Cray Wanderers look to build on last Saturday’s incredible late comeback as they face Horsham in a Ryman League South match on Wednesday evening at Hayes Lane.
The Wands got back to winning ways in the league against Chipstead on Saturday after three games without a win but certainly did it the hard way. Two goals down with eight minutes to go, Cray had an explosive ten minutes with a poacher’s goal by Dane Luchford followed by a clinical Danny Haynes strike making it 2-2. Skipper, Lea Dawson showed his exceptional tenacity to get on the end of Sol Taiwo’s through ball to slot home his fourth goal of the season and earn a big three points. The Wands stayed in seventh place on Saturday but could move down to ninth if Corinthian Casuals and Sittingbourne win their games on Tuesday night.
Certainly the introduction of Luchford early in the second half seemed to inspire Cray as they started to create openings and his running off the ball and set up play out wide was very impressive as was Taiwo’s long passing. Also Karl Dent played more centrally and had more effect whilst Haynes and Brandon Scott came alive late on. Sherwin Stanley should be available for a place on Wednesday although we await injury concerns for Ben Mundele who went off before twenty minutes on Saturday and for Paul Lorraine. Grant Basey and James Duckworth are more long term injuries and unlikely to feature.
Tony Russell and perhaps the fans though will not want the team to make a habit of going two goals down in games (the last three home games in league and cup) and will have to be switched on against mid-table Horsham in order to keep a run going.
Horsham come into the game in 13th place in the league table with twenty four points from 19 played. Dominic Di Paola’s team have been fairly inconsistent but have won three times on their travels this season and have also beaten Lewes 3-0 at home. They were knocked out of the FA Cup at Sevenoaks Town and were beaten in the FA Trophy at home to Romford in the 1st Qualifying Round. They have lost their last two games but will make life difficult if Cray are not on their game. George Branford is the leading scorer with six goals in league and cup.
If you thought Saturday was dramatic then our previous meeting with Horsham back on 27th September perhaps topped even that as a blockbuster from Dent in stoppage time gave Cray a come from behind victory, 3-2 on a Wednesday night. The Wands fell behind early but levelled through Bradley Woods-Garness. Horsham went back in front through one of the more bizarre goals we will concede before Dawson tied the game up before Dent’s explosive winner.
Horsham have been members of the Isthmian League for all but one season since 1972-73 and have met Cray in Division One South and the Premier Division over the years. Horsham defeated Cray in the playoff semi-final in 2004-05 before losing to Bromley in the final. They were promoted the following season with Cray joining them in the Premier for the 2009-10 season. The last time the two teams met at Hayes Lane was the final day of the 2011-12 season with Cray winning 3-1 against an already relegated Horsham with Michael Power scoring twice and Tony Dolby on the scoresheet. The overall record is P.12 W. 5 D. 3 L. 4. After a couple of seasons of struggle in the South, they were relegated for one season to the Southern Combination but were promoted at the first time of asking and returned to the Ryman South for this season.
Life has rarely been dull on the pitch for Cray this season and this promises to be a late November cracker with hopefully the weather getting a bit dryer than of late.
Admission prices are £10.00 adults, £4.00 concessions/U16s with the programme costing £2.00.