Whitehawk vs Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier – Tuesday 27th February, 7.45 pm – Match Preview

Cray Wanderers finish February’s fixtures on Tuesday 27th February as the Wands, unbeaten in seven league games visit Whitehawk for only the second time in the Isthmian Premier. Kick off, 7.45 pm.

Cray moved onto 42 points after 31 games on Saturday after a 1-0 win at home to Kingstonian and stayed 13th in the Isthmian Premier league table, nineteen clear of 19th placed Cheshunt. After three straight wins the confidence with the Wands is high and the last five wins have all been by the odd goal which shows the team can battle and are unbeaten in the last fifteen home games.  

Anthony Cook’s free kick strike on the hour on Saturday was his tenth goal of the season and made it three in the last five games.  At the other end, Shaun Rowley kept his tenth clean sheet of the season and the return of Jack Holland at the back has been a boost and aside from the defeat at Billericay Town in mid January, Cray have been more resolute and gaining the happy knack of winning close games.

Whitehawk come into the game unbeaten in the last four league games and Shaun Saunders side are 15th in the table on 37 points and fourteen clear of the bottom four but have played three games less than Cray Wanderers.

On Saturday, Whitehawk came from behind to draw 1-1 at Hashtag United with Charlie Lambert’s thirteenth goal of the season in the 66th minute.

Shaun Saunders side were promoted to the Isthmian Premier last season and the teams played at Hayes Lane on 29th November and drew 2-2. Charlie Lambert put Whitehawk in front but Anthony Cook and Gary Lockyer put Cray ahead at the break. Whitehawk levelled through Ben Pope in injury time.  There have been just two previous trips to Whitehawk for the Wands. In the 2012-13 season in the Isthmian Premier. Whitehawk won 2-0 at home on 26/2/13 en route to winning the league that season.  The teams also met in the FA Trophy Preliminary Round on October 31st 2020 at Whitehawk with Cray winning 3-0 with goals from Rhys Murrell-Williamson, Charlie Allen and Freddie Parker.

At home, Whitehawk have beaten Horsham (3-1), Haringey Borough (2-1), Bognor Regis Town (3-2), Margate (3-2), Cheshunt (2-0) and Folkestone Invicta (3-2) and drawn with Hastings United (0-0), Wingate & Finchley (3-3), Hashtag United (1-1) and Dulwich Hamlet (1-1. They were beaten by Lewes (1-2), Billericay Town (0-1) and Chatham Town (1-2). Away from home, Whitehawk have won at Billericay Town (3-1), Canvey Island (2-1) and Horsham (1-0). They drew at Folkestone Invicta, Enfield Town, Cray Wanderers, Hornchurch, Haringey Borough and Hashtag United and were beaten at Margate, Chatham Town. Potters Bar Town, Carshalton Athletic, Wingate & Finchley and Cheshunt.  Whitehawk did advance to the Quarter Finals of the Isthmian League Cup after wins against Margate and Kingstonian but were beaten at home by Haringey Borough last Tuesday.  .Charlie Walker is the leading scorer with 18 goals in league and cups.

With both teams having plenty of wriggle room from the relegation places this should be an entertaining evening down on the South coast albeit being a touch chilly one.


Whitehawk FC

TerraPura Ground, East Brighton Park, Wilson Avenue, Brighton BN2 5TS

Ticket prices: £13 (£12 in advance), OAPs/Students/NHS £8 (£7 in advance), U18s £5 (£4 in advance); Under 13s free (must be accompanied by a paying adult):  Dogs welcome (must be on a lead at all times)

Printed Match programme: £2.50

By car:

As the traffic into the centre of Brighton on the A23 can be quite slow at times, the route outlined below avoids this.

From London:

At the end of the M23, continue onto the A23, heading towards Brighton. After passing the welcome to Brighton & Hove signs, just before you reach a roundabout which is the junction with the A27, bear left (signposted Lewes/Newhaven). Go straight over the first roundabout and take the right turning off the second roundabout onto the A27 towards Lewes/Newhaven. After around four miles as you pass Sussex University on your left, leave the A27 just before the AMEX stadium by taking the slip road (the left hand lane) sign posted Falmer/Rottingdean (B2123). At the top of the slip road turn right at the roundabout, crossing back over the A27 and continuing towards Rottingdean, passing the AMEX stadium on your right.

Carry on this road across the South Downs until you reach a set of traffic lights which is the Woodingdean junction at the Downs Hotel. Turn right here, towards the city centre/racecourse. Drive out of Woodingdean and at the next traffic lights turn left into Wilson Avenue (signposted Whitehawk FC and East Brighton Park). Drive down hill towards the sea, passing the entrance to the Stanley Leisure Centre on your left. At the bottom of the hill, just before the traffic lights, turn left into the entrance to East Brighton Park (signposted Whitehawk FC and East Brighton Park). Follow the narrow road round to the end. Just past the entrance to a caravan park, you will see the entrance to Whitehawk FC.

There is a car park at the ground that holds 100 cars. The entrance road up to the ground is quite narrow, so it may be an idea to find street parking on the residential streets off Wilson Avenue and walk over to the ground.

By Train:

Trains to Brighton from London Victoria at 05, 16, 29, 35, 46 & 59 minutes past the hour. For returns, direct trains back to Victoria at 22:39 and 23:13. The 23:23 stops at London Blackfriars.  From London Bridge trains depart at 05, 15, 35 & 45. The last direct services back to London Bridge are at 21:58, 22:14 and 22:28.

Brighton railway station is situated around two and half miles away from the ground. Either get a taxi or bus to the ground.  

By Bus:

From stand B at the front of the railway station, take the Brighton and Hove Bus No 7 (to Brighton Marina) or No 27 (to Saltdean) and get off at Roedean Road. Roedean Road is just round the corner from the entrance to East Brighton Park. After being dropped off, walk up Roedean Road to the traffic lights (keeping the gasometer on your right) and turn left into Wilson Avenue (signposted Whitehawk FC). Cross the road into the entrance to East Brighton Park (signposted Whitehawk FC/East Brighton Park). Follow the narrow road to the end, passing an entrance to a caravan park. Please take care along this road as it has no footpath and at night it is unlit.

Subsequent note for those going by bus and on the No 7. If you get off at the Marina Terminus please be prepared for a very steep climb up East Brighton Park.  Might be best to check bus times at Brighton & Hove Buses for return journeys but buses should be running after the game.

Nearest pubs: The Club house or Brighton Bier bar is highly recommended as one of the best in non-league football so perhaps best unless you want to hang around Brighton all day to sample the wares including local beers at the ground. 

If you don’t mind a climb and you get to the Marina then the Master Mariner which overlooks all the boats might be tempting but bear in mind it might be a bit chilly there in January. Also The New Bush (1 Arundel Road) could tempt you but I would suggest the club house might be best.

Whitehawk lies to the East of Brighton and consists of a fairly large housing estate built in the 1930’s and added to over the decades and lies north of the Brighton Marina which was redeveloped in 1979. For those that arrive early you may be able to spot a chalk carving of a White Hawk on the hill at Sheepcote Valley. Like much of Brighton, the area is high on conservation and greenery and in 2012 the Racehill Community Orchard was set up and in 2018 won an award. Although at one time regarded in the 5% of deprived areas in the country much funding has been received to boost the area. Certainly a night out unlike many we would have had this season.