Bromley boss Neil Smith plotting FA Cup giantkilling act: We want to do it because I think it’s a very long time since we were officially in the Second Round of The FA Cup and I think this is the year

Tuesday 19th November 2019

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says he wants to sprinkle some FA Cup magic on his home-town club tonight.

The Lillywhites welcome tenth-placed League One side Bristol Rovers to Hayes Lane in front of the BT Sport cameras in The FA Cup First Round Replay.

The second-placed Vanarama National League club have sold out their biggest-ever FA Cup tie at the stadium, which was opened in 1938 and after being the better side during the 1-1 draw at the Memorial Ground on Super Sunday, 10 November 2019, Smith is plotting a giant-killing and becoming the first Bromley side to beat Football League opposition in The FA Cup.

“Looking forward to it,” said Smith this morning, as FA Cup fever hits Bromley.

“We just have to make sure we give ourselves an opportunity to show people what we’re about.”

Bromley lost top spot in the National League after being held to a 3-3 draw by seventh-placed Harrogate Town at Hayes Lane, fighting back from being 3-0 down to claim a point and are now second level on 37 points with new leaders Barrow.

“First half, not so good, second half we were unbelievable.  We just got to make sure we have 90 minutes of it. We’re not going to give a team like Bristol Rovers an opportunity, so we’ve got to keep that going and at the other end, try to nick a goal.

“You have to hope Bristol Rovers don’t turn up and they have a little off day and we have the run of the ball and have a little bit of luck and we’re at our very, very best.

“In the first half on Saturday we weren’t.  I wouldn’t say we were poor, we just made bad mistakes, which is not normally us.  We gifted three goals away and we can’t afford to gift anything away today.

“They’ve got a striker (Jonson Clarke-Harris) Championship teams are looking at and we have to make it hard for him.

“They don’t want to be embarrassed by coming to Bromley and losing.  They know us as much as we know them, so they know what we’re expecting.  Maybe they didn’t expect us to be so good on the ball so they’re going to be very, very hard.”

Bromley took 521 fans to Bristol for a Sunday lunchtime kick-off and Smith wants the Hayes Lane faithful to raise the roof from the first minute to the last to make it a special night.

“I believe we can give it a really good go with the supporters behind us, a full house, a sell-out at the Lane,” said Smith.

“I think if they get going and we can give them something to get going with, I think it will be a very good night for them and that’s what we’re looking to do.

“I hope we can give BT Sport a giant-killing act,  I hope we can fulfil what they’re expecting but we also know it’s going to be very, very difficult. 

“We’re under no illusions.  We’re playing one of the top sides in League One but we’re at home, we’re on the 3G pitch, we’ve got the crowd behind us. It’s very tight and very intimidating and we have to spook them a little bit and hope we get them on a bad day.

“There was 521 Bromley supporters at Bristol Rovers and they were very vocal and very loud and you could hear them all through the game.  If we’re going to have four times that amount and plus I want to hear them! I want to hear them from the first whistle to the last whistle! 

“I want them to get behind the boys. If a boy makes a mistake, just get supporting them because the fans are going to be vital for us and the extra person for us tonight.”

Smith is doing everything in his power to ensure his home-town club reach the Second Round for the first time since 1945.

Smith, a former Fulham midfielder, invited magician Magic Mod to Hayes Lane yesterday to bring some long-awaited FA Cup magic to the club.

“He’s just a friend of mine. He’s a Fulham supporter and I’ve known him for a little while now and he said ‘can I come down and see the players and the ground?’

“He used to watch me when I was playing at the Cottage and I invited him down and he’s a guest and when the boys were having lunch he was doing a few tricks just to relax them and just to take their mind off a very, very big game.

“He said ‘if I can bring a bit of magic for the club tonight and produce something out of the hat tonight’ then he’s done his job for when he came in for lunch yesterday.”

This game could go the distance and Smith insists his side are ready for extra-time and penalties to see which club will host League Two side Plymouth Argyle in the Second Round on Sunday 1 December 2019 (14:00).

“We’re ready for everything, we’re ready for everything that’s thrown at us. We’ll take extra-time and penalties, we’ll take it to the wire.  The boys have practiced penalties as we always do. We don’t leave anything untoward. We make sure we’re practised and make sure we’re perfect. If we can do it in 90 minutes, fine, if we take them to penalties, we’ll take it to every eventuality.”

Anything can happen, they say.  Magic of The FA Cup, they say.  74 years’ of FA Cup hurt. It’s time to rewrite history and make this Bromley’s Greatest FA Cup day.

“That’s exactly what we want,” added Smith.

“When I took over the job with Mark Hammond, we wanted to make a little bit of history, start putting the club in the papers for the right reasons. We did it when we went to Wembley and when we went top of the National League.

“We want to do it because I think it’s a very long time since we were officially in the Second Round of The FA Cup and I think this is the year. - I’ve got a fantastic squad of players.

“The board and directors and supporters have been immense this year and I want to give them something back and thank them for all their support. They’ve never let us down and I don’t want to let them down tonight."

Visit Bromley’s website:

Bromley  v  Bristol Rovers
The Emirates FA Cup First Round Replay
Tuesday 19 November 2019
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF