Tomlin looking to make history
Tomlin looking to make history

When Gavin Tomlin joined Cray Valley (PM) at the start of the year from Dulwich Hamlet, there were a few eyebrows raised.

But since, the striker, who had spells in the Football League with Gillingham and Southend United has excelled for Kevin Watson’s side and wrote his name in Valley club history as his goal in the Second Leg of the Vase Semi Final booked the club Sunday’s Wembley date.

In our continuing series previewing Sunday’s showdown with Chertsey Town, KSN Football Editor Mike Green caught up with Gavin and started by asking him how things have gone since the club won the SCFEL title at the end of April.

We’ve had a good preparation so far now with the Final less than a week away,” Tomlin admitted. “I was happy to get the goal in the Semi Final – not one of my best but its up there you know, but the important thing of course was that it got us to where we wanted the be – the Vase Final!

Canterbury gave us two very tough games in the Semi Final, which we fully expected incidentally, and I think I only had two shots in the two games, but one thankfully proved to be the one that took us to Wembley.

Talking about how he came to be playing at Badgers, Tomlin told us, “It was towards the end of January, early February and you have to remember before I joined the boys had done pretty well before I signed. Theyd already had a good Cup run beating Merstham on the way and remember they lost a play off final against Tonbridge just last week, it shows that they boys had a good side before I signed.”

“Kevin is a good manager to play for – he’s pretty relaxed until he needs to be anything else. He allows players to express themselves which is very good for players like me. When you’re younger you dream of being professional and in my early years I was lucky enough to play at pro level and that’s helped me when I wanted to start playing Non League as if I hadn’t played professional, I may not have played in the non league and “just” played Sunday mornings and with my mates. I wasn’t playing much at Dulwich which helped my decision when Kevin came a calling.”

In his seventeen year playing career, the 35 year old has enjoyed playing under the Wembley Arch as he recalled, “I’ve played at Wembley before in a Final while I was playing for Southend (the Football League Trophy Final in 2012 when Southend were beaten 2-0 by Crewe Alexandra).”

“The big difference this time is that we reached the Cup Final that was kind of it as we didn’t have much to play for in the League which of course is a little bit different to this time whereby we’ve had to keep playing at top level to get past Corinthian and eventually win the League as we did on the final day of the season.”

“This game is going to be different though entirely I expect – I know that some of the boys and the manager have been to the ground this week for a look around which they’ll have enjoyed.

My advice to them all for Sunday is that you’ll cherish the moments and the day out at Wembley sure – but ultimately the goal is winning the Trophy, but isn’t that football?”

“I just hope everyone has a great day out and I know that we’re all going to perform to our very best on the pitch and leave nothing out there and hopefully create our own little piece of history!”