Bromley boss Neil Smith: For a little club like Bromley to be coming away disappointed not to come away with something from Tranmere just shows how far we have come

Monday 19th February 2018

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says he wants their fairy tale season to go right down to the wire.

Tranmere Rovers climbed into second-place in the Vanarama National League table after beating brave Bromley 1-0 at Prenton Park at the weekend.

Bromley boss Neil Smith: I think the boys have given
me everything!
Photo: Bromley FC

Ben Chorley, who gifted Maidstone United a late equaliser at Hayes Lane last time out, made another mistake by not cutting out a long ball and allowing Connor Jennings to score the 36th minute winner in front of 5,536 fans in Merseyside.

“The boys put up a good show and I think after speaking to (Tranmere Rovers manager) Micky Mellon after the game, I think he knew he’d been in a game and I think looking back if we’d have come away with a draw I don’t think anyone would’ve been disappointed.”

In six National League meetings between the two club’s Bromley have picked up one draw, at Prenton Park last season.

“You’re looking at a club that’s the size of them, stadium, five and a half thousand people there or whatever it was and the difference between us and them at the minute was a last minute goal at home, to a mistake away from home, so we just seem to be hopefully closing that gap on a club like Tranmere Rovers.

“For a little club like Bromley to be coming away disappointed not to come away with something from Tranmere just shows how far we have come.”

Macclesfield Town are sitting in the sole automatic promotion place on 62 points from 33 games after coming away from Aldershot Town with a 2-1 win at the weekend.

Tranmere Rovers are in second-place with 58 points from 34 games, followed by Aldershot Town on 58 points from 22 games.  Wrexham are in fourth-place on 58 points from 34 games.

Sutton United are in fifth-place with 57 points from 33 games, a point clear of Boreham Wood, while AFC Fylde are in the final play-off berth with 52 points from 34 outings.

Bromley are outside the play-offs in eight-place on 51 points and travel to Aldershot Town on Tuesday night.

“It’s going to be another tough one,” said Smith.

“They went down to 10 men and Macclesfield only just beat them so we know how difficult they’re going to be.

“Again, with the likes of Tranmere, they’re one of the favourites to get promotion whereas we were one of the favourites to get relegated!

“It’s going to be a tough ask away from home, two tough games away from home but the boys are ready for it.”

Smith appreciates that Dover Athletic (51 points), Ebbsfleet United (49) and Dagenham & Redbridge (48) all want to gatecrash the play-off party at Bromley’s expense.

He said: “There’s loads of games to go at the moment, with the two tough games with the favourites in each.

“People might look to say we’re out of it but until the 13 games that are left are up we’re going to give it our best shot to get that seventh-place.

“Ebbsfleet are putting a little run together now and a few other teams are in the frame.  There will be loads of teams that are going to drop points.  The top teams have got to play each other so we just have to hang in there for as long as we can.”

Bromley’s legendary striker George Brown scored the only goal of the 1949 FA Amateur Cup Final to beat Romford at the old Wembley Stadium.

Bromley welcome Vanarama National League North Spennymoor Town to Hayes Lane in The Buildbase FA Trophy Quarter-Final on Saturday (15:00).

A crowd of at least 2,000 is expected to flock through the turnstiles to watch this current Bromley side continue their march to the Wembley Arch.

Bromley have beaten lower-league opposition in the shape of Hartley Wintney (2-0), Blyth Spartans (4-1), Workington Town (1-1 and 7-1) to reach this stage of the competition for the very first time.

Smith is keen to mark the clubs 125th anniversary with a day out at Wembley – knowing his side are the highest ranked club left in the competition.

Bostik Premier Division leaders Billericay Town have home advantage over Vanarama National League South side Wealdstone.

Vanrama National League Leyton Orient host their league rivals Gateshead, while there’s an all-Vanarama National League North tussle between Stockport County and Brackley Town.

“There’s a lot of talk about it,” said Bromley resident Smith.

“We haven’t had a home game for a couple of weeks so it makes it even bigger.

“It’d come to that one nearer the time but it’s a fantastic achievement again for the club and it’s the 125th anniversary year.  The club has really gone places this year and hopefully we can go another step closer to that Wembley day out.

“But we know it’s going to be difficult. Spennymoor will say they’ve got nothing to lose but then nor have we. We have everything to gain as they have.

“It’s a Cup Final for both of us and we hope we can produce on the day and get into the next round.

“It’s been a great season but I want it to carry on!  I want this to go right to the wire.  I want my season to go on into May, that’s what I’m really after. 

“I think the boys have given me everything. I’ve had a tiny squad compared to most teams in and amongst it, who have all added to their squad.

“I’ve managed to bring in Brandon Hanlan and Omar Bugiel (both on loan from Charlton Athletic and Forest Green Rovers respectively) and the majority of the boys have been with me since day one, so they’ve had a massive achievement but we want to make sure our season goes right into May.

“May the 20th (the date of The Buildbase FA Trophy Final) will be lovely but I’d take anything at the moment. The boys deserve it and the supporters have been fantastic and they deserve it as well, so fingers crossed we’ll have a little bit of luck when we need it and we can achieve something this year.”

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Aldershot Town  v  Bromley
Vanarama National League
Tuesday 20 February 2018
Kick off 7:45pm
at Recreation Ground, High Street, Aldershot, Hampshire GU11 1TW