Cray Wanderers vs Wingate & Finchley – Isthmian Premier – Saturday 27th January, 3 pm – Match Preview

Cray Wanderers return to league action on Saturday after a short weather affected break as Wingate & Finchley are the visitors to Hayes Lane. Kick off 3 pm.

The Wands are without a win in four league games but will be looking to build on the momentum of a professional performance in midweek after a 3-0 win at home to Fisher in the London Senior Cup.

  Neil Smith fielded a strong side and goals from Tayo Oyebola, his third goal in just five starts, Alfie Evans first goal for the club and Anthony Cook’s seventh goal of the season completed the win.  The match also saw Shaun Rowley make it four clean sheets in the last five home matches.  Certainly the performance of centre-half Charlie Paye caught the eye and overall it was a very positive display as Cray advanced to the Quarter Finals of the competition.

The Wands though will be looking to start to climb away from the relegation places and will start the game in 17th place, six points clear of 19th placed Cheshunt and look to try to reach the group of clubs in the middle of the league table.  Recent postponements and rearrangements have meant February is looking more congested than previously expected so games will be coming thick and fast in the next few weeks.

It will be a tough game on Saturday as Ahmet Rifat’s Wingate & Finchley side have had a very good season so far and are 5th in the table on 44 points after 24 games.  Their last game on 13th January was an impressive 5-1 home win vs Whitehawk with Ruben Carvalho scoring a hat-trick and goals from Anointed Chukwu and Elliot Long.

Cray though produced one of their finest performances of the season to win 3-1 at Wingate & Finchley on 4th November with goals from Gary Lockyer and after Ruben Carvalho equalised second half strikes from Frankie Raymond and Anthony Cook.

Wingate & Finchley are unbeaten in four league games and have won on their last two visits to Hayes Lane including a 1-0 win in November 2022. Away from home Wingate & Finchley have won at Haringey Borough (2-1), Cheshunt (1-0), Hastings United (3-2), Lewes (2-1), Carshalton Athletic (3-2) and Kingstonian (2-1). They drew at Whitehawk (3-3) and Folkestone Invicta (1-1) and were beaten at Hashtag United (0-2), Chatham Town (1-2) and Potters Bar Town (2-3).  At home Wingate & Finchley have beaten Kingstonian (2-1), Horsham (2-0), Canvey Island (6-2), Margate (1-0), Billericay Town (2-1), Concord Rangers (2-0), Cheshunt (3-2) and Whitehawk (5-1) and lost to Folkestone Invicta, Hornchurch, Dulwich Hamlet, Enfield Town and Cray Wanderers.  Carvalho and Long are the leading scorers both with 14 goals.

This should be a great way to bring down the curtain on January’s fixtures for Cray with both sides needing the points at opposite ends of the table.

Admission £12/£6 on gate (cash only) or online at Match programme: £2, Golden Goals £1.