Cray Wanderers vs Greenwich Borough – Match Preview – 2/4/18, 3pm
The Easter weekend concludes on Monday with a massive match at the top of the Bostik South as 4th placed Cray Wanderers face 3rd placed Greenwich Borough with both sides in good form and one point separating the sides.
Cray who had to work extremely hard to claim the three points at Chipstead on Saturday making it four wins in a row take on Paul Barnes’ Borough side who have won their last six and scored 16 in their last three away games.
Tony Russell’s side had to show the full capacity of their patience and perseverance to get by a dogged and resolute Chipstead side and on a difficult pitch. The Wands basically knocked on the door for the entire second half with shots go just wide or being denied by a Chipstead keeper having the game of his life. Cray wouldn’t be denied and tremendous determination from Aaron Rhule to challenge for the ball with the keeper and turn the ball into the net was one of the highlights of the season.
Defensively Cray have been very strong on two travels into Surrey and Nick Blue has had to make one save of note in both games at Corinthian Casuals and Chipstead and the defence all season away from home has seen the Wands concede just 12 league goals.
Greenwich Borough have since February quietly worked their way back into the automatic promotion contention and on Saturday had a comfortable 4-1 win at home to East Grinstead Town making it six league wins in a row. Jack Barham scored twice taking his season total to 30 with 24 for Borough whilst recent signing from Herne Bay, Junior Aikhionbare and Nassim Dukali scoring the goals.
When the two sides met at the DGS Marine Stadium on New Years Day the two sides played out a 0-0 draw which was a game of two halves. Borough had much the better of the first half with Cray coming closest to pinching the points in the second. Since then Paul Barnes has taken over from Gary Alexander and seen points amassed very steadily. They won the first four games of his management before a mini blip in February which saw two defeats but they bounced back well in March.
Away form as you expect has been good with wins on the road at Guernsey (2-1), Thamesmead Town (4-2), Carshalton Athletic (3-0), VCD Athletic (1-0), Phoenix Sports (2-0), Ramsgate (2-1), Hastings United (5-2), Horsham (2-0), Molesey (6-1), South Park (8-1) and Sittingbourne (2-1). They drew at East Grinstead Town (2-2), Whyteleafe (1-1), Walton Casuals (1-1), Hythe Town (0-0), Chipstead (2-2) and Faversham Town (2-2). Their only defeats have come at Corinthian Casuals (0-1), Shoreham (0-1) and Lewes (0-2). Home form has seen wins against Phoenix Sports (3-0), Molesey (4-1), Corinthian Casuals (2-0), Ramsgate (3-0), South Park (2-1), Ashford United (5-0), Sittingbourne (5-1), Guernsey (4-0), Herne Bay (1-0), Shoreham (4-0), Chipstead (1-0), Faversham Town (1-0) and East Grinstead Town (4-1). They drew with Whyteleafe, Walton Casuals, Lewes and Cray Wanderers and were beaten at home by Carshalton Athletic, Horsham and VCD Athletic.
The Wands and Borough were regular opponents in the Kent League days and played for twenty consecutive seasons between 1984-2004. Borough were elected to the Kent League in 1984-85 and won the title twice in 1987 and 1988 and were a very strong side at that level for a number of years.
They did struggle for a few seasons but had a resurgence from the 2013-14 season with astute financial investment and became first a major cup side under former Wands manager, Ian Jenkins and then in 2015-16 won the Southern Counties East league to earn a crack at the Bostik League at their new home of the DGS Marine Stadium (Badgers Sports Ground) after a couple of seasons playing at Princes Park, Dartford. Last season, their first in the Isthmian League South they finished in third and reached the playoffs where they lost an exciting semi-final 3-4 at home to Corinthian Casuals. Overall, Greenwich have the better of the head to head with a record of P. 43 W. 11 D. 11 L. 21.
Last season’s game at Hayes Lane also on Easter Monday finished in a 0-0 draw, the last Cray Wanderers home game played on grass.
This match is very close to call as the very tight recent encounters have proved. Two old rivals and near neighbours and the Isthmian League Show cameras will be at the game with the stakes so high.
Admission Costs: £10.00 adults, £5.00 concessions/U16s/Students on presentation of card.