Cray Wanderers vs Lewes – Isthmian Premier, Saturday 6th January, 3 pm – Match Preview

Cray Wanderers complete a four match run of home games on Saturday 6th January as Lewes are the visitors to Hayes Lane.  Kick off 3 pm.

The match sees two sides in decent form over the Christmas/New Year season with Cray now just one defeat in the last nine league matches. The Wands picked up five points from three home games against Margate, Enfield Town and Hastings United and three successive clean sheets for keeper Shaun Rowley, the first time since 2011-12 for the club.  Lewes meanwhile are unbeaten in four games and have moved up to 9th in the table on 31 points.

The goalless draw against Hastings United on New Year’s Day was a strong, well earned point against a promotion chasing side and followed on from the 2-0 win vs Enfield Town on 29th December.  Despite recent injuries for Jack Holland, Yahya Bamba and Nyren Clunis the back four have performed superbly especially with Cameron Black and David Ijaha in central defence and have been playing well.  The midfield has also worked hard and been industrious while up front Gary Lockyer has been tireless with his hold up and set up play. 

Cray have moved up to 15th in the table onto 24 points and with four away games on the spin to follow will be looking to continue to edge away from the bottom four.  The Wands could have Yahya Bamba available for selection but are expected to be without Holland and Clunis for a little while yet while Tom Bonner will complete the final match of a four game suspension.  Emmanuel Kwatchey, Alfie Evans and George Brooke have all made valuable contributions of late as Neil Smith looks to find a balance of experienced and young players.

Lewes will come into the game full of confidence after seven points over Christmas/New Year after a bit of a blip in November and the beginning of December and won 1-0 at home to Bognor Regis Town on New Years Day with a Jake Elliott goal fifteen minutes from time which followed on from a 1-1 draw at league leaders Hornchurch on 29th December.

The fixture sees the reverse of the opening game of the season in the Isthmian Premier and Lewes were 1-0 winners against Cray on 12th August with a first half Chris Whelpdale goal and last season at Hayes Lane the teams drew 2-2 on 28th January as both teams vied for the playoffs right to the end. 

Tony Russell’s side away from home have won at Kingstonian (3-1), Potters Bar Town (2-1) and Whitehawk (2-1) and drawn at Bognor Regis Town (3-3), Carshalton Athletic (1-1) and Hornchurch (1-1) with defeats at Chatham Town (0-3), Margate (0-2) and Concord Rangers (1-4). Home form has been strong with wins against Cray Wanderers (1-0), Hastings United (3-1), Enfield Town (4-0), Haringey Borough (4-1), Cheshunt (2-1) and Bognor Regis Town (1-0). They drew with Hornchurch and were beaten by Folkestone Invicta and Wingate & Finchley.  The Rooks had a good FA Cup run reaching the 4th qualifying Round after wins against Faversham Town, Ascot United and Hampton & Richmond Borough before losing at Aldershot. In the FA Trophy Lewes reached the 2nd Qualifying Round after beating Lowestoft Town and Dulwich Hamlet before losing at Whitehawk. Lewes are also progressing well in the Fenix Trophy, a European competition for supporter owned clubs along with Enfield Town and have beaten FC Oslo and Beveren in their first two group games and are well placed to qualify from the group. Leading scorer is Tommy Wood with ten goals.

Games between the sides are always compelling and free flowing and this should be no exception with both teams playing with confidence in recent weeks and with both management teams no strangers to either club.

Admission £12 adults, £6 concessions, pay on gate (cash only) or online at and £2 match day programme.