KSN are proud to support:

Bishop’s Stortford v Cray Wanderers preview
Bishop’s Stortford v Cray Wanderers preview

Cray Wanderers go into their last Isthmian League Premier Division game of the campaign away at Bishop Stortford on Saturday knowing that if they can match or better East Thurrock Utd’s result at home to Horsham then they will have avoided relegation in what has been a tough season for the 162 year old club. 

The Wands picked up a vital three points on Wednesday night with a 4-1 home win over East Thurrock in a classic relegation six pointer, taking them up to nineteenth with 36 points from 41 league matches.

Chris Dickson scoring two with Saul Kader and Sam Wood grabbing the others in what was The Wands best performance of the season. Manager Neil Smith changed the formation for the game, going with a back five, deploying Anthony Cook and Kasim Aidoo as wing backs and playing Kader (on loan from Bromley Under 23s) up front with Dickson, with a midfield marshalled by Sam Wood.

17 year old Keeper Nathan Boamah put in another great performance between the posts and the whole team stepped up and gave their all, looking far more solid across the pitch and showing that the ‘never say die’ spirit of the club is still very much alive. 

Player of the season Cameron Brodie returned from injury to take a place on the bench in midweek, but The Wands are still missing full backs Freddie Barton and Joey Taylor who has been out since the early stages of the campaign, but happily has been back taking part in the warms ups recently.

Injury also ended centre back Ejiro Okosieme’s career in September sadly and Cray have had very little in the way of good luck throughout the season losing two keepers in the last few weeks, plus also having three points deducted for fielding a suspended player in their opening league win over Lewes.

Since taking charge as the third manager of the season at the end of March, Smith has slowly improved the team and results are now following just in time to keep hope alive that they cam preserve their Premier Division status.

Should the result not go Cray’s way, attention will turn to Kings Langley’s result at Salisbury, who are the other third from bottom Step 3 team directly competing to avoid relegation via PPG.               

Bishop’s Stortford sit in second place with 84 points from 41 games, already having secured a place in the play offs, and they need one point to be certain of finishing there and guaranteeing home advantage in all the play off games.

Last Monday The Blues lost 1-0 at in form Cheshunt, but previous to that Steve Smith’s side had been on an unbeaten run going back to early January. When the teams met at Hayes Lane in December, Stortford won 1-0 thanks to a first half strike from Anthony Church and since then The Blues have only lost three times, two of them to Cheshunt.

Striker Frankie Merrified has notched 21 goals this season so far and five other players are in double figures as they look to make a return to National League South football.   With both teams needing something from the game in their battles at either end of the table this promises to be a tense, hard fought encounter and one not to take your eyes off. 

Entrance for the game at Woodside Park is £12 for adults, £8 for concessions, £6 for students and £1 for Under 16s, with Under 12s going for free.

Picture supplied by Jon Hilliger.