Bromley 0-2 Charlton Athletic - Hopefully we can go all the way in this because we want to retain it, says Charlton Athletic coach Simon Clark

Tuesday 26th January 2016
Bromley 0 – 2 Charlton Athletic
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 26/01/2016 19:45

Kent Reliance Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Tuesday 26th January 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

CHARLTON ATHLETIC manager Simon Clark says he wants the club to retain the Kent Reliance Senior Cup after comfortably booking their place in the Semi-Finals.

Charlton Athletic defeated Gillingham 1-0 at Priestfield Stadium to claim the silverware for the third time in their history last April and will travel to Vanarama National League South leaders Ebbsfleet United in the Semi-Finals after winning at Hayes Lane tonight.

Two goals in the opening 20 minutes from attackers Joseph Aribo and Josh Umerah did the trick to beat Bromley, which stretched Charlton Athletic’s under 21’s impressive unbeaten run to sixteen games.

“I thought it was really competitive,” said Clark, the club’s interim senior professional development lead coach for the under 21’s.

“We know how they play, we did our homework so we know how they set-up and we changed our shape a little bit to counteract their strengths and our game plan worked.

“We played with the two pivots and we played with the three strikers to keep them at bay. We asked to play a high line and we’ve done ok.”

Bromley boss Mark Goldberg admitted: “It’s very disappointing.  I thought first half we were too easily cut open and I felt that we were weak through our spine and the goals just seemed to be too easily created.

“But look we got ourselves back in the game in the second half but we didn’t take our chances and in the end we’ll learn from it and move on to our game against Cheltenham on Saturday.”

Goldberg explained why he made six changes to his side.

“We could’ve and should’ve done better. We were playing players that needed game time. We didn’t play with our consistent squad.  We gave players the game time that they needed so in that respect it was an important game for us.”

Bromley attracted their largest crowd of the season of 2,218 for the visit of giants Tranmere Rovers on Saturday and The Ravens still need four more league games from their last 19 games to retain their Vanarama National League status.

But tonight’s Kent Senior Cup tie attracted their lowest crowd of the campaign with only 241 bothering to turn up on a wet night.

Bromley chairman Jerry Dolke claimed it was “back to Ryman South nights,” when confirming the attendance.

Bromley were kicking down the slope during the first half and started well against Charlton Athletic’s young talent.

Recalled central midfielder Reece Prestedge stung the fingers of visiting keeper Nick Pope with a right-footed drive from 30-yards inside the opening four minutes.

Left-back Aaron Tumwa, who was making a rare start, floated in a deep cross into the Charlton Athletic box, but target-man Alex Wall directed his diving header across goal and just past the far post from 16-yards.

Bradley Goldberg then fed Prestedge, who took a touch and his left-footed drive from 20-yards landed into Pope’s midriff.

Inevitably, Charlton Athletic scored with their first shot on target, the goal timed at 11:42.

They produced a slick move involving Mikhail Kennedy, Joe Pigott and Regan Charles-Cook, before the ball went over to the left hand side.

Left-back Archie Edwards cut inside and played the ball into Umerah and Aribo played a one-two with Brandon Hanlan before drilling his left-footed angled drive across Alan Julian, the ball nestling into the bottom far corner.

“A great little combination. We spoke about them being physical and if you get it bounce it and go the other way.  The kid’s done really, really well with that,” said Clark.

“We’ve got loads of belief, we’re not losing games at the minute and it gives you that extra momentum and those ideas how to play against big, strong physical players, which I thought we did well.”

Goldberg added: “We looked quite lively but again they cut us open for the goal, didn’t they?

“Again we played well for a period and they cut is open but they were clinical and we weren’t.

“It just looked too easy for me but I say those players have come in where they needed game time.  I didn’t play the combinations that I would normally play and the most important thing was they got game time.”

The goal deflated Bromley and Charlton Athletic had the game won with 19 minutes and 27 seconds on the clock.

Kennedy – who spent time out on loan with VCD Athletic in the Ryman Premier League last season – fed winger Hanlan down the right hand side and he cut the ball across goal towards the far post where the unmarked Umerah tapped the ball into the bottom far corner from six-yards.

“Those two play together through the 18s and they have a good relationship,” said Clark.

“I’m not saying they look for each other but they found each other.

“Umerah has been in with the pros and it’s not easy when you come down – but his work-rate and his energy and what he does on and off the ball was reasonable and the kid scores goals.”

Goldberg added: “I think he ran through the middle too easily, our front two players were caught square and then he ran through our two midfielders then he passed it out wide.

“It was a good move from them but it was too easy!”

The next chance fell to Bromley inside the final five minutes of the first half.

Paul Rodgers made progress down the right before he managed to whip in a cross from the touchline towards the near post where Adam Coombes hooked his first time right-footed shot around the far post.

“It was a decent volley wasn’t it? At least he connected well. It was a half chance but he took it well,” said Goldberg.

Coombes, 24, arrived at Hayes Lane last week after playing for Chelsea and Notts County, but Goldberg revealed the winger has been out of the game through injury.

He said: “I didn’t think he did very well in the first half. I thought he was better today in the second half but I think he did quite well when he came on, on Saturday.

“Remember he’s not game sharp. We’ve got to start getting him involved. He’s got potential.

“He’s had a year out through injury. He had a cartilage operation and it got infected so the injury wasn’t a massive problem, it just got infected.”

Bromley won seven corners on the night and Coombes’ third flag-kick was cleared out to Ali Fuseini, who cracked his right-footed half-volley just past the left-hand post from 25-yards.

Both managers were asked their thoughts at half-time.

Goldberg said: “We were very disappointed with the way that they cut us open easily.

“They got a little bit of a talking to at half-time but most importantly we changed our shape in the second half and brought Lee Minshull on and we looked a lot more resilient through the middle and we dominated the middle of the park a lot better in the second half and we created some chances, didn’t we.”

Clark added: “We just wanted to move the ball. We spoke to them at half-time, move the ball and run your legs off because we knew that we didn’t think they’d be quite as fit as us – we did that.

“Sometimes we played the wrong passes and turned it over but I thought we moved the ball well and I thought we was in reasonable control.”

Charlton Athletic went close to increasing their lead further with a chance inside 191 seconds into the second half.

Aribo floated in a corner from the left and Ayo Obileye came up from the back and only just missed his header.  The ball was then played back in by Terell Thomas and Kennedy’s right-footed dipping drive sailed agonisingly over the crossbar from 25-yards.

Fuseini’s angled drive from 25-yards brought a comfortable save from the Charlton Athletic keeper at his near post.

Bromley should have pulled a goal back in the 56th minute when Prestedge clipped the ball over the top of the Charlton Athletic defence but Bradley Goldberg was slow to react and Pope grabbed hold of the ball.

Former Charlton Athletic striker Goldberg saw his driven shot deflect behind for a corner, which played a part in Bromley creating their best chance of the season half after 59 minutes.

Coombes swung in the ball from the left towards the near post and Sean Francis’ flicked shot from six-yards forced Pope into making a smart save at his near post, pushing the ball away low to his right.

“It was a decent ball in.  We’re not taking advantage of all our corners at the moment. We need to do a bit better but that was a chance,” admitted Goldberg.

Clark added: “They came into the game in a period early in the second half. I thought our lines, especially our defensive lines were really good.  We kept them out.

“Set-plays are always difficult and I thought we competed well with those because they’ve got some good units.  My goalkeeper’s made one save so we’ve been in reasonable control of the game.”

Charlton Athletic linked up well down the left with substitute Daniel Bowry and Aribo and the ball came out to Hanlan, who drilled his right-footed shot just past the right-hand post.

Rob Swaine played a ball over the top of the Charlton Athletic defence where a mistake by Thomas let in Wall, but he lacked composure and lashed his shot over the bar from 20-yards.

Coombes’ final corner of the game arrived with 13 minutes left and swung out to Wall lurking on the edge of the penalty area and his low first time drive flashed towards goal, the ball being cleared off the line by Kennedy.

Francis was up for a set-piece and he threaded the ball into Wall’s feet on the corner of the penalty area but the striker clipped the ball into Pope’s hands at the near post.

Charlton Athletic were denied at the death, through a great save by Julian, diving high to his left to palm behind Charles-Cook’s right-footed drive from 35-yards.

Goldberg added: “They didn’t have too much in terms of troubling us in the second half really but they had one or two openings.”

But Bromley are certainly missing his older brother Anthony Cook since his return to Ebbsfleet United as Bromley’s early season attacking flair, entertaining games and goals at both ends are clearly being missed by the Hayes Lane faithful, who would like to see a return of attack minded open football.

“I suppose I’m quite pleased to say is that we adapt as quickly as we can when we see problems,” said Goldberg, when speaking about his side’s way of playing.

“We have been protecting our back four better in recent weeks, although we’re not getting results but we stopped the flow of goals going in and in terms of conceding at a high level every game.

“They’re tight affairs now. We have to be more, we’ve got to find the balance at the moment. We’re wondering where our goals are going to come from. Before we were free flowing and scoring goals but we were conceding too many, now we’ve stopped conceding as many but we’re in a position where we’re not looking like we’re going to score, although we did have chances tonight.

“Goals change games. If we get back into the game with a goal and it’s the same on Saturday against Tranmere. We had our chances, even though they dominated a lot of the game. We’ve just got to learn how to feel confident that we can score again and find the balance.”

Bromley travel to league leaders Cheltenham Town on Saturday and fourth-placed Eastleigh three days later.

“Now we’ve got Cheltenham on Saturday and in a way I’m really pleased that we played tonight – as long as you learn from your losses,” said Goldberg.

“I don’t like to be out of the Kent Cup tonight but we wanted to win tonight. We will learn from tonight and we will be better prepared for Saturday because of it.

“We got game time for certain individuals who need to get sharper.  It’s shown me about certain players and attitudes and whether certain players are going to feature or not in the future so it’s an exercise worth having other than the fact I hate losing.”

Bromley really need to fulfil their potential and start rising up the National League table and stop settling for a mid-table position.

Goldberg said: “We’ve got to concentrate now on getting into safety in the National League and achieving what we set out to achieve which was to consulate and learn and that’s what we’ve got to do.

“We know Cheltenham are the strongest team in the league but we’ll be up for the challenge and we’ll pick ourselves up from tonight and we’ll give them a game.”

When asked about the trip to FA Cup heroes Eastleigh, Goldberg replied: “You couldn’t have chosen two harder teams but if you’re going to be in this league, you’re going to need to face them.

“First of all, I need to get those wins that we need and then let’s try to finish as high as we can.

“I think it’s fair to say we all got a little bit carried away when we had an excellent run in September and we started looking at the league table and can we finish in even the play-off spots?

“The reality of it, I said at the beginning of the season we’ve got so much to learn this year. If we can consolidate ourselves and show that we can be an established National League side this year, it will be a great success and I still think we can achieve that.

“The National League is a very, very tough league and there’s no doubt it’s a massive step up from Conference South.”

Meanwhile, Charlton Athletic boss Clark is delighted with his side’s sixteen match unbeaten run and are confident going into their Semi-Final clash at Ebbsfleet United, with the winner playing Greenwich Borough, Herne Bay or Dartford in the Final.

“We’re ok. We’ve drawn our last two previous to this but it’s just nice. It’s nice to get a clean sheet,” said Clark.

“Hopefully we can go all the way in this one. We want to because we want to retain it.

“Ebbsfleet have got some good money haven’t they and they’ve got some good players. They’re doing well in their league but again we’ll have a look at them. We’ll do our homework. Hopefully we can stamp our game plans and our ideas and ability on the game and I think we did that tonight. The pitch was not easy to play on but I’m really pleased.

“We’re in the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup, we’re in the semi’s of this one and we’re ok in the league. It breeds confidence, it breeds a group tied together and we just want to keep winning football matches.”

Bromley: Alan Julian, Ugo Udoji, Aaron Tumwa, Ali Fuseini, Rob Swaine, Sean Francis, Paul Rodgers (Lee Minshull 46), Reece Prestedge (Adam Cunnington 84), Alex Wall, Bradley Goldberg, Adam Coombes.
Subs: Jack Holland, Joe Anderson, Jordan Higgs

Charlton Athletic: Nick Pope, Anfernee Dijksteel, Archie Edwards (Daniel Bowry 65), Regan Charles-Cook, Ayo Obileye, Terell Thomas, Brandon Hanlan, Joseph Aribo, Joe Pigott (Montell Moore 65), Mikhail Kennedy, Josh Umerall.
Subs; Mustapha Bangura-Williams, Jordan Beeney, Alex Kelly

Goals: Joseph Aribo 12, Josh Umerah 20

Attendance: 241
Referee: Mr Nick Dunn (Deal)
Assistants: Mr Michael Marsh (Herne Bay) & Mr Jak Hill (Folkestone)