Cray Wanderers vs Haringey Borough – Isthmian Premier, Sunday 10th December, 3 pm – Match Preview

Cray Wanderers play their pre-Christmas home fixture on Sunday as Haringey Borough are the visitors to Hayes Lane. KO 3 pm.

Both sides will be looking for a morale boosting win with Cray Wanderers in 18th place on eighteen points after 16 games while Haringey Borough are currently bottom on eight points from 18 games played.

Cray are unbeaten in their last four games but have had to sit out the last couple of matches at Folkestone Invicta and Bognor Regis Town due to postponements. The Wands last match was a 2-2 draw at home to Whitehawk on 29th November with Anthony Cook and Gary Lockyer the goalscorers. Lockyer has been in a rich vein of form since coming back to the club in September and has scored eight goals in league and cups including seven in his last nine games.

Cray have been playing well despite the lowly league position and have become much harder to beat but just need to gather some points ahead of the busy Christmas/New Year run of fixtures especially as five of the next six matches are at home and have just started to be pulled back towards the relegation places. Also the two recent games being called off may help any injured players more time to gain fitness.

Haringey Borough will go into the game on the back of a win at home to Potters Bar Town in the Velocity League Cup on Tuesday night. The match finished 1-1 with Georgios Aresti scoring for Borough who advanced, winning 6-5 on penalties. Their last league game was a 0-3 home defeat to Chatham Town on 2nd December.

Tom Loizou’s side in the league away from home has so far won at Cheshunt (2-0) and drawn at Margate (1-1) and Folkestone Invicta (1-1) and were beaten at Canvey Island (2-3), Carshalton Athletic (0-1), Hastings United (1-2), Whitehawk (1-2), Bognor Regis Town (0-3) and Lewes (1-4). At home Haringey drew with Enfield Town, Dulwich Hamlet and Kingstonian and were beaten by Wingate & Finchley, Horsham, Hornchurch, Potters Bar Town, Concord Rangers and Chatham Town. In the FA Cup, Haringey Borough advanced to the 3rd Qualifying Round after wins against Dulwich Hamlet and Tonbridge Angels but were beaten narrowly at Dover Athletic. In the FA Trophy, Haringey won at Folkestone Invicta but were beaten at home by Redbridge in the 1st Qualifying Round. Matthew Young is the leading scorer with 12 in all competitions.

Last season Haringey finished comfortably clear of relegation in 15th place in the Isthmian Premier with 51 points. Coincidentally, Cray played Haringey Borough at Hayes Lane exactly a year ago on a very foggy and ultimately snowy Sunday afternoon with Cray winning 5-1 in a game much closer than the scoreline suggests. The Wands scorers were Dan Bassett, Jalen Jones, Anthony Cook (2) and Omari Hibbert with Michael O’Donoghue who recently joined Hornchurch scoring for Borough. The sides met on a much more warmer afternoon on the final day of the league season on 22nd April and finished 2-2 with Cray earning the point needed to clinch a playoff place with Bassett and Tom Derry scoring for Cray and Matthew Young and Jorge Djassi-Sambu for Borough.

Haringey Borough were formed in 1973 after a merger of two clubs Edmonton and Wood Green Town and were in the Athenian League until 1984-85 when they joined Division 2 North of the Isthmian League. They remained there until 1989-90 when they entered the Spartan League and won the London Senior Cup in 1990-91 and briefly changed their name to Tufnell Park in 1995. After the Spartan League merged with the South Midlands League in 1998-99 they had a couple of promotions and relegations. For the 2012-13 season Haringey Borough moved to the Essex Senior League where they stayed for two seasons winning promotion in the 2014-15. In 2015-16 they finished 15th in the Isthmian North where they met Cray in league competition for the first time and the following season they finished 5th reaching the playoffs where they lost to Maldon & Tiptree. In 2017-18 they finished 4th and reached the playoffs again beating Heybridge Swifts and in the final Canvey Island 3-1 to take their place in the Premiegr Division. 2018-19 was their first season in the Isthmian Premier and did superbly finishing third and reaching the playoffs where they lost at home to Tonbridge Angels in the Semi-Finals. They also made national headlines by reaching the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup and a televised tie which they narrowly lost at home to AFC Wimbledon. In the last two seasons Borough have finished 17th and 15th.

With the stakes high for both teams this is one of the key games of the weekend but promises to be an entertaining afternoon’s football .

Admission £12/£6, on the gate (cash only) or online at and £2 matchday programme.


This afternoon Cray Wanderers play their pre-Christmas home fixture vs Haringey Borough.  Here Neil Smith gives his thoughts on the recent home game with Whitehawk and postponements at Folkestone and Bognor Regis.  Also Neil was part of the Floodlight Party at Flamingo Park on 1st December and the challenge Haringey will pose today.

Hello Neil. Before we focus on the Whitehawk game, we had two postponements since at Folkestone and Bognor Regis.  Is this frustrating for you or does it give a chance for any injured players to recover?

No, obviously if there are injured players these are matches they are not going to miss but I do like to play the games as this keeps the players quite sharp and in the right frame of mind rather than having a Saturday and Tuesday off and they can lose that focus.  I was a bit more disappointed with the Folkestone game being off because we were really looking forward to going down there and trying to get that win.

With the games being off it does mean we could be playing eight games in four weeks in January which can put the pressure on the players a bit and the risk of injuries. It wasn’t great the games being called off but it is something you have to deal with and move on so for today’s game with Haringey Borough we will be fully focused.

Let’s look back to the 2-2 draw with Whitehawk on 29th November.  Obviously very gutting to concede an equaliser so late in the game but Whitehawk are a good side and drew at Hornchurch at the weekend.

Again, I don’t think we have been given the credit for our results against the likes of Wingate & Finchley, Carshalton Athletic and even the Whitehawk game.  It was very disappointing to draw the game as we had done so well and it is just where you need that little bit of experience and knowhow to see the game out. It is not about being pretty and trying to get that third goal with a minute to go, it is about keeping possession as much as you can and trying to nullify any chances. So for us to be in possession and then thirty seconds later they scored a goal which was disappointing. We came off at the end as if it was a defeat yet you look at Whitehawk getting a point at Hornchurch suddenly it looks a good result for us.

We scored two great goals against Whitehawk didn’t we!  Anthony Cook with a tremendous free kick to follow the one he scored at Wingate & Finchley and another goal for Gary Lockyer, his eighth goal of the season.

That’s right, Cookie has come in as Emmanuel Kwatchey got injured in the game with Dulwich Hamlet at right back and did a sterling job. It was a bit of a soft goal that we gave away early on, but he is never going to lose that ability to hit a free kick and it was a great goal to get us back in the game.

Then, Gary put us in front and is hitting great form at the right time. He is fitter than he was last season and he is getting that confidence where he feels he should be scoring every game and we just have to keep giving him those opportunities.  Yahya Bamba did brilliantly with a fine dribble and run past a couple of players and then had the knowhow just to pass the ball at the right time and Gary did the rest.

It was a big night for the club on Friday 1st December when the floodlights were switched on at Flamingo Park offering a glimpse of a bright future. I could see the pride in your eyes when this happened. How does it feel to be part of a project like this where you are so involved.

Listen, I’ve only been here two minutes, the guys who have been here longer like yourself and the supporters who have been hearing this dream go on for so long. It was more for you guys rather than myself.  When I came in it was a project, Gary Hillman had told me the plans along with Dave Francis, Michael Paye and Jason Miller.  A lot of people were saying it was never going to happen and throwing doubt at me but I believed in what the owners had told me.  It was for them, the supporters, the players and management of the past who were told this dream was going to happen. It was an emotional moment for them and I was really pleased for them. They have stuck at it through difficult times.

 I come to Flamingo Park every morning and the first thing I do is look upstairs and I am just in awe with what the guys have done.  We’ve got to make sure we give ourselves as one to get safe as soon as we can enjoy the season so we can go into a new home for London’s Oldest club.  So for those that have been waiting for this dream for so long, it finally has and I am so happy for everyone involved.

Looking ahead to today’s game obviously Haringey Borough haven’t had the start of the season they would have wanted but these are always difficult games and they are a well supported and proud club.

Absolutely, they gave us a hard game at the end of last season when we only needed a point to clinch a playoff place and knew it would be. I know the management team well down there and they haven’t got off to the start of the season they would have wanted too like us but they believe they can put a run together.  We are expecting nothing other than a very difficult game against a Haringey side that needs to prove how good a team they are. We have had two training sessions since Tuesday with the Bognor game being called off to prepare for today’s game so we will be ready for the match.

Finally, Neil on behalf of the club and fans I would like to wish you, your management team and players a very Happy Christmas and have a great time.

Thank you, we really appreciate that and the management team want to wish the supporters and yourself, the Board of Directors and owners a very Happy Christmas as well and we hope you all have a safe one.