Cray Wanderers v Sittingbourne – Sunday 23rd December, 3pm – Match Preview
The rather shortened Christmas/New Year Bostik South-East football schedule begins this weekend and Cray Wanderers are in Sunday afternoon action as Sittingbourne are the visitors to Hayes Lane. Kick off is 3pm. Please note that Cray Wanderers supporters are cordially invited for a post-match drink to celebrate Christmas and the recent planning application success so no need to be in a hurry to get away after the game. After Sunday, Cray’s last game of 2018 takes place at Sevenoaks Town on Saturday 29th December, 3pm.
Cray Wanderers will be top of the table on Christmas Day but will be looking to return to winning ways after three games without a win and after going down to their first league defeat of the season last Saturday at a very wet and cold Horsham. Cray manager Tony Russell admitted it was a bad day at the office for the Wands as a hat-trick from Rob O’Toole and a cracker from Charlie Harris cancelled two well worked Cray goals from Ben Mundele and Archie Johnson.
At the start of the weekend Cray have an eight point lead at the top but could be cut to five points if Horsham win at Haywards Heath Town on Saturday. Tom Phipp serves the last of a three game ban and the Wands hope that Aaron Rhule and Michael Power can soon return to the fold after a long spell out through injury.
Cray will be looking for a similar performance to when the Wands travelled to Sittingbourne on August Bank Holiday Monday and came away with a 2-0 win with first half goals from Bradley Pritchard and Michael Power.
Sittingbourne come into the game after a good victory last weekend, 4-1 at home to Sevenoaks Town which ended an eight game winless run with goals from Tom Loynes, Ben Fitchett, David Smith and Gil Carvalho. The Brickies started the season very well and won four of their opening six matches but currently stand 15th in the League table with 17 points.
Aslan Odev’s side have won two matches on their travels at Horsham (2-1) and Guernsey (2-1) and picked up a point at Ashford United (1-1). They were beaten at Haywards Heath Town (0-2), Hythe Town (2-3), East Grinstead Town (1-2) and Faversham Town (1-3). At home they beat Greenwich Borough (4-2), Whyteleafe (2-1 and Sevenoaks Town (4-1). They drew with Phoenix Sports and were beaten by Cray Wanderers, Ramsgate, Whitstable Town and Three Bridges.
Sittingbourne are old rivals from our days in the Kent League and then the Isthmian South. The Brickies are a well-established club in this league having moved over from the Southern League following league restructuring in 2006. A well supported side despite many trials and tribulations over the years they won the Kent League three times, the last in 1990-91 (Cray came 2nd that year) earning them promotion to the Southern League where they stayed either in the Premier Division or Division One South and East until 2006. They moved over to the Isthmian League for the 2006-07 season and have been members of the division since. From the 2013-14 season the club have been playing at Woodstock Park after leaving their Bourne Park ground. Over the course of many years the clubs have met 49 times with Cray winning 14, Sittingbourne 20 and 15 games drawn.
Games in the last couple of seasons with Sittingbourne at Hayes Lane have gone to the wire and been exciting affairs especially our last home meeting on 13th December 2017 when Cray came back 0-2 down to win 3-2.
If you are looking for a pre-Christmas boost then this could be just what you are looking for and don’t forget the Football For A Fiver offer for Season Ticket holders of Premier League, EFL and National League Clubs, otherwise £10.00 adults, £5.00 concs/U16s.