Cray Wanderers vs Potters Bar Town – Match Preview

Cray Wanderers are back in action at Hayes Lane on Saturday 11th March as Neil Smith’s side face Potters Bar Town.  Kick off 3 pm.

Cray will be looking to maintain their push for promotion from the Isthmian Premier for the first time and build on last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Bowers & Pitsea.  Cray are 9th in the table on 54 points, two behind sixth placed Hastings United and five behind fifth placed Canvey Island who have played one game less.

Last Saturday Cray were looking to end three games without a win and a goal but after conceding an early goal got back into it with Tom Derry’s 11th goal of the season. The Wands came close through Yahaya Bamba who hit the bar and Dan Bassett, Nyren Clunis, Harrison Sodje and David Ijaha before a last gasp winner from Ijaha who forced the ball over the line from a Sam Wood corner.

Cray have eight games remaining, four at home, four away and are one of a bunch of teams down to 12th in the table who can realistically contend for promotion. Bishop’s Stortford are top on 67 points with Hornchurch a point behind and Aveley in third on 64 points. Enfield Town are fourth on 60 points and Canvey Island on 59.  Behind them are Hastings United on 56, Folkestone Invicta & Carshalton Athletic on 55, Cray on 54 and Horsham in 10th on 52 and Lewes and Billericay Town both on 51 points in 11th and 12th.  So there is still much to play for which adds excitement to the last few weeks of the season.

The Wands bolstered their squad this week with two new young signings, wide midfielder Rio Campbell from Bowers & Pitsea and striker Jaheim Whyte on dual registration with Hampton & Richmond Borough.  Also the return on loan of left back Harrison Sodje is a boost after returning to Leyton Orient for a couple of months.

Earlier in the season Potters Bar Town were very much part of the promotion picture and topped the table going into the autumn but have had a difficult start in the league to 2023 and have dropped to 13th place on 43 points. The Scholars have been without a win in the last six league games and are under interim management of Max Mitchell following Lee Protheroe’s departure earlier this week who took over after Sammy Moore left in November.  Potters Bar were beaten 0-1 at home by Margate on Tuesday night but are 18 points clear of 19th placed Herne Bay so relatively comfortable at this stage of avoiding any relegation worries.   

Potters Bar Town though have reached the final of the Isthmian League Cup where they will face Aveley on 5th April. Wins at Billericay Town and Hullbridge Sports and home victories against Haringey Borough and Whitehawk have set up the chance for silverware.

When the teams last met on 15th October Potters Bar Town were 2nd in the table and finished in a 1-1 draw with Mitch Chapman levelling for Cray after Mo Kamara volleyed the Scholars in front.  The sides have only met previously twice at Hayes Lane with Cray winning 4-0 in December 2019 and Potters Bar 1-0 winners in September 2021.

Away form for Potters Bar has seen wins at Bognor Regis Town (2-1), Folkestone Invicta (3-2), Kingstonian (3-1), Corinthian Casuals (3-1), Hastings United (2-1), Haringey Borough (2-1) and Herne Bay (3-1). They drew at Bishop’s Stortford (1-1) and Brightlingsea Regent (0-0) and their other games ended in defeats at Aveley (1-3), Horsham (2-3), Carshalton Athletic (2-5), Enfield Town (1-4), Billericay Town (0-2), Hornchurch (0-5) and Canvey Island (0-5) last Saturday.  At home Potters Bar beat Herne Bay (1-0), Billericay Town (3-0), Enfield Town (2-1), Brightlingsea , Regent (3-1), Bowers & Pitsea (1-0) and Lewes (4-3). Potters Bar Town drew at home with Cray Wanderers and Haringey Borough and were beaten by Bishop’s Stortford, Canvey Island, Hornchurch, Wingate & Finchley, Aveley, Folkestone Invicta and Margate.  Leading scorer is Dejon Noel-Williams with 8 goals. 

It has been a rather cold, snowy and wet week but hopefully Cray Wanderers vs Potters Bar Town can add a bit of warmth before we head to Spring and warmer climbs.

Admission £12/£6, match programme £2, Golden Goal tickets £1.