Saturday sees the final game of the Bostik South season for Cray Wanderers as Guernsey make only their second ever visit to Hayes Lane and their first on a Saturday. Kick off is 3pm.
There is still so much to play for as because of Cray’s excellent goal difference a playoff place is almost certainly assured but in which position they finish and a potential home game in the playoffs depends on a Cray victory on Saturday.
The Wands who lost their first game in seven last Saturday at Walton Casuals are fourth going into the game on 86 points, one behind third placed Greenwich Borough who visit Herne Bay. Currently in fifth are Corinthian Casuals also on 86 points who travel to sixth placed Hythe Town on 85 points. Walton who are just outside the playoffs on 83 points travel to Ashford United knowing they have to win and hope Corinthian Casuals win to eliminate Hythe.
Cray will be looking to bounce back from the defeat at Walton which stemmed from a crazy first twenty minutes which saw six goals, four for the home side after goals from Michael Freiter and Lea Dawson had put Cray in front. However, as Walton manager Anthony Gale said afterwards after that scoring spree the game could have gone either way and the game was a lot closer than the final scoreline of 5-2 suggests.
Tony Russell’s side whatever the outcome on Saturday have had a very good season, scored 108 goals which is a record for Cray in the Isthmian League, topped the table for a short time in January, seen a 23 unbeaten run during the middle part of the season and some incredible matches at Hayes Lane that will live long in the memory.
For the visit of Tony Vance’s Guernsey side and for the playoff games Cray will be without Mitchell Nelson through suspension but will hope Barney Williams and Lea Dawson will get over knocks picked up at Walton.
Guernsey travelled to the mainland on Tuesday night as Corinthian Casuals were 5-0 winners in a game they simply had to win to get back into the playoffs but it would be foolish to write off the Green Lions who are always so well organised and determined. This was the case when the two sides met at Footes Lane in January where Cray had the Lion’s share of possession and chances but it took a solitary goal early in the second half from Michael Power to win the game.
Guernsey are currently 18th in the Bostik South table with 49 points. Away from home they won at Faversham Town (2-1), East Grinstead Town (2-0), Molesey (4-2), Shoreham (3-0) and Hene B. They picked up points from draws at Ramsgate (0-0), VCD Athletic (2-2), Walton Casuals (2-2) and Carshalton Athletic (0-0) but lost at Lewes (0-1), Horsham (1-2), Whyteleafe (0-2), Ashford United (0-3), Hastings United (1-3), Greenwich Borough (0-4), Phoenix Sports (0-5), Sittingbourne (0-4), Thamesmead Town (0-5), Chipstead (0-1), South Park (1-2) and Corinthian Casuals (0-5).
At home they beat East Grinstead Town (4-2), Molesey (3-2), Carshalton Athletic (2-1), Shoreham (5-2), VCD Athletic (4-2), Sittingbourne (3-0), Chipstead (2-0) and Faversham Town (3-1). They drew with Whyteleafe, Hythe Town, Ashford United, Thamesmead Town, Hastings United and Phoenix Sport and were beaten by Greenwich Borough, Corinthian Casuals, South Park, Lewes, Herne Bay, Walton Casuals, Horsham and Ramsgate.
The only previous occasion the two sides met at Hayes Lane was in October 2016 on a Wednesday night with Cray winning 1-0 with a Danny Haynes goal. The overall record is P 3 W 2 D 1 L 0.
Guernsey FC (not to be confused with the Guernsey representative side) were formed in 2011 as a means to assist good players on the island to improve and test themselves against teams from the mainland. They were accepted by the Combined Counties league Division One for the 2011-12 season gaining promotion. They followed this up in 2012-13 with promotion from the Combined Counties Premier Division and a run to the Semi Finals of the FA Vase, losing to eventual winners Spennymoor Town.
In 2013-14 they entered the Isthmian League South and reached the playoffs in their first season losing to Leatherhead in the Semi Final and entered the FA Cup for the first time. Since then they have finished 10th, 13th and although last season was a struggle at times they finished 21st so just finished above the relegation places. There was also a big piece of history for the club back on the 20th August, 2016 when Guernsey hosted Thamesmead Town in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup, the first time an FA Cup tie has taken place on the island and away from the mainland.
Guersney FC and their followers and impressive entourage are a credit to the Isthmian League and a club very passionate about giving young players a chance.
Whatever happens on Saturday it has been a very good season one of the most entertaining that I can remember but with the league being restructured next season this is the last league game in the present Step 4 format.
Admission costs are £10.00 adults, £5.00 Concessions/U16s/Students on presentation of card. Don’t forget player of the year prizes are presented after the game along with a Question and Answer session with the management and players. All are welcome to join in.