All we have to do is play to our best and I think if we do that we’ll get a chance, says Bromley boss Neil Smith

Wednesday 30th October 2019

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says his side must return to their set standards if they are to claim their first-ever win at Wrexham on Saturday.


The Lillywhites remain at the top of the Vanarama National League table with 36 points on the board from their opening 19 games.

Smith’s men thrashed then leaders FC Halifax Town 5-0 at Hayes Lane last Saturday and he admitted his side didn’t reach the same standards during last night’s 2-2 home draw against part-timers Stockport County, who remain in seventeenth-place.

Smith takes his side to Wrexham – a side that are rooted in the bottom three in the pecking order with 16 points on the board, courtesy of three wins and seven draws.

Smith said: “I don’t like saying it’s (a team in) the bottom three, it’s Wrexham! They’re a big club, they’re at home, they’ve got pride, there going to have the boys around them.  It’s always a difficult ground.

“All we have to do is play to our best and I think if we do that we’ll get a chance but we’re going there knowing we have to be a lot better than we were in the first half last night.”

After beating their league rivals Aldershot Town 4-3 at home in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round, Bromley make the trip to League One side Bristol Rovers in the First Round.

The game, like a few others, has been selected by the BBC for one-camera coverage on Sunday 11 November with the game kicking off at 12:45.

Chairman Robin Stanton-Gleaves has provided free coach travel for fans to make the journey with Bromley being handed a ticket allocation of 900 for the game.

“We’ll get Wrexham out of the way and we’ll look forward to the Bristol Rovers and hope the supporters’ turn up after Robin’s great gesture of paying for the travel,” said Smith.

“I think it’s an amazing gesture from the man and hopefully we can get a good following behind us and we give them something to shout about.”

Bromley’s last win in The FA Cup First Round was back in 1945 and Smith’s class of 2019 are more than capable of producing a giant-killing act at the Memorial Ground.

Bristol Rovers may be in tenth-place in the League One table, having collected 22 points (six wins and four draws) from their 15 league games, but their recent FA Cup form has been poor indeed.

The Pirates have lost at home to three non-league sides during the past four years, having lost to Barnet (2-1 at home in a replay after a 1-1 draw at The Hive) last season.

Two years earlier, another National League side, Barrow, came away from Bristol Rovers with a 2-1 win in the Second Round and the season before that Chesham United sealed a 1-0 win in the First Round.

Smith said:  “Let’s hope that run keeps going then, but we’ll take anything at the moment.  Any omen that’s good for us, I’ll take and jump all over but we know it’s going to be difficult.  They are a League One side, they’re in the top half as well and they’re the favourites and whatever we can do, it will be great for the club.

“I’ll take anything, a draw, a replay, obviously a win. It’s going to be very difficult but we’ll see how we are after Wrexham and hopefully get a good result there.”

The Hayes Lane faithful have been waiting too long to enjoy some FA Cup glory, after suffering too much heartbreak over the years’.

“When I first came in, what I wanted to do, I want to be the first (Bromley manager) in a lot of things.  I managed to get the team to Wembley, we were just unfortunate that we didn’t win it (The FA Trophy).

“We’re now sitting top of the league, which we haven’t done at this level and I want to do (well in) The FA Cup but take one game at a time, our full focus will be on Wrexham.”

Bromley remain top of the Vanarama National League table with 36 points from 19 games and the play-off places are occupied by FC Halifax Town (35 points), Yeovil Town (34 points and with a game in hand), Harrogate Town (32), Barrow (31 and with a game in hand), Torquay United (31) and Notts County (30).

“Our games are all big, there are no easy games in this division. We’ve said it before they’re just relentless!  You don’t get a break, you don’t get an easy game, they’re all difficult and we’ve got to make sure we set our standards.

“There’s a long way to go. We’ve just got to make sure, alright we’re disappointed the way we (didn’t beat Stockport County), we’ve just added another point to our tally and as long as we keep doing that, we’ll be ok.”

Bromley’s FA Cup Heartbreak:

Reached the Second Round:
1937-38 – Away – Scarborough – Lost 1-4
1938-39 – Away – Lincoln City – Lost 1-8
1945-46 – Home - Watford – Lost 1-3 and Drew 1-1 (away)

Reached the First Round:
1938-38 – Away – King’s Lynn – Won 4-0
1938-39 – Home - Apsley – Won 2-1
1945-46 – Home - Slough United  - Won 6-1 and Lost 0-1 (away)
1947-48 – Home - Reading – Draw 3-3 and Lost 0-3 (away)
1949-50 – Home  - Watford – Lost 1-2
1950-51 – Away – Aldershot – Draw 2-2 and Lost 0-1 (away)
1951-52 – Away – Torquay United – Lost 2-3
1976-77 – Away – Swindon Town – Lost 0-7
1996-97 – Home – Enfield – Lost 1-3

Reached the First Round as a Conference South Club (having to win three games to get there):

2006-07 – Away – Gillingham – Lost 1-4
2009-10 – Home – Colchester United – Lost 0-4
2011-12 – Away – Leyton Orient – Lost 0-3
2012-13 – Away – Fleetwood Town – Lost 0-3
2014-15 – Home – Dartford – Lost 3-4

Reached the First Round as a National League club (having to win one game to get there):

2017-18 – Away – Rochdale – Lost 0-4
2018-19 – Home – Peterborough United – Lost 1-3
2019-20 – Away – Bristol Rovers -

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