Margate vs Cray Wanderers preview
Margate vs Cray Wanderers preview

The start of a New Year and decade as the 2020’s begins with a cracking game as Cray Wanderers head to Margate to get things going.  Kick off at Hartsdown Road is 3pm.

Both sides are looking to begin the year with an upturn in form with both teams without a win since December 7th.  Cray have lost their last three games, including two in the league but there has been much to commend the last two performances at Worthing in the League Cup and at home to Leatherhead on Boxing Day where Cray finished both games strongly. 

Cray were unlucky not to claim a point against Leatherhead but just couldn’t convert the chances that came their way with Bradley Pritchard, Joel Rollinson, Tom Murphy and Joe Taylor all coming close to scoring during the game which Leatherhead won 1-0.  

Injuries to key players have been a major factor during the season and this continued on Boxing Day with Barney Williams and Tom Carlse out as well as Mitchell Nelson absent through illness meant a bit of chopping and changing at the back. 

There were still good performances through the team particularly Charlie Allen who filled in at left back and did well and also Bradley Pritchard who was skipper for the afternoon. The sight of Tom Phipp on the bench was a welcome sight and hopefully he can return to the side soon since being injured in the Worthing league game on 2nd November. 

Joe Taylor, an ex-Margate player still has an impressive 24 goals for the first half of the season with 18 in the league.  Cray come into the game in 7th place in the league table on 34 points and still handily placed halfway through the season to remain a contender in 2020.

Margate start the year in 12th place in the league table, a position they ended last season and ended 2019 with a 0-4 defeat at Folkestone Invicta on Boxing Day with all four goals coming in the second half, although the final two goals came in stoppage time.

When the two sides met at Hayes Lane back on 21st August, it was a great evening for Cray who won their first match back in the Premier since 2014 with a 3-2 win with goals from Freddie Parker (2) and a Joe Taylor penalty. Margate replied through leading scorer so far, Noel Leighton (9 goals in league and cup) and Dan Johnson in injury time.

Margate’s home form has seen them pick up wins against Lewes (2-0) and Merstham (2-1). They drew with Brightlingsea Regent (0-0), Potters Bar Town (2-2) and Leatherhead (0-0) and were beaten by Worthing (0-2), Bognor Regis Town (1-6) and Bishop’s Stortford (3-4).  Away from home Jay Saunders’ side won at Cheshunt (2-1), East Thurrock United (2-1), Corinthian Casuals (2-1), Bowers & Pitsea (1-0) and Horsham (3-0). They drew at Hornchurch and Kingstonian and were beaten at Cray Wanderers, Carshalton, Haringey Borough and Worthing.

Margate had a decent run in the FA Cup reaching the 4th Qualifying Round beating Horsham YMCA, Concord Rangers and Salisbury before losing at Oxford City.  In the FA Trophy, Margate advanced past Barking after a replay but were beaten at home by Tooting & Mitcham United in the 2nd Qualifying Round.  

This should be a good competitive derby between two sides looking to begin the year with an upturn in form and remain in contention for the promotion places.

Admission costs are £11 adults, £8 concessions (men over 65, women over 60, disabled), £5 11-17 y/o’s and Children free when accompanied by an adult.