Wednesday 27th August 2003

Willy: Former Cray players have made me very welcome at Bromley

After a season where he helped Cray Wanderers clinch the Go Travel Kent League title and the Kent League Cup, twenty-three year old defender Mark Willy has admitted he has been made very welcome by tenants Bromley following his close season switch to the Ryman League club, writes Stephen McCartney.

Molesey were crushed 4-0 by Bromley at Hayes Lane on Saturday, a victory that sees Stuart McIntyre's men race up to third in the table after three games.  McIntyre took over at Bromley in October 2001 and this is his highest ever position whilst manager.

Willy, making his third appearance in Bromley's black and white striped shirts, powered home the Ravens fourth and final goal inside injury time.

He admits two former Cray Wanderers players, Joe Vines and Mark Hammond, have made him feel very welcome following his switch from the Kent League side as Bromley bid for a season of glory.

McIntyre has been a long admirer of Hammond and the Scot tried to sign the winger before the start of last season.  Hammond scored five goals for Ian Jenkins side in 29 games last season after declining McIntyre's advances before the start of last season.

Hammond moved away from the amber and black quarters of Hayes Lane in February 2003 to join Ryman League Premier Division side Aldershot Town.  The Shots won the championship by fifteen points from second placed Canvey Island to earn a lucrative place in the Nationwide Conference.

Hammond was released by Shots manager Terry Brown in the close season and Hammond has returned to Hayes Lane, and finally McIntyre has got his man!

McIntyre signed Joe Vines from Cray last summer and his solid performances at the heart of Bromley's defence last season earnt the athletic defender all three player of the year awards at Bromley.

Willy, speaking after Saturday's 4-0 win over Molesey, said:  "I have moved across from Cray Wanderers to Bromley and obviously both clubs play at the same ground.  Having a couple former Cray players at Bromley, Joe Vines and Mark Hammond, it was an easy move.  They have made me feel very comfortable, which has enabled me to settle in well.  Bromley have a good bunch of players at the club and I am enjoying playing for them."

Willy admitted he didn't have the best of games, and had goalkeeper Danny Harwood to thank in the 50th minute.  Willy jumped for a ball with Molesey man of the match, Matthew Bradford, and committed a foul and the match referee pointed to the penalty spot.

Bromley, 2-0 up at the time,  saw Harwood pull off an excellent double penalty save from Luke Dowling.  Harwood dived to his left, from Dowling's left footed penalty kick, but the goalkeeper recovered very quickly diving to his right to block Dowling's follow up shot from close range.

Willy admitted: "Personally I didn't have the best of games.  We probably need the win to be honest.  We are now third in the league with six points out of nine."

Willy spent his teenage years with Wimbledon before injury cut short a promising professional career.  He was out of the game for six-months and spent two years at Cray Wanderers. He scored twelve goals in 40 games for the Wands last season, the side's third highest goalscorer last season, behind Ricky Bennett (21) and Richard Dimmock (14).