Cray Wanderers vs Folkestone Invicta – Isthmian Premier – Sunday 24th March, 3 pm – Match Preview

Cray Wanderers play the first of back to back home matches on Sunday 24th March as Folkestone Invicta are the visitors to Hayes Lane.  Kick off 3 pm.

The Wands will be looking to build on last Saturday’s 4-0 win at Haringey Borough and was a very professional and clinical performance and the model way to play against ten men.  Ellis Brown has been in sharp form and notched his ninth goal of the season in first half stoppage time to give Cray the lead.  The Wands produced a purple patch of form early in the second half and a left foot blast from David Ijaha made it 2-0 six minutes after the interval and just before the hour George Porter tucked home a third and his fifth of the season.  Anthony Cook made it 4-0 just a couple of minutes after coming on as a substitute for his 11th goal of the season to complete a fine performance away from home.  

Both Ijaha and Cook missed the last home game against Potters Bar Town on 13th March but certainly showed their worth at Haringey Borough.  Cray will hope to have Gary Lockyer available after missing the trip to North London through illness and Nyren Clunis remains the longer term absentee for Neil Smith who marked two years in charge at Cray Wanderers on 20th March. Defensively there was another clean sheet for Shaun Rowley, his 11th of the season and made a great early save to deny a Haringey goal.

Despite the win, the Wands moved down a couple of places in the league table to 15th after a month of lying 13th after midweek results for Potters Bar Town and Whitehawk but do remain twenty points clear of 19th placed Margate with eight games to go on 45 points. Cray are just eleven points behind 5th placed Wingate & Finchley.

Folkestone Invicta come into the game in 17th place on 39 points and are fourteen points clear of Margate with both having played 34 games.  Ex-Wand Andy Drury took over as manager in November and form had certainly picked up since the start of the year after a poor run between October-December.  On Tuesday night, Invicta were beaten 2-3 at Cheshunt with goals from David Smith and Seidou Sanogo.

The two sides met as recently as 6th February at Cheriton Road and it was a dramatic game in foul conditions which finished in a 2-2 draw after goals from Smith and Seidou for Folkestone but late, late goals from Ellis Brown and Anthony Cook grabbed a point for the Wands.  The corresponding game last season finished in a 0-0 draw on 14th February, 2023

Away from home Folkestone have won at Wingate & Finchley (4-0), Lewes (3-1), Margate (2-0), Enfield Town (2-0) and Billericay Town (2-1). They drew at Hashtag United (0-0), Potters Bar Town (3-3) and Haringey Borough (0-0) and were beaten at Concord Rangers (1-2), Kingstonian (0-3), Hornchurch (2-4), Carshalton Athletic (1-3), Dulwich Hamlet (1-3), Horsham (1-2), Canvey Island (1-2), Whitehawk (2-3) and Cheshunt (2-3).  At home Folkestone have beaten Margate (2-0), Cheshunt (2-1), Billericay Town (1-0), Kingstonian (3-2) and Canvey Island (1-0) last Saturday. Folkestone drew with Whitehawk, Wingate & Finchley, Carshalton Athletic, Cray Wanderers and Potters Bar Town and were beaten by Chatham Town, Enfield Town, Bognor Regis Town, Hastings United, Hashtag United and Hornchurch.  David Smith is the leading scorer with 12 goals.

This looks like being the last ever Sunday home game at Hayes Lane for Cray Wanderers with just five games to go and games between the sides are usually keenly contested and lively affairs.

Admission £12/£6 – on the gate or online at, match programme £2, Golden Goals £1.