Cray Wanderers begin their February fixtures on Saturday looking to return to winning ways as the Wands take on East Grinstead Town at Hayes Lane. Kick off is 3pm.
Cray finished January with two straight league defeats both 2-1 at home to Lewes and last weekend at Herne Bay. The Wands had led at half time through Charlie MacDonald’s early penalty but Herne Bay turned the game on its head second half with two goals to win the game. Cray were disrupted a little with 3 players suspended and knocks in the game for MacDonald and Marcus Evans. Even so, the game proved if anyone needed convincing that this remains a tough league and there is no such thing as an easy game.
Despite the defeat other results around them weren’t disastrous and Tony Russell’s side remain second in the Bostik South table two points behind leaders Lewes and three points ahead of third placed Carshalton Athletic with a very strong goal difference with 14 games to go. Greenwich Borough, Walton Casuals and Corinthian Casuals are also in the mix. Cray are also up to date with league fixtures and now unless the weather takes a turn for the worse will be playing one game a week up until Easter which will help with freshness.
Cray will be looking to get back on track against East Grinstead Town who Cray beat 7-0 at East Grinstead on 18th November. On a wet and sloshy day there were seven different goal scorers if you include an own goal with Ben Mundele, Mitchell Nelson, Brandon Scott, Ralique Lawrence, Michael Freiter and Freddie Parker scoring. This was the first time Cray had beaten the Wasps as East Grinstead had won the only other encounters, two in the league and once in the FA Trophy.
East Grinstead have had a difficult season at times and lie 22nd in the league table with 24 points but appear well safe of relegation. Matt Longhurst’s side lost their last game 1-8 at home to Whyteleafe last Saturday but they will be a wounded animal and Cray will have to perform at their most professional and certainly not take them for granted.
Away form has seen them win twice on their travels at Phoenix Sports (1-0) and Shoreham (4-2). They drew at Ashford United (1-1), Herne Bay (2-2) and Horsham (1-1) and were beaten in their other away games at Guernsey (2-4), South Park (1-3), Walton Casuals (0-3), Whyteleafe (1-2), Molesey (2-4), Chipstead (0-4), Faversham Town (1-3), Corinthian Casuals (2-3), Hastings United (1-3), Hythe Town (2-3) and Carshalton Athletic (1-5). At home they beat Shoreham (7-2), Carshalton Athletic (2-0), Chipstead (2-1) and Ramsgate (1-0). They picked up points against Molesey, Greenwich Borough and Thamesmead Town and were beaten by Corinthian Casuals, VCD Athletic, Guernsey, Lewes, Walton Casuals, Cray Wanderers, Sittingbourne and Whyteleafe. Top league scorer is Marcus Elliott with 10 goals.
East Grinstead Town are still a relatively new team to the Isthmian set up having spent most of their existence in the Sussex League and after finishing second in 2013-14 were accepted into the South Division for 2014-15 where they finished in the relegation places but were reprieved. They then finished 20th and last season they finished 18th their highest league placing so far.
With three months of the season to go we are heading for the business end of the campaign and this still has the possibility of a being a tremendous season despite the two recent setbacks. The sign of a good side is how they bounce back from adversity but with both sides having something to prove after last Saturday this should be a great game.
Admission prices are £10.00 adults, £5.00 concessions/U16s/Students on presentation of card.