Wednesday 12th October 2005

Cumberbatch wants to bring Bromley back down to earth


Bromley's FA Cup third qualifying round replay win at Mangotsfield United on Tuesday night, could work in Ashford Town's favour, according to joint-manager John Cumberbatch, writes Stephen McCartney.

Ironically, two former Ashford players, played their part in Bromley scoring the only goal of the game with six minutes left at Cossham Street, that earnt George Wakeling's side a home clash against Nationwide Conference basement boys Aldershot Town in the fourth and final qualifying round on 22 October.

Barry Gardener sent over a corner and Adrian Stone flicked the ball over the goalkeeper in off the far post to send the travelling Bromley faithful wild.

But Ashford's joint-manager, Cumberbatch hopes his side will be able to catch Bromley off guard in Saturday's FA Trophy First Qualifying Round Kent derby at Homelands on Saturday.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Cumberbatch said: "To some extent I was glad they had the replay because they've had to travel to Mangotsfield on Tuesday night.

"I'm hoping the fact that they've won can go in our favour.  We are hoping they are still euphoric having beaten Mangotsfield because that is a good victory for them especially away from home."

This will be the second time both clubs have faced each other this season, and Cumberbatch admitted this FA Trophy tie will be far different from the goal-less draw both sides played out at Homelands in a pre-season friendly.

"I'm hoping they would have looked at our league position and will assume with the friendly at the beginning of the season that we won't be that strong," he said.

"And depending on the frame of mind of our players we could give them a bit of a shock.

"There's no doubt they are a strong side, but when we played them in the pre-season friendly they were very mediocre.

"But as I've warned the players, the team we played in that pre-season friendly, and the team we're playing Saturday, despite having more or less the same personnel, their mentality will be totally different.  

Cumberbatch, however, is wary what damage former Homelands player, Barry Gardner can do to his side.

"They have Barry Gardner in their side, who from what I've been reading has featured very strongly amongst their victories this season and coming back to his old stomping ground, Barry will be looking to make a big impression."

Having collected nine points from their last five Ryman League Division One games, Cumberbatch feels his side are capable of beating their higher league visitors.

"We have to have our tactics right," he said. "I have spent time checking on some of their key players and have made Tim (Thorogood) and the side aware of the jobs we've got to do to make sure those players are ineffective.

"The outcome will depend on how well the players manage to carry out our instructions.

"I see Bromley as possibly the strongest side we've played all season, including our pre-season friendlies, and we really come up against them at a time when I expect them to be on an absolute high.

"I do think though it will be a good test for us to measure how far we've progressed in the last few weeks.

"So to an extent what I'm saying is we can take our minds off the league for a moment, yet, still have to focus on a cup match, which is an important match."

The winner of Saturday's tie will bank £1,300, and will travel to Southern League Division One East clubs Boreham Wood (current leaders) or Ilford in the next round on 12 November.

"From the players point of view, the financial side of it is no more important than the need to get a result against a side that are doing very well in the division above," said Cumberbatch.

"I don't think we are going to be satisfied or happy until we go on a run where we perhaps have more wins than draws."

The Orpington resident, however, is always on the look out for new players.

"All the time we are looking to add other players to improve the squad," he said.

"What we are delighted with is the fact we have had key players missing through injury, suspension and business commitments, yet we've always have replacements available.

"I don't think people are aware of the planning that's gone into that and how difficult it was at the beginning of the season when we basically lost about half a dozen key experienced players who had agreed to join us."

And Cumberbatch wasn't sure where his future was during the traumatic events at Homelands during the summer.

"I found it difficult because there was a lot of uncertainty and nobody could give me answers to enable me to make a decision on what to do," he revealed.

"Also I had players who were willing to stay and battle on but who, at the same time, we're getting anxious because they had offers from other clubs and needed to know what was happening to give those clubs answers."

Right-back Tom Adlington (groin), will need to pass a fitness test before the game but centre half Gary Croxton (slight ankle knock) could miss out.

Ashford Town v Bromley
FA Trophy - First Qualifying Round
Saturday 15th October 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Homelands, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth

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