Cray Wanderers return to league action after a week break and something of a rarity in recent weeks, a Saturday home match as Phoenix Sports visit Hayes Lane in what should be a cracking game. Kick-off is 3pm.
Despite not being in action last weekend and since the last match a goalless draw at home to Ramsgate on 25th November Cray have remained ten points clear at the top of the table as a strong bunch of teams below them continue to take points off each other. Phoenix Sports are one of those teams and have performed very well and are live promotion contenders. Cray remain the only unbeaten side in the Bostik League after 14 games undefeated from the start of the season but Phoenix will provide a stern test if this record is to remain.
Since the Ramsgate game Cray have added the goalscoring prowess of Joe Taylor to the side from Margate just to add a proven striker to the squad and hopefully will feature against Phoenix. Tom Phipp is suspended for three games while Michael Power and Aaron Rhule seek a return from injury.
There has also been good news for the club received off the field since the last game with the GLA approval for the new ground at Flamingo Park and no doubt the feelgood factor is at an all time high at Cray Wanderers.
Phoenix Sports lie eighth in the Bostik South-East table on 23 points but are only five points behind second placed Hastings United. They were a bit unfortunate by all accounts to go down to a 2-1 defeat at home to Ashford United last Saturday with top scorer, Jeff Duah-Kessie scoring one of 11 league goals this season.
Paul Bryon’s team have a decent away record in the league winning at East Grinstead Town (3-1), Guernsey (5-3), Herne Bay (4-2) and Sevenoaks Town (2-1). Phoenix picked up points at Sittingbourne (1-1) and Haywards Heath Town (2-2) with their only defeats at Hastings United (0-3) and Horsham (2-3). At home they beat Three Bridges (5-2) and Greenwich Borough (3-2) while drawing with Whyteleafe (2-2), Ramsgate (1-1) and Hythe Town (3-3) losing to Whitstable Town and Ashford United.
There haven’t been too many league games between the sides with just four previous league matches. Cray have won 2, drawn 1 and lost 1 of the four games. Last season, a goalless draw at Phoenix Sports very early in the season was followed by a 3-1 win for Cray at Hayes Lane in October, 2017 with Michael Power scoring twice and Kyron Lightfoot on target.
Phoenix gained promotion to the Isthmian League as champions of the Southern Counties East League title in 2014-15 and in their first two seasons in the Isthmian North finished 14th and 8th before gaining a switch across divisions to the South division last season finishing in a respectable 11th place and now members of the South-East division.
This has the makings of a terrific contest and the ideal way to take a break from the Christmas shopping. Admission costs are £10 adults, £5.00 concessions but don’t forget the Football For A Fiver offer for Season ticket holders of Premier League, EFL and National League clubs on presentation of ticket.