Cray Wanderers are on their travels once again on Saturday as they make the relatively short trip to Whyteleafe FC. Kick off at Church Road is 3pm.
Cray will be looking to end a run of eight games without a win and sees them take on a Leafe side which rather like Cray, the most consistent theme of their season has been their inconsistency. The Wands are in twelfth place although not mathematically out of playoff contention are in all probability going to miss out this time around. With five weeks of the season to go, Tony Russell’s side will be looking to end their season with a flourish.
Last time out against South Park, Cray edged the first half but couldn’t get the first goal which would have made the game a better contest. The visitors took control after the break and the Wands ended up losing 3-0. The problem before hand was that the spine of the side were not present with Jay Leader and Danny Haynes out injured and Lea Dawson suspended. Lea should be available for the last trip of the season to Surrey but we await news on Danny and Jay. With Jey Siva and Leigh Bremner leaving the club, the team has a very young look and a point to the future with players like Ben Mundele having played over 30 games this season, Jai McKinlay, Brandon Scott and Timi Osidobu all with their best years still to come have made contributions at various stages of the season. Certainly the ability is there in the side and perhaps require a change of fortune in order to get the win to get their season back on track. There is also the league leading scorer race with Luke Medley on 24 goals four behind current leader, Carshalton’s Tommy Bradford. Danny Haynes is on 22 goals so there are incentives for there to be personal accolades come the end of the season.
Their opponents, Whyteleafe are 16th in the league table, six points behind Cray but are unbeaten in their last three games which includes a win at South Park and a home draw with Greenwich Borough last Saturday. Leigh Dynan’s team have perhaps not been consistent enough to push for a playoff place and started 2017 with three straight league wins and then went on to lose their next five. They have won eight, drawn three and lost nine of their twenty home matches this season with Sam Clayton the leading scorer with 12.
When the two teams met back on 9th November, it saw one of many Cray comebacks that typified the early part of the season. Goals from Ibrahim Akanbi and Andy Mensah gave Whyteleafe a 2-0 lead before a thirty yard chip from Sherwin Stanley and a late Sol Taiwo penalty meant the game finished 2-2.
The last time the two teams met in a league game at Whyteleafe came in November 2008 when Cray won 3-1 during our Ryman South promotion season. Goals from Scott Kinch, a Colin Luckett penalty and Tony Dolby won the game for Cray that evening.
Whyteleafe were formed in 1946, replacing Whyteleafe Albion who met Cray for two seasons in the London League Premier in the late 20’s-early 30’s. They spent their early years in junior football before becoming members of the Surrey Senior League in the late 50’s They were Surrey League Champions in 1968-69 before jumping to the London Spartan League. We met during the Wands Spartan League Premier championship winning season of 1977-78. They briefly joined the Athenian League in 1981 and then to the Ryman League where they have spent many years in Division One. They locked horns again with Cray from 2004-05 during the Ryman Division One/South years up to 2008/09. The overall record is P.13 W 6 D 6 L 1
Whyteleafe were relegated from the Ryman South in 2011-12 and spent two seasons in the Kent League which was renamed the Southern Counties East League winning the title in 2013-14. Their first season back in the Ryman South in 2014-15 saw them finish fifth but lost the playoff semi-final at Folkestone Invicta whilst they finished 16th last season.
With both sides under no pressure from relegation the prospect of a free flowing and exciting game is in prospect and with no Premier league or Championship games due to international fixtures this weekend this could be a chance to pop along and watch the Wands away from home.
DIRECTIONS TO WHYTELEAFE FC
Surrey CR3 0AR
Over 65s: £5.00
10-18 year old £2.00
Under 10s: free
If you are travelling by car. From Junction 6 of the M25 head north along the A22 (signposted to London, Croydon and Caterham). At Wapses Lodge Roundabout, take the third exit. Take the first left adjacent to Whyteleafe South railway station and cross the level crossing. Fork right after 200 yards into Church Road. The ground is a quarter of a mile down the road on the right.
If you are coming from Purley Cross (where the A23 crosses the A22), head south signposted to Eastbourne and the M25. Pass ‘My Old China’ (Chinese restaurant) on your right and continue under a railway bridge. Follow the A22 through Kenley and into Whyteleafe. At the first roundabout (with Whyteleafe Tavern opposite), turn right and cross a level crossing adjacent to Whyteleafe Station. Take first left into Church Road keeping St Luke Church to your right. The ground is a quarter of a mile up the road on the left. There is limited parking at the ground and so you have to park on the grass verges in Church Road.
The nearest station is Whyteleafe South which is the penultimate stop on the line to Caterham. There are direct trains to Whytelefe South from London Victoria at 13 and 43 past the hour and also from London Bridge at 29 and 59. You can also change at East Croydon where there are more regular services. For returns after the game direct trains to Victoria at 27 and 57 but direct to London Bridge only once an hour at 40 minutes past. Otherwise you can reconnect via a change at Purley or East Croydon. From the station the journey time is a little over ten minutes. Cross the level crossing after exiting the train and climb the hill. Take the first right into Church Road and the ground is a few hundred yards on your right hand side. Whyteleafe and Whyteleafe South fall in Travel Card Zone 6.
There is limited parking at Church Road, but this is often taken up by players, match officials and club staff. Double yellow lines have been placed near the entrance, and Whyteleafe ask supporters respect these following a nasty accident last year. Please do not park in front of the neighbours’ drive or in such a way that will make access to their homes difficult.
If parking in Church Road is not a possibility, the club suggest using the car park at Whyteleafe Station. Whilst this isn’t free, it is large and only a short walk to the ground.
THE CRAY MASSIVE ON TOUR
So for this season only we make the first of two visits to the village of Whyteleafe a ground where many of our supporters may have been during our previous spell in the Ryman South. As the name suggests it is part of leafy Surrey and is close to Caterham and there aren’t too many amenities as it is only a village. There is the Whyteleafe Tavern which is the nearest pub to the ground by the roundabout near Whyteleafe station but there is also in Warlingham just a stone’s throw away from the ground is the Radius Arms which is a micropub. Otherwise in Caterham there is the Fox and the King and Queen.
For a chippie, there is the Salisbury Fish Bar which is close to Whyteleafe South station. For those that fancy something spicy then there is the Curry Garden which is in Godstone Road, Whyteleafe as is the Royal Tandoori. For Chinese food you will probably have to go into Caterham where there is the Caterham Chinese on Croydon Road. For those that wish to make a whole day of it there is a Travelodge in Godstone Road. Whyteleafe has as well various quaint village stores and shops if you like your football to be idyllic and away from the hurly burly of town life. The village gets its name from the Whitebeam trees there and the distinctive white leaves. This is the last of our visits to Surrey this season and this has seen us travel to some really nice and scenic places which helps greatly the football experience and this trip fits the bill well. It is not too far away and with the clocks going forward later in the evening a chance to prepare yourself for warmer times to come and the start of the Cricket season.