Whitehawk vs Cray Wanderers
Whitehawk vs Cray Wanderers

Cray Wanderers end a busy October on Saturday as the FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round takes Cray to Whitehawk for only the second time and seek a first ever place in the 1st Round Proper in November. 

Kick off at the TerraPura Ground is 3pm.

Cray bounced back well from the FA Cup defeat at Canvey Island on Wednesday night with a 6-0 home win against Merstham with goals from Ben Mundele, three in three for the rampaging full back who missed the Canvey game through suspension, a second goal in successive league games for both Bradley Pritchard and Rhys Murrell-Williamson, a Jay Leader header and a brace for top scorer Joe Taylor who has 11 goals in 10 games played this season.

Also a clean sheet was something which pleased manager Tony Russell and the first since the Brightlingsea Regent game on 7th March. The win on Saturday moved Cray back into the playoff places in fourth six points off leaders Worthing but with a game in hand.

With a very busy November upcoming there could be a bit of freshening of the team for the game but could be still very strong with the likes of Charlie Allen, Lee Lewis, Martin Onoabaghbe, Kyron Richards who made his Wands debut on Wednesday as a second half substitute and Jerome Federico could all feature for the Trophy tie.

Cray will be looking to break a little goal duck in the Trophy having gone three games without a goal but will face a tough challenge against Jude MacDonald’s Whitehawk side. 

Whitehawk play in the Isthmian South-East and currently lie 16th in the table with 5 points and on Tuesday night were beaten 2-1 at Hastings United with recent acquisition from Haywards Heath Town, Lloyd Cotton scoring. Much like Cray, Whithawk had much to lament last season’s early finish to the season as they were 4th when the season ended and had a decent points buffer for a playoff place.

Whitehawk have already played one match in the FA Trophy in the 2nd Qualifying Round, a 2-1 home win vs Barton Rovers on 17th November with goals from Henry Muggeridge and Lucas Rodrigues. In the league, Whitehawk have won 2-0 at Phoenix Sports but were beaten at VCD Athletic (1-2), Herne Bay (1-3) and Hastings United (1-2).

At home, Whitehawk have drawn both league games vs Sevenoaks Town (1-1) and Faversham Town (1-1) last Saturday.  Their FA Cup ambitions came to an end in the Preliminary Round at Ashford United.

There have been just two previous matches between Cray Wanderers v Whitehawk, both in the 2012-13 season in the Isthmian Premier.  Whitehawk won both matches, 2-1 at Hayes Lane on 21/8/2012, Leigh Bremner scoring while the Hawks won 2-0 at home on 26/2/13 en route to winning the league that season.

Cray have played enough cup ties against Step 4 opposition this season to know they are all tough, competitive games and this will be no different down on the South Coast. Please note the game will be played to a finish on the day with no replay.

Images courtesy of http://www.hilligerpix.com

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