Bromley 2-1 Leyton Orient - To have a full house here against a big club like Orient, a League club against Little Old Bromley, it's a great result and a great night for the club, says coach Alan Dunne

Tuesday 02nd April 2019
Bromley 2 – 1 Leyton Orient
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 02/04/2019 19:45

Vanarama National League
Tuesday 2 April 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

ALAN DUNNE called this a brilliant night for Little Old Bromley after another famous victory over giants Leyton Orient at Hayes Lane.

Justin Edinburgh’s side arrived at a packed Hayes Lane on a nine-match unbeaten run and a point clear of Salford City (with one game in hand) at the top of the Vanarama National League table with 76 points in the bag from their 39 league outings.

They will also play at Wembley Stadium in The Buildbase FA Trophy Final on Sunday 19 May, meeting their league rivals AFC Fylde following The Buildbase FA Vase Final between Cray Valley (Paper Mills) and Chertsey Town.

Leyton Orient are the best supported club of the 24 National League clubs with average gates at Brisbane Road of 5,242. Bromley are in fifteenth-place with average gates of 1,387.

Bromley were also in fifteenth-place in the table with 51 points from 39 games and suffered a heart-breaking injury-time 2-1 defeat at Salford City at the weekend, despite taking an 84th minute lead through Jonathan Hooper’s penalty.

The O’s took the lead with the last action of the first half when centre-half Josh Coulson poked in his seventh of the season after the Ravens failed to clear their lines following a long-throw.

Bromley humiliated Leyton Orient 6-1 at Hayes Lane on Tuesday 15 August 2017, which was the Ravens best ever performance in their entire history, but tonight’s victory comes a close second.

Referee Will Finnie showed a straight red-card to Leyton Orient right-centre-half Marvin Ekpiteta for pulling down George Porter and Frankie Sutherland buried the resulting penalty to score his ninth goal of the season.

A crowd of 3,047 packed into a three-sided stadium and 20-year-old Charlton Athletic loanee Reeco Hackett-Fairchild buried home a header to win it for Bromley with his first goal for the club.

Bromley manager Neil Smith said he lost his voice during the game so sent out player-coach Dunne to undertake post-match press duties.

“What a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant game, a brilliant night, absolutely brilliant, topped off with a great result,” hailed Dunne, who made 18 appearances for then League Two side Leyton Orient between 2015-2017.

“The last time we played them at their place (a 3-1 defeat on 17 November 2018) they got a bit loud at the end and they were celebrating and tonight I thought we owed them one back!

“I thought the result was fantastic for the club. To have a full house here and for the boys to turn it around against a top-of-the-league side, a big club like Orient, a League club and against arguably Little Old Bromley a lot of people call us, it’s a great result. The boys have been fantastic and I’m really happy!”

This was a passionate London derby.  For Bromley to twice beat a giant club like Leyton Orient two years running at Hayes Lane would have been unthinkable just three years ago!

Having spent 14 years in Millwall’s first team squad, tonight will go down as one of Dunne’s career highlights – despite not making it onto the pitch.

Dunne said: “I was at Orient, I spent two years at Orient. Fantastic club. Justin Edinburgh’s done very well there.  I enjoyed my time there but nights like this playing against your old club and wanting to win and a full crowd, it’s up there.

“Yes, I’ve had some highs and it is up there. I enjoy it as much as everything. It’s just a great night. I’m pleased and proud of the players, happy for the manager Neil Smith, Mark Hammond, the club and the board.”

Dunne added: “It had goals, they had a sending off. We knew it was going to be like a derby game. It was going to be ratty at times and tackles.  I thought we matured during the game better and I think it was a fair result.”

Smith kept faith with the same 11 players that went close to coming away from big-spending Salford City with at least a point - but they gave Leyton Orient too much respect during the first half.

Leyton Orient’s set-piece specialist James Brophy hung up a high curling corner from the right, which dropped for Dan Happe but his shot was blocked inside a crowded Bromley penalty area and Josh Coulson stroked his shot past the right-hand post from 16-yards inside eight minutes.

Leyton Orient went even closer following Brophy’s second corner of the night, which was met by Josh Coulson’s near-post header but Sam Wood was on hand to clear the ball off the line.

Leyton Orient were on the front foot for the opening 20 minutes and they almost caught Bromley on the counter-attack when Charlie Lee’s hooked pass released striker Macauley Bonne down the right channel but Bromley’s right-back Richard Brindley showed desire to get back to intercept the cut-back on the edge of his box.

Long-throw specialist Lee launched the ball into the Bromley penalty area and the ball fell to striker Jay Simpson at the far post but his weak hooked shot was comfortably saved by Bromley keeper David Gregory, low to his left.

Dunne said:  “You’d expect that (Leyton Orient to be on the front foot), they’re high in confidence at the moment, they’re top of the league. They’ve got quality. They’ve done a great job there. They’ve got Jay Simpson and Josh Koroma and they can play. They’ve got good ball players. They’re a big club. 

“They hurt us at times and they got behind us but I felt as the game grow on, I felt we grew into it.”

Bromley took nearly 21 minutes to create their first opening of the night.

Left-back Wood launched a long ball over the top which released Hackett-Fairchild down the left and he cut the ball back to Hooper, who sliced his shot across the face of goal from 10-yards out at the near post.

Bromley went agonisingly close to grabbing the lead just 176 seconds later.

This time it was George Porter that hit a long ball forward, which was headed clear by Josh Coulson, the dominant man at the centre of the O’s three-man defence, and Luke Coulson played a diagonal pass into Hooper, who flashed his left-footed drive just past the foot of the near post from 17-yards with visiting keeper Dean Brill scrambling across his goal.

“He never had his shooting boots on today JJ,” admitted Dunne.

“He had a few chances in the first half as well and he had a couple in the second half. It just wasn’t his day and that’s when you ned someone else to step up on the mark.”

Leyton Orient’s left-wing-back Joe Widdowson slipped the ball into Brophy’s feet, who twisted and turned his man before playing the ball back to Widdowson who fed Lee, who curled his shot around the far post.

Leyton Orient were bossing the middle of the park but Bromley’s 16-goal striker Hooper should have done better with a header with 48 minutes and 7 seconds on the clock.

Holding midfielder Frankie Sutherland pinged a lovely ball out to Wood, who delivered a deep cross from the left and a rising Hooper looped his header towards goal, which was easily plucked out of the air by Brill.

Fourth official Jack Fagg put up two minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half – and Leyton Orient deservedly took the lead with the clock showing 47 minutes and 5 seconds.

Lee launched his seventh of nine long throws into the Bromley penalty area and the Ravens cleared the ball back to Lee and after a spell of pin-ball inside the box, Josh Coulson’s initial low shot was blocked at the far post but he poked his right-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner from 10-yards, despite Gregory diving late to his right but couldn’t stop the ball trickling into the bottom corner.

Josh Coulson was a big threat in Bromley’s penalty area all night.

“We knew he was dangerous in the box and I think we got caught ball watching a little bit.  He’s drifted in and it just landed on him and he got a little deflection and it landed right on him for him to hit the target and score, so going in 1-0 at half-time was disappointing,” said Dunne.

“But we showed great character to come back and score two goals and secure the victory.”

When asked what was said during the interval, Dunne revealed: “Show some belief boys! You’ve got to show some belief. We knew they were going to be dangerous so try to negate their little patterns and try to hurt them going forward and try to finish our chances away and get it wide and try to get in behind them and I think we did that and we grew into it.”

Bromley usually take their time to get going while kicking down their favourite end during the second half in games at home – but tonight was going to be another special night for the Ravens.

Sutherland played the ball over the top of the Leyton Orient defence and sent Porter through on goal and he was pulled down by Ekpiteta just inside the box and referee Will Finnie pointed to the spot.

Out came a red-card and Leyton Orient were there for the taking and down to 10 men after 48 minutes.

Sutherland stepped up and clinically lashed his right-footed penalty high into the top left hand corner of the net, sending Brill the wrong way, with the goal timed at three minutes and 28 seconds.

“I think it’s his ninth or tenth of the season so you’re confident when he takes it,” Dunne said of Sutherland’s spot-kick record.

“After JJ scoring (from the penalty spot) the other day (at Salford), it got us back into the game and we grew from that. 

“We knew we had 11 against 10 and we needed a third to try to secure it but it didn’t happen.”

Leyton Orient were a big threat from set-pieces all night and Brophy’s free-kick from the left was headed away by Roger Johnson and Josh Coulson’s right-footed half-volley deflected just over the top of the left-hand post.

Brophy swung in the resulting corner form the left for Lee to steer his free header just past the near post.

Bromley should have done better in the 59th minute when Hackett-Fairchild’s lay-off presented a chance for Luke Coulson, who had a quiet first half. Space opened up in front of him as he drove straight down the heart of the pitch but he dragged his shot harmlessly wide of the right-hand post.

Just as when it appeared that Leyton Orient had killed off Bromley’s momentum, Bromley claimed the famous victory with 17 minutes and 37 seconds on the clock.

Quick-thinking from Frankie Raymond saw him play a short free-kick to Luke Coulson on the left and he played the ball back to Raymond, who whipped in a high quality cross with his left-foot towards the far post and Hackett-Fairchild rose above Widdowson to bury his downward header past Brill from six-yards.

What a time to score your first goal for Bromley and this 80-year-old stadium erupted.

“I thought Reeco’s goal, it’s a fantastic goal to win it, really fantastic,” said Dunne.

“Unbelievable goal! We don’t score many from those sort of crosses to be fair and no disrespect.  He rose like unbelievable and he showed his quality and he had a fantastic game today. I think he was our man-of-the-match.

“I lost my voice almost as well. Fantastic! Really, really, really pleased.  I think we deserved that after the last time we were there. I think the club has had a couple of results lately that have been harsh on us and I thought we deserved that tonight.”

Leyton Orient keeper Brill pulled off a brilliant diving save to prevent Bromley increasing their lead in the 66th minute.

Hooper and Raymond linked up in the middle and the ball was played out to winger Luke Coulson, who by now had exploded into life.  He cut inside and curled a deflected shot towards the bottom far corner, only for Brill to dive to his left to push the ball towards safety.

Former Orient man Porter was lucky to stay on the pitch for a bad foul on Leyton Orient substitute Josh Koroma.  Travelling fans and the Orient bench were angry and one of the O’s coaching staff (Ross Embleton) were shown a red-card in the 71st minute and Porter waved him off and Smith made the correct decision to substitute Porter before he got himself sent-off.

Dunne added: “Porter has obviously got a bit of history there, got a bit of, at the end there but it’s passion.  That’s why we’re in the game. Everyone wants to win, use it as a desire to win.”

This was a passionate London derby and Bromley grew stronger as the game went on.

Brindley whipped in a cross from the right touch-line towards the near post but Hooper stabbed his shot past the near post with 15 minutes left.

But all that Leyton Orient could throw at Bromley were long throws and free-kicks.

Lee’s long throw was flicked on by Josh Coulson at the near post and Gregory got down on his knees to grab hold of the ball at the last second, diving low to his right in the 38th minute of the half.

Bromley needed a third goal to kill the game off and they went agonisingly close just 30 seconds later when right-back Brindley hit a left-footed drive from 30-yards, which smashed against the crossbar, high to Brill’s right.

“It reminded me of myself 10 years ago,” added Dunne.

“That would’ve settled it for us at the end but look we’ll take the 2-1 all day long, but it would be nice to get he third but we’ll take the 2-1!”

Sutherland’s high hanging corner was knocked back across goal but Hooper hooked shot from 12-yards looped over the Leyton Orient crossbar.

Brophy floated a cross into the Bromley penalty area and Widdowson’s looping header at the far post was plucked out of the air by Gregory.

And when the board for seven minutes was held aloft, the Hayes Lane faithful held their breath.

Brophy drove in a low cross-come-shot, which was held by Gregory but Leyton Orient missed a glorious chance with 48:11 on the clock following yet another free-kick.

Substitute Josh Koroma fed the ball down the left to Brophy, who whipped in a low cross from close to the by-line but quiet 23-goal striker Bonne flicked his shot over the crossbar and dropped to his knees as he endured a miserable night on the 3G pitch, having had the door slammed shut by Johnson and Jack Holland.

Dunne added:  “It’s a set-piece league. The best teams in the league every year, you beat teams if you’re the best with set-pieces.  If you defend your box at the other end, both boxes.  They’re a massive threat from set-pieces, we knew that and arguably we are as well.”

An open end to the game saw Bromley go agonisingly close again when with 49:15 on the clock, Raymond picked up a loose ball and cut into the Orient box and hit the base of the right-hand post from 16-yards.

“If only. I thought that was in as well. We were jumping up. It was unlucky for him, very unlucky,” added Dunne.

A mistake by last-man Widdowson gave Hooper a chance to score but he stroked his shot past the right-hand post from 18-yards.

“Again another chance for JJ. He’s been on fire since he’s come in. He’s scored a lot of goals for us and he’ll be disappointed not to score tonight,” added Dunne.

Leyton Orient created one final chance.  Brophy put in a free-kick from the left and centre-half Dan Happe glanced his header just past the near post with Gregory diving to his right.

The final whistle – with 52:11 on the clock – brought massive celebrations from the Bromley faithful.  A true giant-killing act from Smith and his Ravens. The bigger they are, the harder they fall and what a way to maintain your Vanarama National League status with 54 points with five games to spare.

Dunne said: “Unbelievable isn’t it? It’s a great night for the club. We can enjoy the moment of it and we saw some good positives tonight with Reeco coming in and showing it and Luke Coulson working hard. There were some good performances and it was a good nights work.

“It was a fantastic turn out for us tonight, massive, that’s what it’s about. The club is going in the right direction. We’re competing with the teams at the top and it’s exciting times. I want to do that week-in-week-out and have that crowd behind us because it’s a massive, massive force behind you.”

The same passion and desire on and off-the-pitch is now expected when relegation threatened Aldershot Town visit a buzzing Hayes Lane on Saturday (15:00).

Bromley are now in 12th place in the table and Smith said previously that he wants a top-half finish. The Ravens are a couple of points behind Barrow, the side immediately above them in the table.

Maidstone United (30 points from 40 games); Braintree Town (relegated on 31 points from 41 games); Aldershot Town (36 points from 41 games) and Havant & Waterlooville (39 points from 41 games) are in the drop zone.

Havant & Waterlooville are eight points adrift of Dover Athletic so the pressure is off Smith’s men after tonight – but a top-half finish and winning the Kent Senior Cup by beating Maidstone United here at Hayes Lane on Tuesday 16 April (19:45) will mark a successful campaign.

Dunne said: “There’s no easy games. Aldershot are fighting for their lives. We know what they’re about. We’re going to enjoy the night, come in on Thursday and try to finish the season strong and in a positive way, leading into next season.

“Five games to go and a cup final so let’s finish on a high this season and take the momentum into next season.”

Bromley: David Gregory, Richard Brindley, Sam Wood, Frankie Sutherland, Roger Johnson, Jack Holland, Luke Coulson, Frankie Raymond, Jonathan Hooper, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild (Marc Anthony-Okoye 82), George Porter (Omar Bugiel 74).
Subs: Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu, Alan Dunne, Jordan Higgs

Goals: Frankie Sutherland 49 (penalty), Reeco Hackett-Fairchild 63

Booked: Reeco Hackett-Fairchild 4, Frankie Sutherland 57, George Porter 71, Frankie Raymond 80, David Gregory 87, Omar Bugiel 90

Leyton Orient: Dean Brill, Alex Lawless (James Alabi 68), Joe Widdowson, Josh Coulson, Dan Happe, Marvin Ekpiteta, Charlie Lee, Craig Clay, Macauley Bonne, Jay Simpson (Josh Koroma 68), James Brophy.
Subs: James Dayton, Dale Gorman, Sam Sargeant

Goal: Josh Coulson 45

Booked: Alex Lawless 3, James Brophy 81

Sent off:  Marvin Ekpiteta 48, Ross Embleton (assistant manager) 71

Attendance: 3,047 (1,173 away)
Referee: Mr Will Finnie (Luton, Bedfordshire)
Assistants: Mr Paul Evans (Hartwell, Northamptonshire) & Mr Ricky Adams (Northfleet)
Fourth Official: Mr Jack Fagg (Dover)