Cray Wanderers vs Kingstonian – Isthmian Premier – Saturday 26th March – 3pm – Match Preview

BROMLEY, GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 20: Cray Wanderers’s Chris Dickson takes a long range effort during The Pitching In Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Bowers & Pitsea at Hayes Lane on March 20, 2022 in Bromley, Greater London, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Cray Wanderers complete their March fixtures on Saturday with another vital game for the Wands in their bid to stave off relegation from the Isthmian Premier as Kingstonian are the visitors to Hayes Lane. KO 3pm.

This is Cray’s final Saturday home game of the season and a huge day for the club after the appointment of Neil Smith as manager on Tuesday. The match sees a clash of two former Bromley managers with Kingstonian’s Hayden Bird in the visitor’s dugout.  Neil who was manager of Bromley for five years from 2016 returns to management a year after a year out of the game and comes in for  the interim management team of Grant Basey and Gary Alexander who did so well to steady the ship from the beginning of 2022.

With six league matches to go and Cray Wanderers in 20th place on 32 points, Neil will be looking to hit the ground running  and improve the Wands home league form this season where Cray have won just four games.  Last Sunday it looked like being a repeat of the drama of the Carshalton Athletic game on 22nd January when Cray came back from 0-2 down vs Bowers & Pitsea to lead 3-2. Anthony Cook’s 12th goal of the season from the penalty spot before half time gave Cray hope and in the second half goals from Jacob Munting and Narcis-Florin Filip made it 3-2 and looking likely winners. However, Cray couldn’t hold on to the lead long enough and two goals in the final ten minutes won the game for Bowers & Pitsea.

BROMLEY, GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 20: Cray Wanderers’s Narcis-Florin Filip scores his team’s third goal to make the score 3-2 during The Pitching In Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Bowers & Pitsea at Hayes Lane on March 20, 2022 in Bromley, Greater London, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Cray were fortunate in the week that the bottom two, Leatherhead (25 points) and East Thurrock United (24 points) both lost and Merstham in 18th place who have 33 points.  Cray meet Leatherhead and East Thurrock in April as well as three of the playoff contenders, Hornchurch, Enfield Town and Bishop’s Stortford so promises to be an intense final month of the season.

Kingstonian were playoff contenders themselves earlier in the season and won their first five league matches but tailed off a bit after the new year and went nine league games without a win until last Saturday’s 1-0 home win vs Bognor Regis Town. On Wednesday night the K’s drew 3-3 with Bowers & Pitsea who came from behind three times to draw.  Goalscorers were Fabio Saravia, Nyren Clunis and Ollie Cook and Kingstonian lie 9th on 53 points.

When the two sides met at Kingstonian on 20th November it was a tight game which Kingstonian won 2-1 with Gus Sow putting the home side ahead with a penalty before Anthony Cook levelled also from the spot and the game was won with a tremendous Elliott Buchanan strike. The last time the two sides met at Hayes Lane was the opening day of the much shortened 2020-21 season on 19th September, 2020 with Cray winning 5-1 with goals from Joe Taylor (2), Jason Banton, Rhys Murrell-Williamson and Freddie Parker with Corie Andrews scoring a consolation goal.

Away from home Kingstonian won at Bishop’s Stortford (5-2), Corinthian Casuals (1-0), Bowers & Pitsea (1-0), Leatherhead (3-2), Brightlingsea Regent (4-2) & Haringey Borough (3-2). They drew at  Bognor Regis Town (1-1) & Merstham (0-0) and were beaten at Wingate & Finchley (1-3), Enfield Town (0-2), Folkestone Invicta (1-5), Hornchurch (1-2), Carshalton Athletic (0-1), Horsham (0-4), Worthing (0-4), Potters Bar Town (1-2), Cheshunt (0-1) and East Thurrock United (1-2).  At home Kingstonian beat Haringey Borough (1-0), Hornchurch (2-0), Brightlingsea Regent (3-1), Merstham (4-1), Horsham (1-0), Cray Wanderers (2-1), Margate (3-1), Lewes (4-2), Wingate & Finchley (2-0) and Bognor Regis Town (1-0). Kingstonian drew with Cheshunt and Bowers & Pitsea and were beaten by Worthing, East Thurrock United, Enfield Town, Potters Bar Town and Folkestone Invicta. Leading scorer is Elliott Buchanan with 23 goals.

Saturday is national non-league day and there may not be a better match for anyone looking to discover the joys of non-league football with so much at stake, Kingstonian former FA Trophy winners are one of the big name clubs in the Isthmian Premier with a big fan base, we also have the Charlton Upbeats disability team as guest of the day.  Admission £10/£5 on gate (cash only) or online at and season ticket holders of Premier League and Championship clubs also pay £5 on presentation of valid ticket.

Please see here a link to this week’s Non League Show podcast which includes the first interview with Cray Wanderers manager Neil Smith.  The interview is from the first couple of minutes of the show.