Bromley goalkeeper David Gregory: It’s the best opportunity the club has had at this competition and we are not going to give that up!
BROMLEY goalkeeper David Gregory says the togetherness and character within the camp will pull them through their make-or-break trip to Spennymoor Town on Tuesday night.
Neil Smith takes his side to the Northern powerhouse with one prize in their hearts – a place in The Buildbase FA Trophy Semi-Finals for the first time in the clubs 125 year history.
Bromley goalkeeper David Gregory
Photo: Bromley FC
The Ravens were held to a disappointing goal-less draw by the Vanarama National League North side at Hayes Lane on 24 February and the first replay was postponed last Tuesday due to the wintry blast but Gregory insists everyone is ready and raring to go to create history for Bromley.
Bromley have slipped down to tenth-place in the Vanarama National League table with 52 points from 34 games but they do have games in hand on all of the sides above them. They are now five points adrift of seventh-placed Dover Athletic, who beat the freeze to beat Leyton Orient 1-0 yesterday, although Chris Kinnear’s side have played two games more.
Spennymoor, meanwhile, are in seventh-place in the Vanarama National League North table on 48 points from 27 games, and also have games in hand on all of the teams above them.
Bromley have got to this stage the hard way. Who would have thought their First Round trip to Hampshire to beat Hartley Wintney 2-0 in January would have been some kind of derby game?
Smith then took his side up to the North East to beat Blyth Spartans 4-1 before coming away from a mud-bath in Cumbria to escape with a 1-1 drew at Workington, courtesy of Jack Holland’s match saving late header, before turning on the style to thrash the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side 7-1 in a midweek replay on the 3G pitch at Hayes Lane.
Bromley now face their toughest test in The FA Trophy to date – to come away from Spennymoor with a win to meet either Leyton Orient or Gateshead (who meet in Gateshead on Tuesday after a 3-3 draw in East London) in a two-legged Semi-Final later this month.
“This season, on the whole, has been very enjoyable,” said Gregory, 23.
“We are in a good position in the league with games in hand, coming in to the business end of the season, high in confidence.
“The FA Trophy has given the entire club hunger to succeed and keep growing. There is a fantastic atmosphere within the squad and around the ground.
“We haven’t had the shortest of journey’s in the Trophy games but it hasn’t affected the way we approach games. We’ve prepared for each game with the same attitude all season and will continue to do so until the last game.
“It was a tough encounter against a side high in confidence in Spennymoor Town. They have dangerous attacking outlets and were able to defend well under pressure. We knew that heading in to the game and were just unable to knock the door down.”
Smith’s men were able to train on their artificial pitch yesterday to prepare for their trip to County Durham.
They will prepare the same like they would for any other Vanarama National League game. They will catch a train from London Euston to Penrith on Tuesday and then board a coach to Spennymoor and will stay overnight post-match.
“This week, I imagine, has been tough for every club around the country to get a good amount of practice in before their upcoming fixtures,” said Gregory, who is a full-time footballer.
“We are lucky to have a 3G pitch that (although was by no means match playable) was able to be cleared in the softer areas to get some decent training in.
“We’ve all been in the gym too and had a boxercise session on Wednesday to keep fit during the worst of the weather. We have done the maximum that we can in order to prepare.”
Tuesday night’s clash at The Brewery Field could go all the way, with extra-time and penalties – but Gregory insists his team-mates are ready with what’s coming their way.
He said: “We know Tuesday night won’t be easy. We have to be on our game for the entirety of the 90 plus minutes in order to get the result we are all desperate to get.
“It’s the best opportunity the club has had at this competition and we are not going to give that up!
“Extra time and penalties are always a difficult period to cope with mentality. When legs and minds are tired, we will need the strength of our togetherness and character as a squad to pull through.”
Bromley reached The FA Amateur Cup Final for a third time when a George Brown winner saw them beat Romford 1-0 in front of 96,000 fans at the old Wembley Stadium back in 1949.
The last Quarter-Final Bromley reached was in 1962 when they went down to a 2-1 replay defeat away to Hounslow Town in The FA Amateur Cup after Eric Nottage scored in a 1-1 draw at Hayes Lane in the first game.
This is a special season for Bromley, celebrating 125 years of football and it would be a great achievement to make a return to Wembley Stadium on 20 May to play Stockport County, Brackley Town or Wealdstone in The FA Trophy Final.
“Reaching Wembley in my first proper year playing would be a dream come true,” said Gregory, who lives down the road in Biggin Hill.
“If you would have offered me this exact position 12 months ago I would have probably taken your arm off for it! I’ve never played at Wembley before, but luckily we have players in the squad who have and have won there too, so that is definitely a positive as we’ve headed closer towards it.”
And to get there with your home-town club will make it even special for Gregory and club captain Holland, who lives in West Wickham.
“The whole situation has been perfect for me on a personal level. Being released (by Cambridge United) and out of a club is a very daunting experience for any young, inexperienced player,” reflected Gregory.
“After Bromley expressed interest I couldn’t have put pen to paper quick enough! The opportunity to play and the fantastic convenience of being 10 minutes from home, I am very thankful for.”
When asked to reveal a secret, Gregory replied: “It’s not so much of a secret! I’m a very keen golfer (8 handicap). Any Bromley followers that fancy a knock about, swing me a message on Twitter or any other social media platform and I’ll be happy to play!”
Visit Bromley’s website: www.bromleyfc.tv
Spennymoor Town v Bromley
The Buildbase FA Trophy Quarter-Final Replay
Tuesday 6 March 2018
Kick Off 7:45pm
At The Brewery Field, Wood Vue, Spennymoor, County Durham DL16 6JN