Cray Wanderers are in midweek Bostik South East action on Tuesday for only the second time this season as table topping Cray make the reasonably short trip to Whyteleafe on the 3G surface. Kick off at Church Road is 7.45pm.
Cray come into the game on the back of a tremendous 6-0 win against Herne Bay on Saturday which coupled with Hastings United’s draw with Guernsey gave Tony Russell’s side a 13 point lead at the top. Such though is the concentration levels and commitment of the side that the euphoria of Saturday in the changing room was only short lived as preparations began for what will be a tough game against fifth played Whyteleafe.
There was a lot of positives to look back on from Saturday, with the four goal performance of Junior Dadson standing out as well as goals from wide players Jerome Federico and Daniel Uchechi, his first for the club. Defensively Cray were excellent against a side that was in good form beforehand and on the few occasions they did get through they found Nick Blue in sharp form in goal.
Many amongst the supporters have described Whyteleafe as being as good as anyone Cray have faced so far this season and the two teams played out a lively 1-1 draw back at the end of September, the only other midweek league match at Hayes Lane. Both goals came in the first ten minutes with Bradley Wilson putting Whyteleafe in front before Federico levelled two minutes later and both sides were reduced to ten men late in the game.
Harry Hudson’s side have had a free weekend and in their last match on 26th January they were 2-0 winners at home to Phoenix Sports with goals from Lauris Chin and Valentino Carpene. They have 38 points from their 22 games and occupy the final playoff position at present.
Their home form has been consistent and they have beaten East Grinstead Town (3-1), Faversham Town (6-0), Greenwich Borough (4-1), Guernsey (3-1), Hastings United (2-0), Horsham (3-1), Hythe Town (4-3) and Phoenix Sports (2-0). They drew with Ramsgate and their only defeats came at the hands of Haywards Heath Town (2-3) and Sevenoaks Town (2-3). They won three matches on their travels at East Grinstead Town (3-1), Herne Bay (1-0) and Whitstable Town (2-0) and drew at Ashford United. Cray Wanderers, Phoenix and VCD. They were beaten at Hastings United, Horsham, Sittingbourne and Three Bridges.
The last time the two sides met at Whyteleafe in December 2017 saw Cray win 2-0 with Michael Freiter and Michael Power scoring on a wet afternoon.
This has been a game long awaited and a match under lights is always special anywhere and will be a real test for Cray but one which they will relish.
DIRECTIONS TO WHYTELEAFE FC
Whyteleafe Football Club
Surrey CR3 0AR
Over 65s: £5.00
12-16 Year Olds: £3.00
Under 12s: £1.00
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 Whyteleafe South from London Victoria on a Tuesday at 02 and 32 past the hour and also from London Bridge at 17 and 47. You can also change at East Croydon where there are more regular services. For returns after the game there are no direct trains to Victoria. Trains at 03, 23, 33 and 53 require a change at either Purley or East Croydon. The 22.23 train would be the most convenient stopping at London Bridge directly and a bit quicker (41 mins) otherwise the 03 and 33 takes an hour to get to London Bridge. Otherwise you can reconnect at East Croydon from London Bridge. 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 station is a little further away but does give the option of stopping off at the Whyteleafe Tavern. Both 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 a couple of years ago. 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.
As the name Whyteleafe 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 and also the Horseshoe. Otherwise in Caterham there is the highly recommended The Royal Oak.
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.