Carshalton Athletic vs Cray Wanderers match preview
Carshalton Athletic vs Cray Wanderers match preview

Cray Wanderers return to league action after a brief break last weekend on Saturday as the 5th placed Wands travel to 8th placed Carshalton Athletic in a match between two in form sides. 

Cray Wanderers come into the game still in the playoff places despite missing a week and are unbeaten in seven league matches and have yet to beaten away from home. 

Before the weekend off in November Tony Russell’s side began the month with a draw against Worthing and after that won three consecutive league matches beating Cheshunt 6-1 at home and then won at Wingate & Finchley, 1-0 and a very professional 2-0 win at Brightlingsea Regent on 16th November which also saw back to back clean sheets.

The win at Brightlingsea saw Joe Taylor score twice and continued his excellent form over the season to take his tally for the season to 21.  Cray are also the leading scorers in the Isthmian Premier with 36 in 17 games and the Isthmian South-East Champions have taken to life in the Premier with some style. 

Defensively the team have been very sound and Barney Williams could make his 99th appearance for the club so close to a century of appearances for the always reliable skipper. 

Since the last game Charles Etumnu has departed the club and is now at Whitstable Town and made his debut against Whyteleafe last Sunday.  Meanwhile, Freddie Parker who was on loan to the Oystermen in October-November has gone on loan to Whyteleafe for a month and came on as a substitute in the same match.   

One thing you can say is that there are lots of good teams in this division and Carshalton Athletic are certainly one of them having gone eight games unbeaten in the league up to Tuesday where they lost a close game 1-2 at Enfield Town who were the last team to beat Cray in the league. 

The Robins have had a very good season in cup competitions reaching the 1st Round of the FA Cup after away wins at Bracknell Town, Harrow Borough, Lowesfoft Town and National League opposition in Dagenham and Redbridge in the 4th Qualifying Round.  Their run was ended at home by National North Boston United. 

In the FA Trophy Carshalton are through to the 1st Round after home victories against Merstham, Frome Town and Tooting & Mitcham United last Saturday. They meet Aveley at home in the 1st Round on 14th December.

In the league, Carshalton are 8th on 26 points and began the season a touch slowly losing their first two games but bounced back to win four in a row at the end of August. 

A home defeat to Hornchurch was then followed by an eight game unbeaten run which ended at Enfield Town.  At home, Carshalton picked up wins against Bishop’s Stortford (4-2), Leatherhead (1-0), Margate (1-0) & Brightlingsea Regent (2-0) and have drawn against Lewes (1-1), Kingstonian (2-2) and Folkestone Invicta (1-1). Their only home defeats came at the hands of East Thurrock United (1-2) and Hornchurch (1-4).  Away from home Carshalton won at Corinthian Casuals (3-2), Bognor Regis Town (2-0) and Cheshunt (1-0). They drew at Horsham and Worthing and were beaten at Potters Bar Town and Enfield Town.  

Top scorer is Ricky Korboa with nine goals in league and cup but goals are generally well shared around the team.    

Peter Adeniyi’s side were the last winners of the Isthmian South in 2017-18 and took to the Premier Division like a duck to water and finished 2nd last season with 71 points before losing at home to Merstham in the Playoff Semi-Final.    

The last time the sides met in the league at Colston Avenue was virtually two years ago on 2nd December 2017 and ended in a 1-1 draw with Michael Power’s first half penalty cancelled out by Danny Dudley’s strike.  The teams met again at Hayes Lane on 17th February 2018 and Carshalton won 2-1 after Aaron Rhule gave Cray the lead.

Both teams have attacking footballing philosophies and have two of the brightest young managers in the game and on the 3G surface this should be one of the matches of the day and one not to be missed as we await the start of the always exciting month of December.

Admission costs on the day £10.00 adults & +18s, £6.00 seniors, £3.00 U18s

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