Thursday 21st October 2004

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

Tompkins returns for battle of Bromley

MARK TOMPKINS has made a sensational return to Cray Wanderers and is in the squad for Saturday's first ever Ryman League Division One clash with landlords Bromley at Hayes Lane, writes Stephen McCartney.

The prolific 37-year-old striker has returned from Whyteleafe and is one of a number of former Bromley players looking to turn over their former club.

The last time the two clubs met in league football was way back in the 1912-1913 season in a Kent League fixture but they have met in numerous cup competitions since then.

Although it’s a “home” fixture for Cray, their manager, 37-year-old Ian Jenkins, will be hoping the former Bromley players in his side will inspire the rest of the team to secure their first home league win of the season, having drawn all six league games at Hayes Lane in their debut campaign in the division.

Tompkins, defender David Gray – with seven goals to his name this season – Ian Rawlings, Matt Woolf, Jamie Kempster and John Myatt have all played for Bromley and so has assistant manager Joe Francis whilst physio John De Palma has undertaken both physio and administration duties with Bromley in the past.

However, Jenkins admitted he will be looking to win the game and keep the closeness of the fixture out of his players minds.

“I am looking forward to it,” Jenkins admitted.

“I am trying to focus on getting three points rather than the game itself.”

The amber and black contingent at Hayes Lane will be looking to win the game, which other than AFC Wimbledon’s visit, the attractive fixture will attract their highest crowd of the season.

“By playing the way we’ve been playing in the last three games, I think we will cause them problems,” said Jenkins.

However, with Bromley on such a high following their fantastic 2-1 win over Sutton United that sealed Stuart McIntyre’s men a place in the fourth and final qualifying round of the FA Cup on Wednesday night, both sides will know a lot about each other.

Jenkins, who watched Bromley’s victory over the Nationwide South strugglers, admitted he was impressed with Gary Drewett and strikers Leroy Huggins and Mark Watson.

He added: “Bromley are a solid side – we have to be at our best to beat them.”

Cray are draw specialists in the league, with seven draws from their first twelve games, but they do entertain their fans, scoring 28 goals in the process – the same amount as leaders AFC Wimbledon.

“Three of those draws could have been wins,” Jenkins admitted.

“We need three points on Saturday as our league position is good but we could have been higher in the league sitting pretty in second place.”

Cray felt they should have beaten Dorking at Hayes Lane on Tuesday, but had to settle for a 3-3 draw.  They are seventh in the table, two places and only one point above their landlords, who have two games in hand.

Former Margate and Welling United striker Phil Collins was sent off five minutes into the second half a minute before Kempster's strike gave them a 3-1 lead.

Jenkins summerised: “Well, the game would have been won had we not lost Phil Collins.

“We probably deserved to win it with ten men anyway.”

With Collins set to serve a three-match ban in two weeks time, Tompkins’ return will enable him to slot straight into the side.

“I’ve been after Mark for most of the season and now Phil Collins has been sent off. and will miss three games. he seems a good replacement,” the manager said.

Jenkins, however, is happy with his 25-man squad, which will provide enough competition for all players.

And with the return of right-back Drew Watkins from Ryman Premier Division side Folkestone Invicta, it will give Jenkins “a few more options at right-back” – a position currently occupied by former Bromley skipper Myatt.

Jenkins, revealed he has agreed a deal with Invicta boss Neil Cugley that Watkins will not play in the FA Trophy first round tie between the two clubs at Hayes Lane on 6th November. 

Watkins will sit out the game on Saturday, but is due to make his return in next Tuesday's Bryco Cup clash against Camberley Town at Hayes Lane.

Cray Wanderers v Bromley
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 23rd October 2004
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Hayes Lane, Bromley