Bromley 1-2 Crystal Palace - I will give it the best shot I can to be the best manager I can for this club, says Bromley boss Neil Smith

Tuesday 02nd August 2016
Bromley 1 – 2 Crystal Palace
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 02/08/2016 19:00

Pre-Season Friendly
Tuesday 2nd August 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says he will give it the best shot to be the best manager he can be for his home-town club.

The Ravens had to turn away ticketless fans as an all-ticket sold-out crowd of 3,646 saw them lose 2-1 to their Premier League neighbours Crystal Palace in their final warm-up game.

Last July, Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew sent a much stronger side to Hayes Lane which outclassed Bromley 6-0, but he decided to leave out many of his first team stars tonight – another example of Premier League clubs not valuing their supporters loyalty.

Crystal Palace, who finished in fifteenth-place in the Premier League and lost 2-1 (after extra time) to Manchester United in The FA Cup Final in May, scored twice inside the opening 31 minutes through man-of-the-match Sulaiman Kaikai, 20.

The second half was an uninspiring stalemate as Smith made nine substitutions, keeping central defender Jack Holland, 24, and left-back Joe Anderson on for the entire 90 minutes.

Bromley pulled a goal back in the final five minutes through Academy striker Dan Ajakaiye, who made a 15 minute cameo appearance at the end.

“I was really pleased, fantastic performance,” said Bromley boss Smith, 44.

“I can’t thank Crystal Palace enough, Alan (Pardew) bringing his team down. It was a fantastic occasion for the club and the boys did really well but the pleasing aspect is I’ve got no injuries looking forward to Tranmere on Saturday.”

Holland, meanwhile, spoke of his pride of being captain against his former club.

He said: “It’s very special. It’s very special to be captain anyway. Bromley is a local club for me, close to my heart, especially against Palace was a pleasure really, it was an honour to be captain.

“It means a lot.  I’m a local lad myself, I live in West Wickham, I live literally six minutes away from here. It’s my childhood team growing up and to come through (the ranks) and to captain the side a few times now, it’s an honour to play in front of the fans.

“I think everyone in the changing room will fight for this shirt but for me personally it’s another level. Where I am local and I do want to do the best for the club, growing up with it, so I will always give it my best.”

Holland is always keen to talk to both young and old fans after games and is a fans favourite and role model at the club.

Smith said: “Yes, I made him captain tonight. He’s been absolutely fantastic as have all the boys pre-season and being against his old club it was a nice gesture but he’s been absolutely fantastic these six weeks during pre-season so he’s deserved it.”

Crystal Palace were to be denied by a finger-tip save from Bromley goalkeeper Alan Julian inside the opening eight minutes.

Kaikai played a short corner to Lee Chung-Yong and Kaikai chipped in a deep cross from the left towards the far post and former Liverpool defender Martin Kelly’s header from 10-yards was tipped over by Julian.

“We’re playing against Premier League players’ and Jules was always going to be needed today,” said Smith.

“The defence kept them to a minimum. We had our chances. You’re playing against quality players.”

Crystal Palace maintained possession and Luke Dreher and Hiram Boateng linked up well in midfield for Chung-Yong to flash his right-footed drive past the left-hand post from 25-yards.

Bromley started to click into gear and showed promising one-touch passing moves in the final third. 

Holland played the ball up into Tobi Sho-Silva, who linked up well with Max Porter and Sho-Silva cut the ball back to right-back Joe Howe, whose driven shot inside the box was blocked by Michael Phillips at the near post.

Former Eagle, David Martin, swung in the resulting corner from the right for unmarked striker Adam Cunnington to head down and harmlessly wide from 10-yards.

Crystal Palace opened the scoring with 19 minutes and 34 seconds on the clock.

Midfielder Dreher fed Chung-Yong down the left and he chipped the ball in towards the far post.  The ball was knocked down by Jonathan Williams – who was in the Wales squad that reached the Euro 2016 Semi-Finals in France – and the impressive Kaikai swept his shot past the diving keeper into the left-hand corner.

“It was a disappointing goal in that respect because I think we were a ball watching a bit,” admitted Smith.

“We all got dragged over and then he pulled it back. Jonny Williams set it up and the player then finished it off so I was a bit disappointed.

“It also came from when we had possession that we gave away and we were a little bit spare in midfield. We’ve got things to work on but it wasn’t too bad.”

Bromley should have been level just 80 seconds later.

Crystal Palace’s goalkeeper Kleton Perntreou hit a woeful clearance straight at Turgott, who took a touch before lashing a powerful drive high and wide from 20-yards.

This gift sparked Bromley’s best spell of the game as they created chances.

Palace dealt with Turgott’s corner from the left and Anderson clipped the ball back into the penalty area and Sho-Silva’s acrobatic overhead kick flew over the crossbar from six-yards.

Bromley produced some neat passing which resulted in Max Porter play the ball to Reece Prestedge, and Sho-Silva’s left-footed drive from 22-yards being caught comfortably by Perntreou.

Smith revealed after the game that he is sitting down with Bromley-born Blair Turgott, 22 – who made 31 appearances for League Two side Leyton Orient last season - and former Charlton Athletic and Welling United striker Tobi Sho-Silva, 21, after the pair have impressed during their trial with the club.

“They work well together Blair and Tobi and obviously Adam Cunnington being the battering ram up there, so they’ve created enough chances and crossing and it was just that final ball that we could’ve been a bit better on and maybe just finish it off but it was good.

“I’ve got a big day tomorrow to hopefully sit round and see what we can russell up. They’ve been fantastic, they’ve come in, ex pro players and just shown how professionals conduct themselves. They’ve both been an absolute pleasure to work with and fingers crossed we can sit in the next coming days before the start of the season and agree something.

“Those two, we’re in discussions with and as I say if we can sort something out then we can try our best.”

Crystal Palace cut open Bromley when Chung-Yong released Kaikai down the left in behind Anderson but his low centre was completely missed by former Margate striker Freddie Ladapo, who was unmarked inside the box.

But Crystal Palace doubled their lead with a piece of magical skill from Kaikai in the 31st minute.

Holland fouled Jonathan Williams and Kaikai whipped his right-footed 28-yard free-kick over the Bromley wall.  Julian dived to his right and got fingertips to the ball, which clipped the inside of the post and nestled into the back of the net, while Julian pointed the finger of blame to his team-mates lined up in the wall.

Smith said: “He got a fingertip to it, he sprung right across the goal but I thought Kaikai was absolute unplayable today. I thought he was absolutely fantastic. He will be in and around the first team.”

Holland, who got his right foot in the way of Kaikai’s right-footed drive from 25-yards, then started another promising Bromley move moments later.

He clipped a deflected pass up to Sho-Silva, who cut inside and played the ball inside for Prestedge, who hit a left-footed drive from 30-yards, forcing Perntreou to dive low to his right to make the save.

“Reece has done brilliant. He was just mopping things up and managed to get himself forward and get the shot off and he hit the target and when you hit the target you’ve always got a chance,” added Smith.

Chung-Yong’s corner from the right was hooked wide first time by Eagles’ left-back Luke Croll, who nipped in front of his marker at the near post.

When asked his thoughts at the break, Smith was a happy man.

He said: “Just keep doing what they were doing. Honestly, it was all fantastic. We’ve just have to be a little bit more clinical in both ends but I was really pleased with them so it was more of the same.”

Jonathan Williams was withdrawn at the interval and his replacement up top Keshi Anderson steered his shot past the near post from the left-hand side of the penalty area after only 31 seconds.

Crystal Palace should have increased their lead in the 53rd minute when a sublime low through ball from Dreher put Ladapo through on goal but he dragged his shot across Julian and past the far post when he really should have tested the Bromley keeper.

Smith added: “Put though, I think he should’ve hit the target but to be fair I think Alan Julian had it covered anyway.  It was a close call and I think that was the only time they did that in the second half.”

With Smith making nine changes between 51-83 minutes the second half was an uninspiring affair with little goalmouth action to entertain the fans.

But Dan Johnson, who slotted in beside Holland after 56 minutes, making way for Ben Chorley, seems to be a great signing, having jumped three levels from Ryman League Division One South side Herne Bay.

An offside flag raised by assistant referee Valentine Anekwe (who was fourth official during the first half) thwarted Sam Woods, who came up from the back to plant his header over the bar following a left-wing free-kick from fellow sub Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong.

It just wasn’t going to be Ladapo’s night. He met Croll’s floated cross from the left by-line with a free header at the near post and failed to get his header on target.

Bromley’s first second half shot arrived in the 74th minute, substitute Bradley Goldberg drilling a speculative shot over from the right hand side of the penalty area.

But Bromley, who had switched from 4-42 to 4-4-3, lifted a gloomy second half by pulling a goal back in the 85th minute.

Full marks must go to sub George Porter, who made progress down the right, had an initial shot blocked, before keeping composed to centre low towards the near post for Ajakaiye to poke his shot into the bottom right-hand corner from six-yards.

“Young Daniel scored, we’ve got a goal out of him. He’s come through the Academy so it was a great night for Bromley Football Club in general and personally for him,” hailed Smith.

Explaining the reasons behind playing 20 players tonight, Smith said: “It was just looking at other formations. We brought on George (Porter) and Brad (Goldberg) because we might not have a big man (Cunnington) and I thought their energy was fantastic.  It was just basically giving everyone game time without tiring anybody too much before Saturday and getting injuries.”

Smith was delighted with the turn-out for tonight’s local derby and hopes to see them all again when Bromley plot a giant-killing when Tranmere Rovers visit Hayes Lane on the opening day of the new Vanarama National League season on Saturday.

Bromley finished in 14th place on their debut season and shocked Wrexham 3-1 here at Hayes Lane on the opening day of last season and expectations are that Bromley have the players to stay in the top half of the table this season.

“It’s absolutely brilliant. Last year we lost 6-0 and it was a little bit humbling. Tonight, hopefully the supporters go away and might want to come back again on Saturday,” said Smith.

“Hopefully we’ve put on something and they’ve seen enough and say it’s worth coming to watch Bromley because we will play a certain way.  There are times it’s going to be a little bit kick and rush but everyone’s got their monies worth today.

“It’s a fantastic club and to get that is an achievement to Jerry (Dolke, the chairman) and the board. They deserve that more than anybody else.”

Smith is feeling excited ahead of his first full season in charge, having arrived as assistant manager in 2011 and taking over from Mark Goldberg (who won the club’s first title for 54 years after winning the Conference South title on 18 April 2015), in February 2016, initially as interim manager before taking permanent charge.

He said: “I’m very proud, very honoured. I said all this last season but I went to school literally 500 meters up the road at The Ravensbourne School. I’ve lived in Bromley all my life. I’ve come here to watch friends of mine that played here long before I was ever associated with the club and obviously to be the manager it's an absolute honour and I will give it the best shot to be the best manager I can for this club.

Bromley: Alan Julian (Max Huxter 83), Joe Howe (Harry Osborne 71), Joe Anderson, Ben Chorley (Dan Johnson 56), Jack Holland, Reece Prestedge (Aldo Arce 64), Blair Turgott (George Porter 61), Max Porter (Connor Dymond 51), Tobi Sho-Silva (Bradley Goldberg 59), Adam Cunnington (Dan Ajakaiye 75), David Martin (Ryan Makashini 68).

Goal: Dan Ajakaiye 85

Crystal Palace: Kleton Perntreou, Ben Wynter, Luke Croll, Hiram Boateng (Noor Hussin 46), Michael Phillips (Sam Woods 66), Martin Kelly, Sulaiman Kaikai (Randell Williams 61), Luke Dreher, Jonathan Williams (Keshi Anderson 46), Freddie Ladapo, Lee Chung-Yong (Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong 66).
Sub: Colm McAddam

Goals: Sulaiman Kaikai 20, 31

Attendance: 3,646
Referee:  Mr Gavin Ward (Oxted, Surrey)
Assistants: Mr Stuart Butler (Maidstone) & Mr Garry Maskell (Greenwich, London SE10)
Fourth Official: Mr Valentine Anekwe (Bromley)