Sunday 29th February 2004
Stay-away fans are missing out, says Bromley boss McIntyre
Crowds are down as McIntyre aims for top-six spot
Crowds are down as McIntyre aims for top-six spot
Bromley manager Stuart McIntyre wants the Bromley public to come out of the woodwork and support the team for their final thirteen Ryman League Division One South fixtures, writes Stephen McCartney.
A poor crowd of 212 watched Saturday's 2-2 draw against local rivals Whyteleafe at Hayes Lane. When the two sides met at Hayes Lane last season, 22nd February 2003, to be exact, the game attracted 317.
Last Tuesday was worse for Bromley as Champions League football and the cold and wet conditions meant only 105 fans braved the conditions for another local derby, against Croydon Athletic, which also resulted in a 2-2 draw. 301 watched the corresponding fixture last season, on a Tuesday night, in the middle of March.
However, McIntyre, who returned to Hayes Lane eight weeks ago after resigning last October, gives a message to the club's stay-away supporters.
He said: "I think it's a little bit of restarting the season with the fans. Here we are sitting in ninth position, only one point from the top six, It look's like it's midtable, the season's over! It's Not!
"There are thirteen league games, nearly a third of a season, and there were 212 people for the Whyteleafe game.
"It's as it the fans have lost belief! If they have then they will miss out! I think we play some good football as we did at the end of last season."
With Bromley sitting in ninth place in the table, only one point away from the top six, and a place in the new restructuring, McIntyre is confident his side can finish in the top six.
He added: "I believe we can do it, definitely believe we can do it. We are only one point away. Whyteleafe is never an easy game as the matches are always close. They had nothing to lose, they've come and got at us, yet again we've helped them a little bit but in the second half we had the ball for 42 or so minutes. You can't ask for anymore.
Whyteleafe took the lead after only 130 seconds when Dominic Barclay laid the ball to his left for Chris Dickson to fire into the bottom far corner of goalkeeper Danny Harwood's net and increased their lead after 37 minutes from Dickson's free kick.
His free kick on the right touchline, some 16 yards from the corner flag, should have been headed away by Colin Luckett at the near post but the former Kingstonian star ducked and the ball bounced on the edge of the six yard box and found the top far corner of the net.
McIntyre wasn't happy with Harwood and replaced him for substitute goalkeeper Dean Mann during the half time interval.
McIntyre said: "Very simply, if your goalkeeper doesn't keep the ball out of the net, then nobody is. In my opinion Danny Harwood made a mistake for the first goal and he could have come for the cross that was the second goal.
"But he looked nervous, I wasn't comfortable with how Danny was playing. I thought Dean Mann did ever so well on his debut against Croydon Athletic. Maybe one mistake he claims he made for their first goal, but he looked commanding today. He has come on for the second half, he has good control of his defence and made a wonderful save from Dominic Barclay."
After a motivational half time team-talk by McIntyre, Bromley increased their drive and tempo for the second half and reduced the two goal deficit after 51 minutes.
Paul Vines was elbowed in the face in an off-the-ball incident with Mark Dickinson, and the assistant referee saw the incident and waved for referee Mr S Pryor's attention.
The man in black pointed to the penalty spot and brandished a straight red card and Adolph Amoako slotted the penalty past Michael Lidbury to score his 20th goal of the season.
Bromley continued to pile on the pressure and Landry Zahana-Oni had a goal disallowed for offside in the 67th minute, Danny Smith then saw his 12 yard low shot cleared off the line by Michael Riley three minutes later.
But substitute goalkeeper, Mann, signed from Go Travel Kent League side Cray Wanderers, made a acrobatic save to deny Barclay from a shot that was heading for the top left hand corner from outside the penalty area.
But Bromley were rewarded for their pressure in the 90th minute when Luckett's corner kick was flapped by goalkeeper Michael Lidbury and Bromley's player of the season, Mark Willy headed home at the far post.
Although it was a point gained by Bromley, McIntyre admits his side dropped two points.
He said: "It's two points dropped, as we should have had that tempo at the start of the game, take the game and control it. There seems to be a little but of edginess around at the moment.
"Maybe because we are so close again from the top six, and we have got to make sure we don't become the nearly men again.
"But I think there is enough quality around. The pitches should be drying up now. We should be able to get the ball down and play the way we played in the second half. If we can do that, I think we will pick up enough points to be in contention come the end of the season.
"What was pleasing was we kept at it, kept playing football and we didn't go long ball with hopeful balls. We kept playing football, scored a couple of goals and got right back into the game and maybe could have won it.
"But what I am happy with is the desire to get back into the game, but we have got to take that at the beginning of games."
Against Croydon Athletic at Hayes Lane, Bromley led 2-0 thanks to Adolph Amoako (29 minutes) and Paul Vines (52).
Croydon Athletic increased the tempo in the final twenty minutes and were rewarded when Barry Stevens pulled one back with nineteen minutes remaining.
Bromley midfielder, Gary Drewett was sent off for a second bookable offence for a foul on Leon Johnson with four minutes left but Anthony Funnell slotted home an 89th minute penalty to share the spoils.
Bromley, with only three defeats on the road, compated to six at Hayes Lane, make the short trip to Croydon Athletic on Tuesday evening before they travel to Tooting & Mitcham United next Saturday. Staines Town entertain Stuart McIntyre's men on Tuesday 9 March.
Bromley's next home game at The Clive Christian Stadium in Hayes Lane is against Corinthian-Casuals on Saturday 13 March before they host Bracknell Town (Saturday 27 March), Ashford Town Middlesex (Saturday 10 April), Windsor & Eton (Saturday 17 April) and Epsom & Ewell (Saturday 24 April).