Herne Bay vs Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier – Monday 10th April, 3 pm – Match Preview

Just forty eight hours after Cray Wanderers edged a point outside the playoffs the Wands head to Herne Bay on Easter Monday for perhaps the biggest game of the season.

Cray’s win against Corinthian Casuals at Hayes Lane on Saturday was vital to keep the pressure on Enfield Town in 5th place and after the Towners were beaten at Horsham means Neil Smith’s side along with Horsham, Lewes and Hastings United vie for the playoffs and to extend the season perhaps by another week.

Cray have 67 points, one behind Enfield and two in front of Horsham and Lewes in 7th and 8th places.  Hastings United in 9th have 63 points and have a game in hand so cannot be discounted and do have to play Horsham on Monday.  Bishop’s Stortford are league leaders on 79 points with Hornchurch and Canvey Island in 2nd and 3rd on 77 points and all three are confirmed a playoff place. Aveley in 4th have 74 points and may well need just one more win to confirm their berth in the playoffs and are at Canvey Island on Monday.

Nyren Clunis scored the winner on Saturday just before the half hour and in a rich vein of form but although the Wands couldn’t add to their tally had done more than enough over the game to win and are now six unbeaten and have a healthy goal difference of +26 which could help if points are level by the end of the season.

The quality of the Wands bench on Saturday was impressive too, Anthony Cook, Tom Derry, Yahaya Bamba, Dajon Golding and Rio Campbell and with the traditional Easter quick turnaround of games and another on Monday, the squad strength has really shown itself since the unbeaten run started at the beginning of March.

This will be a big game too for Herne Bay who are looking to stave off relegation and are in 20th place, level with Bowers & Pitsea who are 19th on 33 points and both three points behind Kingstonian in 18th. Although Herne Bay have been in the bottom four for most of the season they have given themselves a great chance to avoid the drop back into the South-East division by winning three games in March and have picked up points from two tough away games recently, drawing 3-3 at Hastings United on 1st April and again at Lewes on Good Friday, coming back from 3-1 down with fifteen minutes to go to draw through goals from top scorer Marcel Barrington, Troy Williams and Mason Saunders-Henry.  

When the two sides met at Hayes Lane on 2nd January it was a lot closer game than the 3-0 scoreline would suggest in Cray’s favour with goals from Danny Bassett, Tom Derry and Jalen Jones with the final two goals coming in the last ten minutes.

The last meeting at Herne Bay was in the Isthmian South-East on 20th October 2018 with Cray winning 2-1 with goals from Ben Mundele and a Tom Phipp penalty with Jake Embery scoring for Herne Bay also from the spot.  The teams did play a pre-season friendly in July 2021 and drew 1-1.

Kevin Watson’s side at home this season have beaten Lewes (4-1), Bowers & Pitsea (3-1), Corinthian Casuals (3-1), Horsham (3-0) and Bognor Regis Town (2-1). The Bay drew with Kingstonian (1-1), Brightlingsea Regent (1-1), Wingate & Finchley (1-1), Billericay Town (2-2), Margate (1-1) and were beaten by Hornchurch (0-6), Hastings United (0-3), Carshalton Athletic (2-3), Canvey Island (1-4), Folkestone Invicta (1-2), Potters Bar Town (1-3), Aveley (1-2), Harinfey Borough (0-1) and Enfield Town (1-3).  Away from home Herne Bay have won at Haringey Borough (4-2), Brightlingsea Regent (2-1) and Carshalton Athletic (3-1) and drawn at Aveley, Kingstonian, Hastings United and Lewes.  Marcel Barrington with 16 goals is the leading scorer.  Herne Bay after Monday will be away to Wingate & Finchley on Saturday and end the season on the 22nd April at home to Bishop’s Stortford.  Herne Bay are a side with big ambition and have competed well this season despite their lowly league position and do stand a chance of staying up but may feel this is a game they must not lose.

With just two more games to go and with the league title, a couple of playoff and relegation places yet to be confirmed this promises to be the most dramatic finish to the league season for years and there may not be a better match than Herne Bay v Cray Wanderers on Easter Monday.



Address: Herne Bay FC. MBS Stadium, Stanley Gardens, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 5SG

Admission prices: Adult £12
Concessions: £7, Juniors (17-12 yo’s) £5, £2 (Under 12’s)

Tickets are available to purchase in advance here:


Herne Bay is one of the really great away days of non league football and a good atmosphere is generated there on match days and a club many of our long-time supporters may remember from the Kent League days,

The district has excellent road links with the M20 (M25/M26) and M2 motorways providing easy links from London. Herne Bay is a short drive from Canterbury, via the A28/A281 and A290.

Virtually all visitors will come via the A299 Thanet Way from the west. Take the junction for Herne Bay, going straight on at first roundabout and then left at the second (s/p Seafront). Follow this road until you pass under the railway bridge. Take the next left into Spencer Road and then the first left after about 200 yards into Stanley Road. The ground is on the left hand side. There is plenty of parking at the ground in the surrounding streets free of charge.

If you are coming by train then it is a ten minute walk from Herne Bay station (on the London Victoria to Ramsgate/Margate line). Turn right out of the station and follow Station Road northwards. Take the first right into Spencer Road and then after 500 yards take a right into Stanley Road for the ground.

If going from Bromley South on Easter Monday there are direct trains to Herne Bay at 57 minutes past the hour. You can catch the 27 past the hour which means a change of train at Rochester. Trains arrive at Rochester at 53 past the hour with about a 5 minute wait at platform 2 for your connecting train

For the return direct trains are again hourly leaving at 21 mins past with the 44 past requiring a change at Faversham.

By Bus

The district is well served by Stagecoach East Kent buses from Canterbury Bus Station. For timetable enquiries, telephone +44 (0) 8707 433 711. For Herne Bay take either the 6, 6A, 6B or

7. For all enquiries, telephone +44 (0) 8717 818 181 or check out the National Express Timetable

The nearest bus stops to the ground are:

Canterbury Road – 5 minutes from the ground via Spencer Road
Herne Bay Rail Station – 10 minute walk via Spencer Road

The nearest pub to the ground is possibly the Heron on Station Road close to the Railway Station. If time on your hands there are a number of pubs close to the sea front including the Four Fathoms (Kent Pub of the Year, 2018), the Divers Arms, The Firkin Frog (Micro pub), The Saxon Shore (Wetherspoon’s) while the Smugglers Inn in School Lane is highly recommended.

For Fish and Chip lovers, you should find something for your liking in Herne Bay unless you are particularly fussy. If you have time to go to the sea front then you have Happy Fryer, Deans Plaice and Shakey Shakey amongst many choices.

Herne Bay is a seaside town on the Kent East coast and was during Victorian times one of the most popular holiday destinations and boasts a fine pier and promenade. Herne Bay was home to the first freestanding purpose built Clock Tower built in 1837. Despite the risk of flooding the town remains upbeat and many tourists visit there or do the walk along the coastline to and from Whitstable which is about five miles away.

Also a popular destination for Anglers and also has sailing, rowing and yachting clubs. Many of you may have made trips there over the years and maybe never had a chance to watch football there. It is a really good trip for first time visitors and hopefully now in April a bit of early spring sunshine wouldn’t go amiss.