05 and although some years were a struggle they remained in the South Division up to when Cray Wanderers returned in 2016-17 and reached the playoff final two seasons in a row each time beating Greenwich Borough in the Semi-Finals before losing to Dorking Wanderers in 2017 and to Walton Casuals in 2018 both on penalties after goalless draws but gained promotion on a better points per game average.
Two clubs rich with of history and tradition, the amber and black of Cray and the pink and chocolate shirts of Casuals coupled with a sharing of how the game should be played promises to be a cracking game.
Admission on the day is £10.00 adults, £5.00 concs but also there is the Football For A Fiver offer for supporters of any club with a valid season-ticket which sounds a great incentive to come along.