Cray Wanderers v Hastings United preview
Cray Wanderers v Hastings United preview

Cray Wanderers look to continue their unbeaten start to the league season in their first home midweek fixture of 2017-18 on Wednesday as Hastings United are the visitors to Hayes Lane.

Kick off is 7.45pm

Cray remained undefeated on Saturday following a goalless draw at home to Chipstead with nine points from the first five games.  Strangely, this is an identical start points wise to last season after five matches with Cray in ninth place, seven points off the top with two games in hand.

The Wands certainly created chances in the opening half hour on Saturday and could have been three or four goals to the good before Chipstead gained confidence and looked the likely winners in the second half.

Cray were unlucky at the finish when Bradley Stevenson was denied by the Chipstead keeper and Karl Dent crashed a shot off the crossbar but Chipstead also hit the woodwork after the break and Jordan Carey made a final double save to prevent the visitors from winning the game.  In the end a point was the right result.

One of the real positives from Saturday was a fourth consecutive league clean sheet with the defence in excellent form, with Ben Mundele, Barney Williams, Jay Leader and in particular Mitchell Nelson playing very well.  Karl Dent also continued his good start to the season and was rather unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.

The first individual honour of the season was won by Nick Blue who was voted Sills Goalkeepers Products Bostik South goalkeeper of the month for August.

Despite the unbeaten start you sense there is still quite a lot more to come from this Tony Russell’s side particularly in attack and they will be tested fully against Adam Hinshelwood’s Hastings side.

Hastings come into the game on the back of three straight league defeats in league and cup but are always very dangerous opponents.  They started the season well with seven points from the first three games including wins against Corinthian Casuals and at Ramsgate.  In the FA Cup, they were 2-0 winners at Sheppey United in the Preliminary Round before losing 3-1 at Dulwich Hamlet in the next round.

The last two games have seen defeats at home to Lewes and a 0-3 loss at Phoenix Sports last Saturday leaving them in 15th place ahead of the midweek fixtures. The top scorer so far is Billy Medlock with 3 goals.

Last season was a good one for them and they ended the campaign strongly finishing fifth and a place in the playoffs having scored 128 goals in the process. They were perhaps unfortunate to lose on penalties to eventual winners Dorking Wanderers in the semi-final and so remained in the Bostik South for 2017-18.

The last time the two sides met at Hayes Lane was on a warm Sunday in April when Hastings won 4-1 which flattered them somewhat with Frannie Collin making the difference with two goals.  Karl Dent scored for Cray that afternoon.  Cray produced one of their best performances of the season to win 2-1 at Hastings back in January with Danny Haynes scoring both goals.

This has the makings of a really great game and could well be worth a trip down if you are not all that enamoured with the Champions League.

 

 

 

 

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