Isthmian League

Match Preview | Cray Wanderers (H)

It’s cold out there as the possibility of another postponement remains, but for now we’ll just hope that thermometer stays above freezing so we can all flock to The Enclosed Ground on Saturday afternoon for the arrival of Cray Wanderers.

Shaun Saunders will be hoping this one is certainly on after his side’s hefty 5-1 defeat at Wingate & Finchley last Saturday, but so too will Cray’s boss Neil Smith after he was forced to watch his side lose by an even greater margin after their 6-0 loss at Billericay Town.

It’s 14th hosting 17th, and maximum points for both sides is top priority as they go head-to-head in East Brighton for the first time since 2020.

The Opposition

Moving ever-deeper into the month of January with a question mark placed over the heads of Cray Wanderers following an inconsistent start to the campaign.

They finished 5th last season in Isthmian Premier, and so it might come as a slight surprise to see them drop all the way down to 17th as we hit the midpoint in the campaign. Still, six points adrift of relegation is plenty at this stage, and victory for ‘The Wands’ will see them move to just a single point behind the Hawks…

Their ‘home’ form has been significantly better than that of their away form, with eight of their 11 defeats coming on the road. They’ve found a temporary home at Bromley’s Hayes Lane for a while now, but the club will be hoping things will only improve when they move into their new ground at Flamingo Park soon.

One to Watch | Gary Lockyer

A name that has featured on the opposing team sheet in recent campaigns, Lockyer was an integral part of Ashford United’s attacking line over the years, but has since moved to the furthest reaches of Kent after a brief spell with big spenders Faversham Town.

Originally joining ‘The Wands’ from Ashford United at the start of last season, he made six appearances before heading back to the Nuts and Bolts. His return to Ashford saw him score twenty one goals in thirty eight games.

Previously playing for Ramsgate, he started out with Gravesend and Northfleet before having trials at Charlton Athletic and Aldershot Town, and spent many years playing for Lydd Town. The 31-year-old also won back to back promotions with Kennington quite a few years back.

He has nine goals to his name in all competitions this campaign, and is a constant threat in the opponent’s box.

Recent Form – WDDLL

29/12 | Enfield Town (H) | Won 2-0

1/1 | Hastings United (H) | Drew 0-0

6/1 | Lewes (H) | Drew 1-1

9/1 | Bognor Regis Town (A) | Lost 2-1

13/1 | Billericay Town (A) | Lost 6-0 

Previous Meetings

The two sides last met at the end of November on a freezing night at Hayes Lane. It was cold, dark and almost devastating for the Hawks who, after equalising with virtually the last kick of the game through Ben Pope, earned a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw.

Prior to our recent clash, we met back in October of 2020 – the penultimate match of a curtailed campaign courtesy of the pandemic. In what was Jude MacDonald’s final match as Whitehawk manager, Cray Wanderers ran out comfortable 3-0 winners on a bitter afternoon at The Enclosed Ground.

Before this, you’ll have to travel back to the 2012/13 season to find another batch of meetings, with the Hawks earning a league double after a 2-0 win at home, and a 2-1 win away. 

How to Follow

If you can’t make it to The Enclosed Ground on Saturday, then you can follow the action via our X (Twitter) channel, which can be found here.


Tickets can be bought at The Enclosed Ground on the day of the game for the following prices:

Adult: £13 

OAPs/Students/NHS: £8 

U18s: £5

Under 13s: FREE (must be accompanied by a paying adult)

Dogs welcome! But they must be on a lead at all times

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