Cray Wanderers vs East Thurrock United – Isthmian Premier , Wednesday 20th April, 7.45pm – Match Preview
Cray Wanderers play their final home game on Wednesday 20th April in the biggest home match in three years as East Thurrock United are the visitors to Hayes Lane. KO: 7.45pm.
Both sides currently occupy 20th and 19th in the Isthmian Premier league table and the stakes will be high and tension guaranteed as a win for either side will surely secure another season in Step 3 for next season. After the Easter results, Leatherhead are bottom, Merstham 21st and Cray 20th all on 33 points. East Thurrock United are on 35 points. One team that finished third bottom goes down on points per game with other Step 3 clubs and Kings Langley seem to be the main challengers with the Wands, Leatherhead, Merstham and East Thurrock for that final relegation place.
Cray will be looking to build on the encouraging and deserved point picked up at Enfield Town on Good Friday which ended a four game losing run and but for an 88th minute equaliser by the home side would have been a huge victory against a playoff bound side.
Twice Neil Smith’s side went behind in the first half to two Jake Cass goals but each time got back into the game within two minutes of the goals through Sam Wood’s classy strike and Richie Danquah’s towering header for his first Wands goal as did Soul Kader half way through the second half. Cass claimed his hat-trick late on but many supporters would have taken a point before the game and was a performance which had been in the locker for some time.
There were many plusses with the performance but perhaps the landmark moment was the debut of 17 year old goalkeeper Nathan Boamah who looked a great prospect with four terrific saves, safe handling and goal kicking and didn’t lack for confidence. Also a big word to the defence who did well against a lively attack and Kasim Aidoo, Danquah, Ethan Kaiser and Tom Hanfrey deserve praise for their displays, Jedd Smith was a great shield to the back four while Anthony Cook, Sam Wood and Chris Dickson showed their experience while Jamie Yila was a constant threat down the left side.
The Wands opponents East Thurrock United deserve great credit for a tenacious five game unbeaten run at the right time of the season when it seemed after a defeat at Leatherhead on 19th March would make it hard for them to survive but three straight wins against Corinthian Casuals, Potters Bar Town and Merstham revived Marc Harrison’s side. Since then they picked up a point at Bognor Regis Town with a last minute goal and on Saturday came from 0-2 down to draw 2-2 with Wingate & Finchley with goals from Oli Coker and Tom Barton. The Rocks are on 35 points two clear of Cray going into the game.
The two sides met at the Rookery on 1st January in a game where Grant Basey’s side won 3-1 with goals from Cameron Brodie, Anthony Cook and Jai Reason with Ben Wyss scoring for the home side. The last meeting at Hayes Lane was on 28th September and finished in a 1-1 draw with Tom Murphy’s goal cancelling out a Billy Crook strike.
Tom Murphy scores for Cray Wanderers in a 1-1 draw against East Thurrock United in September 2019 – Pic. www.hilligerpix.com
East Thurrock’s away form has picked up in the last month and so far have won at Bowers & Pitsea (2-1), Kingstonian (1-0) and Corinthian Casuals (2-1) and drew at Merstham (2-2) and Bognor Regis Town (1-1). Their other games have ended in defeat at Cheshunt (0-3), Worthing (2-3), Haringey Borough (1-5), Potters Bar Town (0-3), Carshalton Athletic (1-4), Margate (0-2), Horsham (1-3), Brightlingsea Regent (1-2), Wingate & Finchley (0-5), Bishop’s Stortford (1-4), Lewes (2-3), Hornchurch (0-6), Folkestone Invicta (1-3), Enfield Town (0-3) and Leatherhead (1-3). Home form has generally been decent and have beaten Hornchurch, Lewes, Carshalton Athletic, Kingstonian, Potters Bar Town and Merstham, drew with Bognor Regis Town, Brightlingsea Regent, Folkestone Invicta, Corinthian Casuals, Margate and Wingate & Finchley. They were beaten by Bishop’s Stortford, Enfield Town, Leatherhead, Bowers & Pitsea, Cray Wanderers, Haringey Borough, Worthing and Cheshunt.
With so much riding on the game it promises to be an evening packed with tension but an exciting way to bring the curtain down on the Wands home fixtures. Admission £10 adults £5 concessions/U16s, pay at the gate (cash only) or online at www.cray-wanderers.com/tickets