Bromley 0-4 Dover Athletic - It's the lowest point of the season, admits Bromley boss Mark Goldberg

Tuesday 11th March 2014

Skrill South
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

DOVER ATHLETIC manager Chris Kinnear hailed his players’ enthusiasm after they humiliated injury-ravaged league leaders Bromley at Hayes Lane.

The Whites leapfrogged over Bath City into sixth-place in the Skrill (Conference) South table with 47 points and are closing in on a play-off place after Kinnear’s men produced an impressive performance against a Bromley side that are suffering a crippling defensive crisis.

Moses Ademola, 24, came back into the Dover Athletic team to open the scoring before setting up a close-range header from Richard Orlu, who was a late replacement for central defender Sean Raggett, who picked up a knee injury during the warm-up.

Dover Athletic killed the game off through Barry Cogan’s emphatic second half penalty, before Tom Murphy drilled home a fourth in the last minute.

Kinnear was pleased that his side bounced back from Saturday’s disappointing 1-1 home draw against Basingstoke Town at the weekend to maintain their push towards the play-offs.

He said: “Yes, we did very well. Pleased with it.  As I say proud of themselves.

“We lost (Sean) Raggett just before the game. He’s got knee something, we don’t know yet, but (Richard) Orlu came in and was immense I thought so we’ve got a decent squad haven’t we?

“I’m really pleased but we knew that all along that we’re going to have ups and downs. It’s just when we have a down we can’t get dragged down so readily really, but we won’t get carried away today. It’s just one game. We have to go and try and win Saturday.”

Bromley, meanwhile, have thrown away an eleven point lead at the top of the table after suffering three defeats on the bounce.

The Ravens, who have chocked on 63 points, have now effectively handed the league title to Eastleigh after throwing away a huge lead.  Eastleigh are now only two points behind, with two games in hand.

Bromley were punished for not having strength-in-depth, as four defensive players were ruled out through injury.

Dean Pooley (concussion), Jack Holland (sprained back), Rob Swaine (ankle) and Taylor Parmenter (cracked ribs) remain on the sidelines and Bromley have failed to cope.

Bromley manager Mark Goldberg stayed in his dressing room for around 75 minutes after the final whistle before emerging and admitting those injuries are proving costly.

He said: “We showed that we had a depleted spine.  We thought that we would make up for it though winning the second ball in the middle of the park.

“We changed formation and went 4-3-3 but the truth is that we got taken advantage off down the flanks by Moses Ademola, who got into some great positions, put in early crosses and we got beaten at our own game.

“At the start of the season we were putting in the early crosses and we were punishing (teams) and in all fairness in the first half we were lucky to have gone in only 2-0 down!

“Our back four at the moment is not our normal back four and our normal protection of our back four, Danny Waldren, is having to play in the back four so it’s not surprising really.

“We’re not the same squad, we’re not the same team shall we say that we were and we’re missing Taylor (Parmenter) as well who’s our cover there.

“I’m making excuses but I think I’m making excuses with real substance behind it and we now need to stop shouting and screaming and just do something about putting it right whether that’s bringing in an experienced head until Rob Swaine and Jack (Holland) are fit then that’s what I might have to do.

“I don’t think shouting and screaming and even showing players where they’ve gone wrong is necessarily the answer but I think the back four as it stands at the moment is just not good enough.

“We’re losing Danny Waldren in the middle of the park so it’s affecting us and we can make as many excuses as we like but the bottom line is that we’re not at full strength at the moment and what we’re trying to do to compensate for that is not working.”

Bromley created the first chance of the game inside the opening eight minutes.

A poor goal-kick from visiting goalkeeper Mitchell Walker went straight to Bradley Goldberg who strode forward before releasing his strike partner Jay May, but Walker made amends and smothered the ball at the striker’s feet inside the penalty area.

Dover Athletic – wearing their all pink strip - created their first opening exactly 120 seconds later.

Chris Kinnear (junior) clipped the ball over the top to release Jeff Goulding, but the 29-year-old target man blasted his right-footed half-volley high over the bar and into the car park.

Bromley, who changed their formation from 4-4-2 to 4-4-3, should have taken a seventeenth minute lead.

Pierre Joseph-Dubois threaded the ball through to Goldberg, who hit a first time right-footed shot into Walker’s gloves from the edge of the penalty area.

Boss Goldberg added: “We had bits and pieces. We probably did have a couple of decent chances.  Pierre put Brad in at one stage, maybe the goalkeeper had to pull off one or two saves, that’s about it.”

Dover Athletic began to dominate and Bromley keeper Joe Welch produced a world class save to delay the inevitable.

Tom Wynter, who was playing in central defence, clipped the ball out of defence to release the impressive Ademola down the left.  He whipped in an excellent cross towards the far post where Murphy cracked a thumping right-footed volley, which was beaten away by Welch high to his left.

“Joe pulled off a magnificent save, they could have had three,” said Goldberg.

Ademola – who was giving former Millwall and Walton Casuals right-back Max Fitzgerald a nightmare during the first half – got the better of his opponent again and put in a low cross towards the far post which was steered wide of the right-hand post by the unmarked Murphy.

But Dover Athletic deservedly took the lead after 26 minutes through Ademola’s fine finish.

Wynter clipped a long ball out of defence which was flicked on by Goulding to release Ademola through on goal and he drilled his right-footed shot across Welch into the far corner from ten-yards.

Kinnear said: “Moses did really well, didn’t he? We’re pleased with it.  We try to get people to get in there.

“Of course, the first goal is important especially against a side that’s top-of-the-table. We just have to do our best really.”

Goldberg wrapped up both first half goals in one sentence by saying: “Great cross, great finish. Second one, great cross, great finish!

Dover Athletic called the busy Welch into making another smart save as the game edged past the half-hour-mark.

Good link up play involving Ademola, James Rogers and Goulding resulted in Ademola finding Cogan unmarked at the far post and the former Millwall midfielder cut the ball back to Rogers, who drilled a low left-footed shot towards goal from the edge of the box, which forced Welch to dive low to his right to tip around the post.

Bromley were forced to shoot from distance in the 38
minute when Ashley Nicholls played the ball out of midfield to Joseph-Dubois, who sent Goldberg forward, before the 19-goal striker unleashed a left-footed drive from 35-yards, which stung Walker’s fingers.

Cogan swung in a corner from the left which came out to Rogers, who screwed his shot harmlessly wide of the right-hand post, before Dover Athletic doubled their lead in the 42

Ademola and Cogan linked up well down the left channel and Ademola easily skipped past Joseph-Dubois to reach the by-line before crossing towards the middle, where Orlu powered his towering header into the roof of the net from two-yards.

“Everything we try to do in training it came to fruit today,” said Kinnear.

“The pitch was in good condition because it was hard but it had been watered.  They’ve looked after the pitch here.”

When asked what he told his troops at the break, Kinnear said: “That we don’t just sit back and let them come on to us. We’ve just have to try to take it on and try and continue doing well and second half I thought we were even better.

“We had lots and lots of chances, didn’t we?  I can’t remember Mitch Walker having many saves to make.  He came and he caught some great catches.

“On Saturday we were a little disappointed with the way we played and today we’re pleased so we must not get carried away either way.”

Bromley were now facing an uphill struggle and the Hayes Lane faithful were realising that their title dreams were vanishing, especially after Eastleigh closed the gap following their 1-0 home win over Chelmsford City tonight.

Dover Athletic were awarded a free-kick inside the opening three minutes of the second half, but Rogers stepped up from left-back to bend his left-footed free-kick around the far post from 30-yards.

Dover Athletic squandered an excellent chance to kill the game off when right-back Craig Stone reached the by-line to whip in a cross towards the far post where Ademola sent his free-header straight at Welch.

With the home fans growing even more frustrated, poor Bromley failed to take a lifeline with 20 minutes remaining.

Substitute Brendan Kiernan whipped in a corner from the left which was punched away by Walker and Ali Fuseini sent his free header sailing past the left-hand post from fifteen-yards.

A flat-footed Joe Anderson gifted possession to Murphy and the Dover Athletic winger raced into the penalty area, drifted to his left but steered his shot into the side netting.

But Murphy made amends with seventeen minutes remaining when he played in a low cross from the right to Cogan, who was brought down by Fuseini and referee Lloyd Wood pointed to the spot.

Cogan stepped up and emphatically smashed his right-footed penalty high into the top left hand corner – for his thirteenth goal of the season - to give Dover Athletic a three goal lead.

Kinnear added: “I don’t want to make a big thing about it, but Baz, you don’t know which side it’s going! It could go either side. He’s got quality though hasn’t he? He did really well.”

Goldberg added: “We probably could have gone in at the end of the game 2-0, but with 20 minutes to go we made a decision to try and go for it. We went three at the back and they immediately scored a penalty and then they scored the fourth.

“It looks a lot worse, the scoreline, than it needed to have done but that’s what happens when you’re chasing a game.  We decided to chase a game. In hindsight I wish we only lost 2-0 but everyone else would say if we hadn’t had chased the game, if we hadn’t had a go, we would have been criticised anyway. That’s what you have to put up with being a football manager.”

Welch caught Murphy’s hooked speculative half-volley, which was dipping towards the corner of the net.

Bromley put in a woeful performance that brought back bad memories from their previous two seasons before this one when the club successfully escaped relegation.

A cross from Kiernan came out to Devante McKain – their young central defender on-loan from League One side Gillingham – and he summed up his poor performance in what is expected to be his last game for the club by volleying the ball out of the ground into the car park from outside the box.

Dover Athletic wrapped up their excellent performance on the stroke of full-time through Murphy’s tenth goal of the season.

Substitute Ricky Modeste released Murphy through on goal and this time he made no mistake, drilling his left-footed shot past Welch into the left-hand corner.

Kinnear could bring strength off the bench and he was pleased that Modeste played a part in Murphy’s goal.

He said: “it’s a squad. Everyone all of a sudden now are getting their games aren’t they and because everyone’s enthusiastic and want to do well that’s what’s happened to us really.”

Dover Athletic could have added more salt into Bromley’s wounds when Murphy’s progress was blocked, the ball came out to Stone on the right and his cross towards the far post was met on the volley by the unmarked Modeste, which powered its way narrowly over the crossbar.

Kinnear added: “We had loads of chances, too many to mention really, but that’s what we try to do. A lot of times this season we’ve had lots of chances and not converted them so today we’re pleased that we’ve converted a few.”

When asked what pleased him the most, the Dover Athletic boss replied: “The enthusiasm that we probably didn’t show on Saturday. As I keep saying we’re going to have ups and downs but we mustn’t let the downs ruin the season for us really. People do get a little bit too down, I think, at times when things don’t go our way and it’s hard to bounce back from that, but that’s Jake (Leberl) and my job to keep us going.”

Goldberg knows exactly what he needs for their trip to sixteenth-placed Farnborough on Saturday – before their season nosedives into a disappointing ending that promised so much before March.

“We haven’t had the reinforcements that are good enough at the moment,” admitted the Bromley boss.

“We’ve been very lucky up until now with injuries and now it’s our turn so we have to take it on the chin and I’ve got to do something about it. 

“I don’t think that just telling the players who were playing today what they need to do is going to change anything.

“I think we need an experienced head amongst those youngsters and I’m not blaming any of the youngsters. I think Max (Fitzgerald) had as good of a debut as he could have done, but it was difficult for him and the youngster from Gillingham (Devante McKain) is young and not experienced enough and that is a mistake from my part because I need to bring in experience now.”

Bromley have never finished in the top ten in Conference South since joining the league in 2007.

“From what I understand we’re still in a good position to finish higher than we’ve ever finished before so let’s just going, keep working hard. We’ve still got eleven games left. Try to grind out as many points as we can and see where we end up.

“Yes, it’s the lowest point of the season but we’re still in probably the best position that we’ve ever been in so we’re to take some heart in that but it just feels very difficult tonight.

“But we’ve got to look at it tomorrow with a clear head and the next day with a clearer head but we’re still in a good position and I need to do something about it.  If I just think we’re going to put it right on Saturday, then it won’t happen.

“Let’s hope we grind out enough points to get into the play-offs but we’ve never talked about the play-offs before, let alone the title so at least we’ve got eleven games to go. We’ve got hopes for the play-offs but we’ve got to make sure we grind out as many points as we can to make sure we’re there because Bishop’s Stortford and Havant & Waterlooville still got loads of games in hand.”

Kinnear, meanwhile, hopes Bromley can hold on to their slender hopes of winning the title.

“We’ve just got to do the best we can and see what happens at the end of the season,” said Kinnear.

“Hopefully for them, they’ll go on and win the league. We do like Bromley. We get on well with Bromley people so I’ll like to see them win the league.

“It all depends how they deal with it. It’s not for me to say how they’ll deal with it.

“It’s not like I’ve got anything against the others but we get on well with the Bromley people and I just hope that they can hang on.”

Bromley: Joe Welch, Max Fitzgerald (Nic McDonnell 72), Joe Anderson, Ashley Nicholls (Brendan Kiernan 58), Danny Waldren, Devante McKain, Ali Fuseini, Elliott Buchanan, Jay May, Bradley Goldberg, Pierre Joseph-Dubois (Louis Dennis 72).
Sub: Albert Jarrett

Booked: Max Fitzgerald 50

Dover Athletic: Mitchell Walker, Craig Stone, Tom Wynter, Chris Kinnear, Richard Orlu, Terrell Forbes, Moses Ademola (Ricky Modeste 79), James Rogers, Jeff Goulding (Elliott Charles 83), Barry Cogan, Tom Murphy.
Subs: Liam Bellamy, Nathan Elder

Goals:  Moses Ademola 26, Richard Orlu 42, Barry Cogan 73 (penalty), Tom Murphy 90

Booked:  Moses Ademola 55

Attendance: 466
Referee: Mr Lloyd Wood (Dagenham, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Shaun Farrer (Redhill, Surrey) & Mr Thomas Ellams (Tadworth, Surrey)

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