Monday 01st September 2003
Jenkins: My players are loyal to me
Cray Wanderers manager Ian Jenkins was a delighted man following their FA Cup Preliminary Round tie against Sussex County League Division One side Pagham, writes Stephen McCartney.
Having started their FA Cup adventure the previous weekend in the Extra Preliminary Round, beating another Sussex County League side, Saltdean United by four goals to nil, they came face to face with top flight Sussex side Pagham at Hayes Lane on Sunday.
Pagham were blown away by the Wands by five goals to nil.  Right midfielder Paul Dimmock had an outstanding game, and former Maidstone United player, Jamie Kempster struck gold, scoring a hat-trick, and strikes from Ricky Bennett and Jamie Wood gave the Wands a 5-0 victory.
But had Jenkins' side taken their many chances, they would have won by at least 10-0, as they dominated proceeding's throughout and played good attacking, passing football on the perfect playing surface at Hayes Lane.
Full of confidence, after notching an astonishing 23 goals in their opening five league and cup games this season, Cray return to Go Travel Kent League action next Saturday (6th September) when they make the short trip to Greenwich Borough.
Borough, managed by former Cray man, Dave Ward are sitting in second place, and if third placed Cray Wanderers can carry on with their impressive early season form, then a good game is in prospect at Harrow Meadow in Eltham.
Their 23 goals have included a 10-0 demolition job on new boys Sporting Bengal United at Hayes Lane on the second Saturday of the season.
Speaking after his side's 5-0 FA Cup win over Pagham, a delighted Cray manager, Ian Jenkins said: "I thought Pagham weren't a bad side in the first ten minutes.  I thought we played well today, and we could have scored a few more goals."
Cray face Sandhurst Town in the first qualifying round at Hayes Lane on Saturday 13 September.  Sandhurst defeated Beckenham Town 5-2 at Eden Park Avenue on Saturday and Jenkins admitted he will have a look at his next FA Cup opponents before they clash at Hayes Lane.
Jenkins said: "Our next opponents Sandhurst Town did well to beat Beckenham Town 5-2 on Saturday.  Beckenham have been on a high after winning their last two league games, so Sandhurst Town have got to be a good side to win 5-2.  I will probably go and have a look at them before we play them."
So has Jenkins side issued a statement to their rivals that they are deadly serious about retaining their Kent League crown?
Jenkins said:  "After winning the league last year other Kent League teams will be worried about us.  This season we have put ten goals past Sporting Bengal the other week.  I thought every team would rack up that many goals against them, but obviously Sporting Bengal have improved recently and don't seem to be a bad side now."
Jamie Kempster made the switch to Cray from title rivals Maidstone United in the close season and right midfielder Paul Dimmock both played key roles in their 5-0 win.
Jenkins, who lost Drew Watkins to Folkestone Invicta and Mark Willy to Bromley in the close season, admitted his players at the club will stay loyal and stick with him.
He said: "There is always a possibility of losing players to other clubs, but my players are with me this season.  They have all signed up to stay with me and are loyal players to me.  If a club came in for them I wouldn't hold them and let them stand back.  Players like Ian Rawlings and David Gray are going to stick with me."
Jenkins was full of praise for hat-trick hero Jamie Kempster, who walked away with a bottle of champagne for his efforts.  Jenkins added: "Jamie Kempster stood out for me today.  I know he scored a hat-trick but he was fantastic!  He was everywhere, had a go and pushed us on and on.  He was rewarded with three brilliant goals.  He has been fantastic for us all season, but today was the best he has played so far this season."
Coming up for Cray
Saturday 6 September   3.00    Greenwich Borough  vs  Cray Wanderers (Go Travel Kent League)
Tuesday 9 September    7.45    Brimsdown Rovers  vs  Cray Wanderers (London Senior Cup)
Saturday 13 September 3.00    Cray Wanderers  vs  Sandhurst Town  (FA Cup - 1st Qual. Round)
Kessell departure forces Simmons out of brief retirement
After winning the Kent League and Kent League double last season, Cray Wanderers goalkeeper Micky Simmons was looking forward to taking off his gloves and retire from the game, writes Stephen McCartney.
Simmons, 39,  a taxi-driver, was replaced by Tony Kessell but after only two games for Cray Wanderers this season, a 1-1 draw at Hythe Town on the opening day of the season, and a 3-0 win at Sevenoaks Town, he decided he wanted to play at a higher standard of football and joined Dr Martens League side Folkestone Invicta.
Simmons, speaking after Sunday's 5-0 FA Cup win over Pagham said:  "I did retire at the end of last season, and I tired to sort out another goalkeeper for the new season.  We thought we had signed another goalkeeper from a Kent League side, but he changed his mind at the last moment.  We signed Tony Kessell but he wanted to play at a higher standard of football so he is trying his luck at Folkestone Invicta at the moment.  Manager Ian Jenkins has asked me to step in for now.  I am more than happy just to help, and to see what happens."
Simmons had a relative quiet time in Sunday's 5-0 win over Pagham in the FA Cup.  It was his third game of the season and so far he hasn't picked the ball out of the net.
He said: "It was an absolute stroll in the park.  The first ten minutes Pagham had a bit of slight pressure but after ten minutes we just steamrolled them.  To their credit Pagham never gave up but we absolutely passed them off the park.  We scored five goals but we could have scored ten!"
Simmons admitted their are four other sides who are a threat to Cray retaining their Kent League crown.
He said:  "I guess we are favourites for the Kent League being champions, and rightly so, as we are the best team in the league.  I think its a five horse race, with five championship possibilities; Cray Wanderers, Maidstone United, Thamesmead Town, VCD Athletic and possibly Ramsgate - I can't see a lot after that"
Simmons praised youngster Paul Dimmock for his displays this season.  "For me I have been really impressed by Paul Dimmock - a wide right player.  I think he is a fantastic young player, and for me he fills Mark Hammond's boots." said the shot-stopper.