Cray Wanderers begin a busy seven days with three consecutive away games in the BetVictor Isthmian Premier on Tuesday night with their first league visit to Merstham since January 2009.

Both sides will be looking to bounce back from home defeats on Saturday. Despite a very good performance against Enfield Town Cray were undone by some lethal finishing from the visitors and who went on to win a remarkable game 5-3 at Hayes Lane.

Cray played some wonderful attacking football which deserved better luck in front of goal and only had Joe Taylor’s sublime early strike, Tom Murphy’s curler and Jay Leader’s header to show for their efforts.  Tony Russell’s side had a goal perhaps erroneously disallowed for offside for Taylor in the first half and also hit the woodwork three times.  Enfield Town though are old hands at this level of football and showed why they have started the season so well with their deadly finishing.

The positives also included the return of Jay Leader for his 150th appearance and played very well alongside Mitchell Nelson for the first time this season. Tom Phipp worked his way back with 70 mins play and there was the usual fine displays from Tom Carlse, Ben Mundele, Taylor and Jerome Federico.  It has to be said that Lewis Carey also made a number of fine saves himself and as matches go it was probably hard to beat for quality.

Merstham will be looking to stop a run of three successive league defeats which have left Frank Wilson’s side in 16th place in the table.  On Saturday they were beaten at home in a Surrey Derby 1-4 by Leatherhead. Omar Folkes penalty goal was his sixth goal of the season.

Last season’s beaten playoff finalists home form has seen them beat East Thurrock United (2-1) but have lost their other four games to AFC Hornchurch (1-2), Kingstonian (0-1), Worthing (1-3) and Leatherhead (1-4).  Away from home they have won at Corinthian Casuals (1-0) and Wingate & Finchley (4-0) and drew at Brightlingsea Regent (0-0). They were beaten in their other games at Folkestone Invicta (1-3) and Enfield Town (0-2).  In the FA Cup Merstham were beaten in the 1st Qualifying Round at Whyteleafe (0-1).  Sam Delano-Yorke who played a handful of games in the Premier for the Wands ten years ago has netted three goals this season.

There have been only two previous league meetings between Cray Wanderers and Merstham back in the 2008-09 season with Cray winning 3-0 at Hayes Lane in August 2008 and in January 2009 the teams drew 1-1 at Merstham with Jamie Kempster scoring in both games that season.  The only other meetings came in the FA Vase in 1992-93 with Cray winning 1-0 at Oxford Road while two seasons later Merstham won 2-1 in a replay after a 1-1 draw.

Merstham were founded in 1892 and five years later joined the Redhill & District League where they won five titles between 1926-27 – 1950-51 and then moved on to the Surrey Intermediate League.  They then moved to the Surrey Senior League in 1965 winning the title in 1971-72 and then on to the London Spartan League in 1978, the year that Cray moved to the Kent League.

In 1984 Merstham moved to the Combined Counties League and in 2003 went into the Premier Division, In 2007-08 they won promotion to the Isthmian Division One South as champions and also reached the last 8 of the FA Vase.  They became mainstays of the Isthmian South and in 2014-15 after finishing fourth they won promotion after beating Faversham Town and impressively 3-0 at Folkestone Invicta in the Playoff Final to gain promotion to the Premier.

In 2016-17 they made national headlines by reaching the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup for the first time and staged a televised tie against Oxford United.  Last season was a good one for the Moatsiders who finished in their highest ever league placing of fifth and won 2-0 at Carshalton in the Playoff semi-final. They eventually missed out on promotion losing 0-2 at Tonbridge Angels in the final.  After that manager Hayden Bird and many of those players went on to Kingstonian for the start of this season but manager Frank Wilson has looked to assemble a new side who can challenge once again.

This should be another exciting evening under the lights and despite a couple of back to back defeats for Cray there is still much to look back on positively and proof just how good this division is and it is great to be back.



The Whisky Bible Stadium,

Weldon Way,





£10 – Adults
£6 – Concessions (60+, registered disabled, student card holders)
£3 – Children 16 & under

Leave the M25 at Junction 8, and take the A217 towards Reigate & Redhill. After about 0.3 miles, take a slight left onto Back Lane, which leads onto Gatton Bottom. Follow this road for about 2 miles until you meet the A23. Turn right onto the A23, and then after 0.3 miles turn left onto School Hill. This road crosses the railway and becomes Bletchingley Road. Turn right after about 0.2 miles onto Worsted Green and then right again onto Weldon Way, and you should find the ground on the right hand side.

Trains run from London Bridge to Merstham, four an hour midweek at 00, 21, 30 & 51 and take just over half an hour. Return train at 22.03 with others requiring a change at East Croydon.  There are also two trains per hour from London Victoria at 09 & 39 with returns at 22.15, 22.45 & 23.15.

Upon alighting, go over the footbridge, turn left past the front of the station and take the road to the left (Station Road South) past the car park. Proceed to the top of the road and turn left down School Hill. Take the 5th right into Weldon Way. The ground is on the right hand side.

Nearest Pub:  The Feathers Hotel  –      42 High Street, Merstham  RH1 3EA

A welcoming and classy looking pub with a wide selection of ales and wines plus a high quality menu.

Chippy/Indian: The Merstham Chippy on Bletchingley Road is quite near the ground and could be worth a visit.  Next door is the Merstham Tandoori.

It has to be said that Merstham has an excellent club house and being an evening match you may want to sample what is on offer and when we went there for a pre-season friendly a couple of years ago they did some superb, high quality rolls.  A good trip and a nice ground but might be better on a Saturday if you are wanting to make a day of it.