Cray Wanderers vs Horsham – Isthmian Premier, Saturday 25th March, 3 pm – Match Preview

Cray Wanderers continue their push for promotion from the Isthmian Premier on Saturday (25th March) in one of the games of the day as 6th placed host 8th placed Horsham. The teams are separated in the table by one point and are both in good form unbeaten in three matches.  Kick off at Hayes Lane, 3 pm.

The Wands are three points behind 5th placed Enfield Town and level with Lewes on 60 points with Horsham on 59 points after 36 games level with Hastings United who have a game in hand. Also in the playoff picture are Carshalton Athletic in 10th on 58 points with Folkestone Invicta on 55 points and Billericay Town on 51 points still in the race.  At the top Hornchurch lead the way on 73 points from Bishop’s Stortford and Aveley on 70 points, with 4th placed Canvey Island on 68 in what is proving an exciting race for promotion from the Isthmian Premier. The Wands visit Enfield Town next Saturday (1st April) and Horsham entertain face Hornchurch and Enfield at home in the coming weeks and away to Hastings and Aveley so plenty of football to be played with lots at stake in April.

Cray continued an unbeaten start to March with a third straight win last Saturday winning at Brightlingea Regent, 1-0 courtesy of an 82nd minute goal from Destiny Oladipo, his second goal in two appearances off the bench.  With the transfer deadline passed for the rest of the season for signing new players, the Wands squad looks like one that is ready for the final challenge of the last six games of the season.  The Wands will give a debut to Liam Northwood in goal due to Shaun Rowley’s suspension following his red card last week and the only long term injury for Mitch Chapman but the team have been fairly settled for the last few games.  Dan Bassett remains top scorer on 13 goals.

Horsham have perhaps been quietly going about their business and very efficiently and last Saturday were 4-1 winners at home to Bowers & Pitsea with Daniel Ajakaiye scoring a hat-trick and leading scorer Jack Mazzone on target taking his tally to the season to eighteen goals. 

The two sides fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Camping World Community Stadium on 22nd November with Horsham racing out to a 2-0 lead in the first fifteen minutes through goals from Lee Harding and Mazzone but Cray fought back well in the second half to claim a point courtesy of goals from Anthony Cook and Nyren Clunis. The last time the sides played at Hayes Lane  saw Cray winning 3-1 on 8th December, 2021 with goals from Kyel Reid, Chris Dickson and Jamie Yila.

Away form for Dom Di Paola’s side has seen wins at Canvey Island (3-1), Bognor Regis Town (2-0), Corinthian Casuals (2-1), Brightlingsea Regent (2-0) and Kingstonian (4-1). The Hornets drew at Margate (1-1), Wingate & Finchley (2-2), Bowers & Pitsea (0-0), Carshalton Athletic (1-1), Lewes (1-1), Bishop’s Stortford (1-1) and Potters Bar Town (1-1). Their only defeats were at Haringey Borough (0-2), Enfield Town (1-2), Hornchurch (1-3), Billericay Town (3-5), Folkestone Invicta (0-3) and Herne Bay (0-3).   Horsham have been very strong at home with just three defeats and have beaten Corinthian Casuals (5-0), Bognor Regis Town (4-0), Lewes (2-0), Kingstonian (1-0), Potters Bar Town (3-2), Herne Bay (4-1), Canvey Island (2-0), Margate (4-0), Billericay Town (3-1), Wingate & Finchley (2-0) and Bowers & Pitsea (4-1). Horsham drew with Cray Wanderers, Aveley, Hastings United and Haringey Borough and were beaten by Carshalton Athletic, Bishop’s Stortford and Folkestone Invicta.

The match takes place on Non League Day, the annual tradition celebrating the joys of Non League football during an international break in Premier League and Championship fixtures. Cray Wanderers will be offering half price admission for season ticket holders of Premier League and Championship clubs and this should be one of the games of the day in the Isthmian Premier as two good attacking sides seek to keep their playoff hopes going into the final month of the season.

Admission £12/£6 – Match Programme £2, Golden Goal £1.