Folkestone Invicta vs Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier, Saturday 2nd December, 3 pm – Match Preview & Directions

Cray Wanderers begin a busy December with the first of back to back away games as the Wands head to Folkestone Invicta on Saturday 2nd December.  Ko 3 pm.

Cray head to Cheriton Road after two successive home matches which yielded two points from draws with Dulwich Hamlet and Whitehawk on Wednesday which leaves Neil Smith’s side in 17th place on 18 points, three ahead of the bottom four.  

On Wednesday, Cray had to come from an early goal down and a disallowed goal to go in front at half time.  Anthony Cook scored from his second free kick in the last four league games to put Cray level in the 41st minute.  Then in first half stoppage time Gary Lockyer scored his eighth goal of the season and has now scored in seven of his last nine games. Cray came close to adding to the score in the second half through Yahya Bamba, Ellis Brown and George Porter but Whitehawk grabbed a point with a goal four minutes into stoppage time.  Cray added Leyton Orient loanee Sahid Nallo to the squad for Wednesday and played the last ten minutes of the game while fellow loanee Emmanuel Kwatchey has returned to the O’s.

The Wands have been playing well in recent weeks and are four unbeaten in the league but will be looking to edge away from the bottom four over the coming weeks with six matches in December.

Folkestone Invicta after a bright start to the season find themselves in 15th place on nineteen points and are under new management with former Wand Andy Drury taking over in November.  Last Saturday Invicta were beaten 0-1 at home to an early Bognor Regis Town goal.

Last season Folkestone finished 12th and Cray were 4-2 winners at Folkestone in September 2022 with goals from Tom Derry, Sinn’kaye Christie, Sam Wood and Dan Bassett and it finished 0-0 at Hayes Lane in February 2023.

So far at home Folkestone have beaten Margate (2-0), Cheshunt (2-1) and Billericay Town (1-0) and drawn with Whitehawk (1-1) and Haringey Borough (1-1). Invicta were beaten by Chatham Town (2-3), Enfield Town (1-2) and Bognor Regis Town (0-1). Away from home, Folkestone won at Wingate & Finchley (4-0) and Lewes (3-1), drew at Hashtag United and Potters Bar Town and were beaten at Concord Rangers, Kingstonian, Hornchurch, Carshalton Athletic and Dulwich Hamlet. In the FA Cup, Folkestone reached the 2QR after beating Hartley Wintney but were beaten at home to Margate after a replay. In the FA Trophy, Folkestone were beaten at home by Haringey Borough on penalties in the Preliminary Round.  Top scorers so far are Ira Jackson and Ibrahim Olutade with eight goals.

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. Then finished in 6th place in 2021-22 and 12th last season.

It promises to be an important game for both sides on a very cold afternoon with both looking to move up the table in the last month of the year.



Alcaline Stadium, Cheriton Road, Folkestone, Kent CT19 5JU

Adult: — £12.00
Concessions/Students: – £9.00

Juniors: 5-18 y/o – £ 3.00

U5’s with paying adult – Free

Card or cash payments will be accepted, although if possible, and if you are paying by cash please have the right money available. Card Payments can only be made at the Bar Invicta end.

Programme:  £2.00 


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 Tunnel/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.

It is fairly rare for us to be travelling to Folkestone on a Saturday and the journey time could take between 1 hr/1 hr 30 for the 57.5 miles trip.


By train:

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.

For train travel you can go from Orpington but no direct trains to either West or Central station at 03 past the hour.  Your journey will require a change at either Sevenoaks or Tonbridge and should take just over an hour and a half.  From Bromley South or St. Mary Cray you can also change at Sevenoaks or Ashford International and around an hour and 42 minute journey by train. Please check trains at for your best options. 

Returns back from Folkestone West are at 13 past the hour or 11 past from Central and require a change at Ashford International or Tonbridge.  Best to check the national rail enquiries website prior to travel.    

There are direct services though from Ebbsfleet International with trains at 22 or 25 past the hour and take 35 minutes to get there. There are trains back at 01 past the hour back to Ebbsfleet International.

By bus:

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

Service Nos. 71, 72, 73 – Get off just past Morrisons Supermarket.

Nearest pub:  The Bar Invicta at Folkestone is very good and welcoming for those that want to take it a bit easy.  This is situated on the main Cheriton Road directly in front of the stadium.  There is ample parking in front of the Bar and has been fully refurbished. There is a disabled entrance at the front and has disabled toilet facilities. There are two bars with a function room.

If you arrive at Folkestone early enough near Folkestone West station are the Nailbox pub on Coolinge Lane or the Royal Cheriton (339 Cheriton Road). This is going in the other direction to the ground. From Folkestone Central you will find The Park Inn on Radnor Park Road or the Firkin Alehouse (a renovated former Estate Agents, now a micropub) on Cheriton Place.   For Wetherspoon’s fans there is the Samuel Peto in Rendevouz Street which is about a five minute drive from Cheriton Road.   

For Fish and Chips there is the Corner Plaice (317 Cheriton Road, close to the Royal Cheriton) and the Golden Gate (374 Cheriton Road). From Central Station there is the Central Fish Bar (98 Cheriton Road). 

Folkestone is a port town on the edge of the South Downs and a prominent part of the English defences against French invaders.  A harbour was introduced during the 19th century and also good railway links to London and Kent gave good business to the area and became a popular holiday destination.  If you’ve time, the cliffs are well worth a visit and has at the top a Martello Tower which was built in 1806 as a look out should Napoleon invade and has been a coast guard lookout and a Second World War Naval mine control post.  The Brockhill Country Park in Saltwood between Folkestone and Hythe is part of a Kentish area of natural beauty.  There is also the oldest Battle of Britain Museum in the UK in nearby Hawkinge and the Battle of Britain Memorial on the White Cliffs is testament to the battering Kent took over the skies during the War.  Overlooking the Channel Tunnel entrance is the carving of the Folkestone White Horse which can be a spectacular sight.