Cray Wanderers are back in league action on Saturday with the second of four successive away trips as Cray head for Lewes looking to build on Tuesday night’s win at Merstham. Kick off at the Dripping Pan is 3pm.

The Wands produced a mature and polished performance at Merstham and came back from a goal down to win with goals from Joe Taylor, his 14th goal of the season in the first half and twelve minutes into the second a classy finish from Bradley Pritchard put Cray in front which they held on to with a resolute defensive display.

This marked the 100th league win for Tony Russell’s as Cray Wanderers manager and helped the Wands bounce back from two successive defeats.  Also for the first time this season Tony will have his full squad to choose from with Jay Leader and Tom Phipp now returned from injury.

Cray moved up to 9th in the league table after Tuesday on 17 points but face a tough few days with Lewes away always a tough test, then on Tuesday night head to Horsham and then finally next Saturday travel to Isthmian North leaders Maldon & Tiptree in the FA Trophy but exciting times to be a Cray Wanderers fan.

Lewes who won promotion from the Isthmian South in 2017-18 returned to the Premier last season with a comfortable 11th place finish and always a hard side for Cray to beat.  This will be manager Darren Freeman’s last game in charge of the Rooks and has done well to restore Lewes’ fortunes.

ewes have made perhaps a slower start than expected and are 18th in the table with nine points after last Saturday’s 0-1 defeat at East Thurrock United and have yet to win at home in the league although they have only played four matches.  They drew with Enfield Town (1-1) on the opening day of the season and to Potters Bar Town (3-3). They lost at home to Bowers & Pitsea (0-2) and Horsham (0-2).  Away from home they won at Leatherhead (4-1) and Brightlingsea Regent (3-2) and drew at Carshalton Athletic (1-1). Their only defeats were at Worthing (1-3) and last Saturday (0-1) at East Thurrock United.  In the FA Cup they advanced past Leatherhead on penalties at home after a 2-2 draw following a similar result at Leatherhead in the 1st Qualifying Round. Their run came to an end at home to Bowers & Pitsea in the next round (1-2).  They begin their FA Trophy campaign next Saturday at Folkestone Invicta.

It is fair to say that Cray do not have a good league record against Lewes. We’ve met 10 times in the league with Lewes winning eight and two draws.  The last visit to Lewes was in September 2017 where Lewes won 2-1 after Jay Leader put Cray in front.  We then met in January 2018 at Hayes Lane and two goals in the first ten minutes set Lewes on the way to a 2-1 win. There was also one FA Trophy tie at the Dripping Pan in October 2011 which Lewes won 2-1.  Cray’s only win against Lewes was back in the FA Amateur Cup in November 1968 when Cray won 5-2 at Grassmeade in a replay following a 1-1 draw.

Cray keeper Andy Walker in action at Lewes in September 2011

The last league meeting between the sides in January 2018 

Lewes were founded in 1885 and were members of the Sussex County League from the 1920’s winning the title in 1964-65 and were moved to Division Two of the Athenian League. They were promoted in 1967-68 and two seasons later were promoted to the Premier Division.  In 1977 they transferred to Division Two of the Isthmian League earning promotion in 1979-80. They had a meteoric rise following relegation to Division Three in 1993-94 where they stayed until promotion in 2000-01. The following season they won Division Two and also reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup for the first time where they were beaten by Stoke City.  In 2003-04 they won promotion from the Isthmian Division One South and after league restructuring following a series of playoff victories were elevated to the Conference South and finished fourth in their first season.  After a couple more FA Cup 1st Round appearances in 2007-08 Lewes were promoted to the Conference where they remained for one season.  In 2010-11 they were relegated back to the Isthmian League where they met Cray Wanderers in League competition for the first time. They were relegated to the South in 2015-16 before consolidating and then achieving promotion behind Carshalton Athletic to the Premier in 2017-18.

Since 2010 the club have been fan owned and also have an equality system with a flourishing women’s team on equal pay with the men’s team.  They are a well supported club in an area with many and certainly have lived through some good times and bad times but always will be well backed.

This is always a good away trip regardless of the result and this should be an enjoyable one for a Saturday afternoon.


The Dripping Pan
7 Mountfield Road
East Sussex

Admission prices: Adults £12
Concessions £7
Under 16s GO FREE – Must be accompanied by an adult

By Car.

The Dripping Pan is at the very start of Mountfield Road, directly behind the station. If you are coming from the north or west, turn off the A27 for Lewes and turn right (signposted Rodmell and Piddinghoe) after about a mile at the first set of traffic lights, adjacent to the prison. Follow that road until you get to a mini roundabout by The Swan pub and turn left. Continue along this road and over the mini-roundabout straight into Mountfield Road where the ground is on your right hand side.


There are limited car parking spaces in the Sussex Downs College and Priory School car parks down Mountfield Road past the ground. Metered street parking is available and there is a pay and display car park directly outside the ground (operating 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday) but please be aware that Lewes has quite a number of ‘keen’ traffic wardens patrolling the town so please purchase a ticket where required.


For direct train services, London Victoria is the best station to get to Lewes (heading for Ore – Littlehampton). There are trains at 16 and 46 past the hour which go direct and takes about 1 hr 07 mins. Trains at 20 and 50 require a change at Brighton. Direct returns to Victoria leave Lewes at 21 and 48 past the hour or change at Brighton for a connection back.

You can also get there via London Bridge but this is probably not preferable due to a couple of change of trains at either East Croydon or Gatwick Airport.

Lewes railway station is about a two minute walk from the Dripping Pan. When you exit the main entrance, turn left and follow the path over the bridge then bear left at the roundabout. The ground will be in front of you.

The Dripping Pan is one of the great away days anywhere in football and if you have time on your hands there is much to see. The ground itself is quite unique with its steep banking and legend states the ground gets its name from when the area had a Salt making industry run by monks from Lewes Priory used to dry water from the river to make salf and accounts for the fact the stadium is sunk into the ground.

For those that like a pre or post match drink then Lewes is the place for you. Similar in many ways to Faversham as it has links to the Brewing industry with the Harveys Brewery a prominent part of the town just by the river Ouse. The nearest to the ground is probably the Lansdown Arms across from the station while the High Street and Southover Road are fairly close to the ground and includes the Brewers Arms, The Royal Oak, The Pelham Arms, The Rights of Man, Elephant & Castle and the Lamb of Lewes will at least offer you surely something to satisfy. These all come highly recommended and serve real ales and good food with fresh local produce.

For those that like a chippy then the Lewes Fish Bar in the High Street could be what you are looking for. The Shanaz of Lewes Indian Restaurant is in the High Street, with Spice Merchant in West Street fairly close to the ground. For Chinese food, The Pailin in Station Street could be worth a visit.