We're on the verge of doing something special this year, says proud Bromley captain Jack Holland
BROMLEY captain Jack Holland insists their FA Cup exit at the hands of Bristol Rovers was hard to take.
Neil Smith’s men came away from the Memorial Ground with a 1-1 draw on Sunday 10 November, but luck deserted them in last night’s First Round Replay, as Bristol Rovers booked their place into the Second Round, courtesy of a bundled in effort from striker Jonson Clarke-Harris inside the opening three minutes.
Chris Bush – who scored THAT late equaliser in the first match – gave the ball away to Ollie Clarke, who whipped in a great ball towards the edge of the six-yard box for Clarke-Harris to bundle in his ninth goal of the season to break Bromley’s hearts.
“It’s hard to take. I think we can’t keep giving them soft goals away and then it’s an uphill battle but I’m proud of every single one of those players out there,” said the 27-year-old centre-half.
“We pride ourselves on team ethic and having a great spirit and never giving up and stuff. Obviously, it wasn’t meant to be.
“We know about them, we can’t give them a chance like that because they will capitalise, they’re League One for a reason but that aside we really put on a good performance out there.
“I think we were unlucky not to come away with something from there but very disappointed with the goal that we’ve conceded.”
There was controversy in the 42nd minute when Luke Coulson split the Bristol Rovers defence with a fine pass from the left and a Bristol Rovers player was keeping Michael Cheek offside but he was incorrectly flagged offside by a laughing linesman before rounding goalkeeper Jordi Van Stappershoef and slotting into the bottom near corner.
“I’ve seen the footage as well. I’m very disappointed that’s been ruled offside,” complained Holland.
“Obviously it’s a tough job, it’s a tough one to take, especially for a player like Cheek who runs his heart out and creates those sort of opportunities to go and score and for it to go against us, it’s heart breaking.”
Bush launched a long throw into the Bristol Rovers box in the 74th minute but Cheek failed to get a touch to the ball and the ball bounced into the top far corner and the goal was correctly ruled out as no one touched the ball from inside a crowded goall-mouth it before it went in.
Holland said: “I just threw myself at it. I don’t know. I didn’t touch it but when it went in I thought it was a goal. I was half celebrating and to see it ruled out, again sort of summed up our day.
“Looking back at it, everything that could’ve gone against us has. It’s just a tough one.”
Over the two games, Vanarama National League highflyers Bromley didn’t look out of place against a League One outfit and that bodes well for the rest of the season.
The Lillywhites are in second-place in the table, level on 37 points with Barrow, who have a game in hand and Smith takes his side to play their bitter-rivals Sutton United on Saturday.
“I think from both games we’ve given a good account of ourselves against League One opposition,” said Holland, who was delighted that his home-town club attracted 4,558 for its biggest-ever FA Cup tie.
“Everyone had us written off and I think we’ve come out and we’ve started to shock a few people. We’re not Little Old Bromley anymore. We can mix it with the best of them.
“I’m proud. I thought we gave it everything out there, for the fans as well they came out in their droves today. You could tell the atmosphere here was electric and we gave it our best.
“Just on behalf of the boys in the whole club, it was unbelievable to get the sell-out today and it speaks volumes.
“We’re getting more support now and we’re doing well in the league and FA Cup.
“All that I can say is keep coming. We’re on the verge of doing something special this year and it will take every one of us, not only the club but the fanbase, they’re right behind us as well, which is massive!”