Easter Monday sees Cray Wanderers wind down their home fixtures for the 2018-19 season as the Bostik South-East Champions take on Sevenoaks Town at Hayes Lane. Kick off is 3pm on what promises to be a great afternoon.
It has been a momentous season for Cray Wanderers on and off the field and Cray begin to bid farewell to the Bostik South-East after becoming Champions on the 13th April and can prepare for the exciting challenge of the Bostik Premier in 2019-20.
The Wands began their Easter double header with a solid and professional 2-0 win at Three Bridges on Saturday with a goal in each half from Freddie Parker and Joe Taylor, with Taylor’s goal putting him slightly ahead of Junior Dadson as leading scorer with 12. Although players like Karl Dent, Jerome Federico, Dadson, Jay Leader and Bradley Pritchard were either rested or on the bench there were many positives including an impressive league debut for midfielder Charles Etumnu,
Parker had a great game as did Barney Williams in his first game for Cray since mid January while Tom Phipp and Mitchell Nelson were solid at the back. This could well be the last home game that the Wands fans can see Nick Blue in goal as he may be moving on next season and he was in fine form on Saturday when the defence was breached he made some good saves and kept his 14th clean sheet of the season. For the visit of Sevenoaks Town this could be the opportunity to perhaps showcase some more young players the fans haven’t seen much of with the title won and a bit more of a relaxed feel to the game.
It has been an excellent first season in the Bostik South-East for Sevenoaks Town who gained promotion for the first time after winning the SCEFL Premier Division title in 2017-18 and could be set for a top 10 finish. They made it three games unbeaten on Saturday with a 2-1 home win against Herne Bay at Greatness Park with second half goals via an own goal and Frankie Sawyer’s 14th goal of the season. There could be a few familiar faces for Sevenoaks for Wands fans with Adrian Stone, Tommy Whitnell, Dan Parkinson and keeper Ben Bridle-Card all possibly could feature on Monday.
Away form for Micky Collins’ side has been decent and recently won at Haywards Heath Town. They won at Greenwich Borough (1-0), Guernsey (2-1), Haywards Heath (1-0), Herne Bay (2-1), Ramsgate (3-1), VCD Athletic (3-1) and Whyteleafe (3-2). They drew at East Grinstead Town (1-1), Hythe Town (0-0) and Whitstable Town (1-1). Their only defeats came at Ashford United (1-2), Faversham Town (1-3), Hastings United (0-1), Horsham (1-3), Phoenix Sports (0-1), Sittingbourne (1-4) & Three Bridges (0-2).
When the two sides met at Sevenoaks Town on 29th December Cray had to work extremely hard to claim three points and after Nick Blue saved Luke Coleman’s first half penalty Freddie Parker grabbed a vital winner for Cray with two minutes to play. At home Sevenoaks beat Ashford United (1-0), Faversham Town (4-1), Greenwich Borough (2-1), Herne Bay (2-1) and Hythe Town (2-0) picking up points against East Grinstead Town, Haywards Heath Town, Ramsgate, Three Bridges and Whitstable. They lost at home to Cray Wanderers, Guernsey, Hastings United, Horsham, Phoenix Sports, Sittingbourne and Whyteleafe.
Competitive matches between Cray Wanderers and Sevenoaks Town are few and far between with just three league meetings with Cray winning all three. The only other league meeting at Hayes Lane went the way of Cray, 2-0 in September 2003 as Cray went on to win the Kent League with goals from Jamie Wood and Ricky Bennett. The two teams did meet last season in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup at Hayes Lane with Sevenoaks causing a bit of an upset by winning 3-2 with two goals from Tom Young and a Billy Bennett winning the game with consolation goals for Cray from Luke Medley and Freddie Parker.
Local derbies like this will be fewer next season and on an afternoon where for perhaps the only time this season the tension levels will be switched off and should be a game to savour.
Admission costs are £10.00 adults, £5.00 concessions, but also for the final time this season the Football For A Fiver offer will be available for any season ticket holder of a Premier League, EFL or National League club on presentation of valid ticket.
It has been a great season and on what hopefully will be a warm and sunny afternoon a chance to say thank you to the management and players on promotion and the great football we have seen this season.