All pics: kindly provided by Jon Hilliger –

Cray Wanderers continue their early season road trip on Tuesday night with a visit to Folkestone Invicta in the Pitching In Isthmian Premier. Kick off at the BuildKent Stadium is 7.45pm.

This is a trip for Cray Wanderers a bit long in the making as the sides never got to meet at Folkestone last season due to a combination of winter and Folkestone’s Isthmian League Cup commitments and was Cray’s game in hand as the season neared its final few weeks. Both sides come into the game in good form at the start of the season and should be a match pitting sides expected to be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.

Cray have made their best ever start to an Isthmian Premier season winning both their opening games and made it 15 games unbeaten in 2020 with victory at a cold and windy East Thurrock United on Saturday.  In what could have been a tricky afternoon with the conditions Cray were able to take a two goal lead at half time with a well taken brace from ex-Invicta man Joe Taylor taking his tally to the season to four and also forty-nine Cray goals.  The first he beat the offside trap cleverly to slot the ball into the net and the second was virtually on a plate for him following a burst of speed from Jason Banton down the left and pull back for Joe to score.  The second half saw East Thurrock more in the match but Cray had a level of control when Freddie Parker kept up his goal per game start to the season and the Wands were able to see out the game well despite a late goal for the home side.

Another bonus for Cray on Saturday was a 75 minute appearance from Charlie Allen after missing much of pre-season and cameo appearances off the bench for Tom Phipp and Ben Mundele as the Wands look to recover from a few early season knocks.

Cray now have that great knack of churning out wins and getting results when perhaps not playing at full pelt which is a good sign for the team.  With away trips following to Moneyfields in the FA Cup on Saturday and Potters Bar Town in the league and a busy October it shows solidity in the team is good and needed with the early season schedule pitting three games a week.

Folkestone Invicta under the canny stewardship of Neil Cugley, who took over in 1997 have bounced back after a 2-1 home loss to Worthing on the opening day of the season to record two 4-1 wins against Wingate & Finchley firstly away in the FA Cup last Wednesday and then on Saturday won 4-1 at home after a goalless first half. An own goal and strikes from experienced and prolific forward Ian Draycott, Aaron Simpson and Scott Heard sealed the three points.

Folkestone like Cray were placed in the playoffs before last season’s early finish and two points separating the teams with Cray in 2nd and Folkestone in 4th so both teams could point towards a great end to the season.  Since last season, Folkestone have lost winger Ira Jackson to League 2 Grimsby Town but have signed forward David Smith from Ashford United and scored against Worthing and the FA Cup tie at Wingate & Finchley. Also winger Adem Ramadan joined from Margate.  The teams did meet once last season with Folkestone winning a thrilling game at Hayes Lane back in August 2019, 3-2 with an injury time winner from Johan Te Horst. Andre Coker had scored twice for Cray with Jerson Dos Santos scoring two for Invicta on the night.  This is the first time though Cray have played a league game at Folkestone since a 1-1 draw in February 2011.

Folkestone Invicta were formed in 1936 and after the demise of the original Folkestone club which used to play in the Southern League in 1990, Invicta moved in to the Cheriton Road ground and started their rise from the 2nd division of the Kent League in 1991-92 to the Kent League Premier where they met Cray Wanderers for the first time.  We played until the 1997-98 season, the first under the management of Neil Cugley who arrived from Ashford Town in the summer of 1997 and finished runners-up behind Herne Bay to clinch promotion to the Southern League.  They did extremely well in the Southern League and gained promotion from the East Division to the Premier and in 2001-02 briefly topped the league.  They were relegated back to the East Division in 2002-03 but earned promotion straight away.

They were moved to the Isthmian League for 2004-05 to the Premier Division where they stayed for four seasons reaching the 1st Round of the FA Cup in 2005-06 losing to Chester City.  They were relegated in 2007-08 and met up once again with Cray Wanderers in the South Division for 2008-09 where Cray gained promotion.  In 2009-10 Folkestone were promoted back to the Premier after beating Godalming Town in the playoff final.  With a very young team they were relegated straight away in 2010-11 and for the next four seasons were playoff contenders in the South, twice getting to the semi-finals in 2011-12 & 2012-13.  Then in 2013-14 beat Hastings United in the Semi-Finals before losing at home to Leatherhead on penalties in the final after a 1-1 draw.  In 2014-15 they returned to the playoff final but were beaten 0-3 by Merstham.  The following season there were no such dramas as they won the South title by 24 points to go up in some style.

In 2016-17 they survived relegation from the Premier on the last day of the season but since have been near the top and in 2017-18 they made it to the Playoff Semi-Final losing to Hendon.

This promises to be one of the top games of the midweek schedule and with so much uncertainty in football and life in general at the moment one thing is that certain is should be a great match under the lights on the South Kent coast.   

Directions to Folkestone Invita FC

The BuildKent Stadium

Cheriton Road Sports Ground, Cheriton Road, Folkestone, Kent CT19 5JU

Please note current ground capacity for all Pitching In Isthmian Premier grounds is 600

There will be admission on the night but by card only and no cash taken at the turnstile. If you wish to order a ticket online please visit –

Track and trace in operation – Also due to 10pm curfew rules, please if you can leave immediately after the game.

Adult: — £11.00
Concessions/Students: – £8.00


From the Cray’s – From the A20/Sidcup-by-Pass follow for 3.9 miles and then keep right to join the M20 and follow for 50 miles following signs for Dover/Channel Tunnell/Maidstone.  At Junction 13 take the A20 exit to Folkestone. Continue to drive along the A2034 then turn left at the 2nd set of Traffic lights and you will be able to see the stadium about 100 metres on the left (Just past the Harvey Grammer school.

Considering the game is a midweek match you might want to give a bit more time for your journey factoring in traffic and could take between 1 hr 5 mins/1 hr 40 for the 57.5 miles trip.

By train:

By train, there are services that go to Folkestone but from our neck of the woods do take a bit of time. From Bromley South it is advised to change at Ashford International for a train to either of the Folkestone stops. There are occasional direct stops from Orpington station with the 17:18 arriving at Folkestone West at 18:37. You can also catch high speed services from London St Pancras International, Stratford, Ebbsfleet and Ashford which run half hourly. The last train back to Bromley or Orpington will be 22:11 but best to check services prior to travelling.

The nearest stations are: Folkestone West and Folkestone Central. Folkestone West is marginally nearer. From the station, walk east on Station Road towards and then on to Beachborough Road/B2064.  Then turn right onto Cheriton Road and after 0.2 miles turn left for the ground.

From Folkestone Central – Walk east towards and onto Folkestone Station Road, then turn left onto Cheriton Road/A259, then at the roundabout take the 4th exit onto Cheriton Road/A2034 for 0.5 miles and then turn right for the ground.  

Plan your journey accordingly and be sure your train will stop at one of these stations. Walking distance from each of the two stations is approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

(Folkestone West is marginally closer)

By bus:

Buses to Cheriton run every eight minutes from the town centre (bus station) on weekdays.

Service Nos. 71, 72, 73 and 17 (less frequent, which goes on eventually to Canterbury).

Get off just past Morrisons Supermarket.