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Cray Wanderers v East Thurrock United preview
Cray Wanderers v East Thurrock United preview

Cray Wanderers have their biggest game of the season so far on Wednesday night when they entertain East Thurrock United in the Isthmian League Premier Division in a relegation six pointer at Hayes Lane, with Neil Smith’s side knowing only a win will really do if they are to maintain their chances of avoiding the drop going into the final fixture of the campaign.

The Wands go into the game on the back of a 3-3 draw away at Enfield Town on Good Friday, a point which moved them back up to twentieth with 33 points from 40 league games played, having had three points deducted.

Smith’s team went behind twice against the play off challenging Enfield before equalising with goals from Sam Wood and Richie Danquah and then taking the lead through Anthony Cook, only to concede a late goal and having to settle for a point, their first in five games.

The Wands injury woes continued with keeper Max Huxter joining the casualties and 17 year old Youth keeper Nathan Boamah making an impressive debut at Donkey Lane. Cameron Brodie and Freddie Barton have both missed recent games, while Millwall loanee keeper Joe Wright has been ruled out for the season with an ankle injury.

East Thurrock also drew their last game, 2-2 at home to Wingate & Finchley on Saturday, Oli Coker and Tom Barton twice equalsing for The Rocks. The point kept John Coventry’s team in nineteenth with 35 points from 40 league matches played, just above the bottom three.

The Rocks have been on an impressive run of five games without defeat, which has seen them move out of the relegation zone at the vital time of the league campaign. A win for them would guarantee safety with Merstham losing on Monday and Leatherhead drawing courtesy of a last minute own goal.       

When the sides met at Rookery Hill on New Years Day, Cray won 3-1 with goals from Brodie, Cook and Jai Reason, Ben Wyss with the goal for the Essex side, but a lot has changed since then.  

With the bottom two guaranteed to be relegated and third bottom meaning the lottery of PPG across the Step 3 divisions, this looks set to be a tense, hard fought, potentially season defining encounter with Premier Division survival at stake for both teams.  

Entrance for the game is £10 for adults, £5 for concessions, with an excellent printed programme for £2.

Picture supplied by Jon Hilliger.