Bromley 3-1 Maidstone United - When we needed some magic Spencer Cripps produced, says proud Bromley Academy manager Mark Hammond

Monday 02nd October 2017
Bromley 3 – 1 Maidstone United
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 02/10/2017 19:45

The FA Youth Cup Second Qualifying Round
Monday 2nd October 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY Academy manager Mark Hammond says reaching the next round of The FA Youth Cup is a huge achievement for the club.

These two Vanarama National League club’s produced a high-quality passing game of football at Hayes Lane and Maidstone United were the dominant force during a first half where they missed a number of chances and The Stones also hit the post in each half.

Bromley reached the FA Youth Cup final qualifying round after beating their Vanarama National League rivals Maidstone United at Hayes Lane.
Photo: Jeff Hutton - Bromley FC

But Bromley grabbed the lead against the run of play just before half-time through midfielder Spencer Cripps, who scored The Goal of the Season.

Maidstone United deservedly levelled through striker Rhys Bartlett, before Bromley broke away and scored two further goals through striker Ashan Jones and an own-goal from Lewis Scotter, after winger Riphi Kalala showed desire down the left.

Hammond, 39, said: “Considering the tie between the two teams, where their first teams are and the kind of rivalry – but in a kind of, what is it? How would you describe it? Friendly rivalry at first team level and Academy level, we’re all familiar with the staff and have known them over our playing days and now our coaching days.

“It’s been an excellent evening for the club of where the Academy has come and where it’s going. We’re looking stronger week-by-week and month-by-month, year-by-year.

“We’ve been attracting players from Tottenham (Guy Baskerville); Wycombe, Millwall, Crystal Palace (Spencer Cripps) and we had a scholar (Liam Coates) who actually had his contract at Crystal Palace terminated three weeks ago and he played for England under 15s and the club is now attracting that kind of player.

“Ashan Jones (Fulham), Marlon Peter-Brown (Arsenal) and we’re now getting the players in and around the EPPP system and now looking at Bromley as a vehicle or a springboard to where their aspirations want to take them.

“We knew it was going to be a very tough game. They are robust and are very well-drilled and we had to get a foot in the game and take areas of control where we could dominate our structure and play and put our kind of style and identity on the game and I think we did that 35+ minutes in and it looked like if we kind of got one, I was confident we could go on and secure the win.”

“I’m a little bit gutted for our lads because we were probably the better side tonight,” added Maidstone United Academy coach Tom Parkinson, 26.

“First half we could’ve been three or four up. The kid has hit a wonder goal and we’ve gone 1-0 down. If you don’t take your chances, you don’t win games but I can’t knock any of the lads tonight.  I thought they were excellent for 90 minutes and fair play to Bromley, they’re a very good side as well with some good players. All 22 players and the subs that came on were all very good players.

“It was exciting, both teams were trying to play the right way. Both teams had some good players, hopefully some of the boys in a few years’ time, you’ll see playing at a decent level, earning some money.”

This Second Qualifying Round tie attracted a crowd of 286, which included Bromley first team manager Neil Smith and several first team players, including captain Jack Holland, while Maidstone United’s Jay Saunders and his assistant Nicky Southall were in attendance.

Both sides were keeping the ball on the deck, utilising the artificial pitch and Maidstone United were to be denied a 12th minute breakthrough.

Elliott Capel fed winger Darren Cooper, who whipped in a cross from the left and a kind ricochet fell at Bartlett’s feet and his dink from eight-yards was blocked by Bromley’s goalkeeper Kristupas Burpa, low to his right.

“Listen, again chances come in games and when they do come, especially on night’s like this, you’ve got to take them,” admitted Parkinson.

“It was a good move down the left hand side, a great ball in the box. At least he’s hit the target, that’s what you ask and the keeper’s made a good save.”

Maidstone United struck the post for the first time in the 16th minute.

Left-back James Nurden delivered a deep cross into the Bromley penalty area and Victor Sodiende’s hooked shot from 12-yards sailed across the keeper and struck the far post and Capel’s follow-up shot deflected past the same post.

“We were getting a bit of joy out wide, all the first half was missing was a couple of goals. I thought the boys were excellent first half,” said Parkinson.

A lot of scouts would have been impressed by Sodiende, who was the shining beacon for Maidstone United tonight.

“That’s probably Victor’s worst game for us in terms of quality,” came Parkinson’s surprise remark.

“In the first two games this season, he’s got seven goals and I think tonight he was very direct and just lacked his final product but to be fair that’s why these boys are with us because they’re not the finished article by no means.

“There are a few club’s interested in him at the minute but it’s getting the consistency out of them but I thought he was one of many good players tonight.”

Hammond was impressed with Sodiende.

“It was a good move, their winger is a very good player. He had clever movement. He actually pulled off for the cut back well. We didn’t have a screen on the edge of the box and he’s hit the post.  Luckily, he’s hit the post. We said at half-time we’re fortunate to come in not being a goal down and chasing the game.

“There’s a lot of coverage around him at the moment. I know there was a lot of scouts here tonight that were looking at the game. It was busy with the pro club’s here looking at the players and he was one of them.  There was a lot of noise around him.

“I think our game plan stopped him, frustrated him and Ben Chorley with his work on the training ground has been brilliant, very meticulous and he nailed his game plan.”

Bromley, who were on the ropes, took 23 minutes to create a half-chance, following their first of four corners of the night.

Aidan Enver floated in a corner from the left and Donnell Anderson came up from the back to hook his shot harmlessly wide from 16-yards, after three of his team-mates broke away from where he was standing before the kick was taken.

Bromley created a better chance, however, in the 33rd minute when a poor defensive header from central midfielder Capel was pounced upon by Bromley striker Tahjae Anderson, whose low shot was tipped by the advancing keeper Tommy Taylor and was rolling towards the bottom near corner, only for Scotter to get back to clear away.

Hammond said: “Tahjae works hard and we saw that the two (Kennedy) and four (Capel) were tiring so we just wanted to keep play down their side and Tahjae was working hard. He used his upper body strength and he was in on goal. He didn’t connect with the ball quite clean enough but good defending by Scotter, who covered around and cleared it off the line.”

Parkinson added: “Our centre half was trying to be a little bit clever, that’s what I’m trying to get into the lads but first and foremost as a centre half you have to defend, just head and kick it and anything after, that’s a bonus.

“To be fair to the Bromley lad, he was a handful all night and it was a good save from Tony, he slowed the ball down and we managed to get back.”

Maidstone United were left frustrated again when Bromley’s goalkeeper Burpa excelled again.

Cooper released Sodiende in behind the Bromley defence and the winger was to be denied from eight-yards on the angle on the left-hand side by the keeper’s left-leg as he made himself big at his near post.

“We signed him from Crowborough Athletic,” revealed Hammond.

“He’s a promising keeper, he’s actually Lithuanian, he’s over here studying, but he’s a UK citizen and he’s been doing really,really well. He’s a very clever individual, hungry learner but he’s been working with Ben Chorley on a daily basis along with Glyn Shimell. He made two very key saves at the right time, so I’m really proud of him tonight.”

A frustrated Parkinson said: “Again, we had quite a few chances first half, we just couldn’t hit the target or the Bromley goalie was making some good saves. On another night we could’ve scored three or four goals but tonight it was one of those nights, the ball wouldn’t see to go in.”

Bromley started to get back into the game and Anderson’s right-footed shot on the turn looped over from 25-yards, before a driving run from Cooper flashed just past the near post from similar range at the other end.

Burpa made a vital save to prevent Maidstone United scoring with 39 minutes and 42 seconds on the clock.

Leyton O’Conner’s diagonal pass let in talented Sodiende and his left-footed shot from eight-yards was once again blocked by the busy Bromley stopper’s left-leg.

Hammond said: “That was the second chance, a great reaction save.  I’ve got to put it down to the training ground. Glyn Shimell, who is our first team and Academy goalkeeping coach, has been working with the goalkeepers every day and he’s been running afternoon sessions with them and you can see that’s paid off.”

When asked whether he can be back up to David Gregory in the first team, Hammond replied: “At the moment, yes, where he is in the pecking order, his age. If he keeps doing it, he’s got a chance of maybe actually doing that. It will be a great pathway for him.”

Bromley grabbed the lead with 40 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock from the best goal that you will see this season.

Cripps ran forward with the ball down the left, cut inside and curled a beautiful right-footed shot screaming around and over the keeper’s left-shoulder into the top far corner of the net from 25-yards.

“Spencer Cipps. He had a magic evening. He’s very understated. It seems like he's not in the game but his movement, he’s a very clever player and he assisted with all three goals tonight, he had a great evening,” hailed Hammond.

Bromley must put Cripps on a contract after tonight’s showing or run the risk of him being snapped up by one of the many scouts in attendance tonight.

Reflecting on that goal, Hammond said: “What? Very proud of that. He’s cleverly used and planted the defender on his left side and he’s actually knows that he wanted to cut in. He’s a clever player. He’s come in and he’s just bent a beautiful shot. It was the timing as well because it needed to happen, where that happened in the half as well.”

Parkinson added: “To be fair it came from our long throw but I’m not going to knock anything from the lad.

“He made a fantastic run, cut inside and bent it straight into the top corner, it was a fantastic finish.  There’s not a lot no one could’ve have done about that, it was just a good bit of skill.

“Do you know what? I was still confident that we’d get something. I thought Bromley were always lively on the break, they’ve got some very good players.

“We didn’t take our chances and sometimes that can come back to bite you on the bum and tonight it did.”

Both were asked their thoughts at the break.

Hammond said: “Ben Chorley (who was manager tonight) said to them maintain your discipline. We’ve had a couple of opportunities go against us, also the keeper making two critical saves but finishing the half we dominated possession. We dominated turnover and we were getting up the pitch with our movement.

“We needed Spencer to unlock and that’s what he’s got, something special to unlock with clever play.  We said we have to start again and put them under pressure. Our possession will tire them and keep moving it side-to-side and at some stage we will get in.”

Parkinson added: “Just keep doing the same things. I thought from one to 11 they all tried very hard. Just have that little bit more composure and quality in the final third.  I thought they were very good first half, they didn’t give Bromley any time on the ball and you’ve got to give Bromley a lot of credit, they’re a very good side.

“When the draw came out it was probably the toughest draw we could get. We’ve always had good battles over the last couple of years and they’re two really good sides at this age group.

“I won’t be surprised if there were a few scouts looking at a few of them tonight.”

Cripps’ stunning goal lifted Bromley and they came out with much more belief at the start of the second half.

Left-back Coates slipped the ball up into Kalala, who played a low cross inside to Jones, whose right-footed drive from 25-yards was held by Taylor, diving low to his right.

Hammond said: “That’s what we asked for. We wanted to start sharp and intense because we saw them tiring and I thought our boys looked fitter over the 90 minutes.”

Parkinson said: “We didn’t come out of the traps and I thought Bromley were good for the first 15-20 minutes.  They pressed us, they have that little bit of quality about them and put us under a little bit of pressure and we were hoping to ride the storm.”

Cripps slipped the ball through to Jones, who had a number of defenders swarming around him but he managed to get the ball out from under his feet before dinking his deflected shot into the base of the side netting from eight-yards.

But Maidstone United weathered Bromley’s 15 minute spell and edged back in front in terms of possession.

The introduction of pacy left-winger Richard Frempong was another threat on the flanks and he certainly gave Guy Baskerville plenty of food for thought.

Right-back Frankie Kennedy fed Sodiende down the right wing and he played the ball inside to Frempong, whose left-footed drive from the edge of the box deflected into Burpa’s safe-hands.

“I thought Richard was lively, he didn’t play last week, he’s been struggling with a foot injury,” revealed Parkinson.

“I thought he was very good when he came on. I thought he was very direct, he put some fantastic crosses into the box. It was a shame he wasn’t fit enough to play the full 90 minutes because he could’ve caused them more problems. I thought he was excellent when he came on.”

Nurden played the ball inside to O’Connor, who hit a right-footed curler around the foot of the near post, the diving Burpa relieved that the shot didn’t nestle into the corner.

Space opened up in front of Cripps, who went on another driving run into the penalty area but Taylor dived low to his left to prevent Bromley’s best player on the night.

“I think Spencer’s one for the future. I might be calling this too early but he’ll definitely play for our first team,” said Hammond.

Maidstone United deservedly levelled with 19 minutes and 23 seconds on the clock.

A mistake from Bromley’s central defender Donnell Anderson let in Bartlett, who swept his left-footed shot into the bottom near corner from 14-yards on the right-hand side of the box.

“It snuffled around and it’s the first time Rhys hits one early when the goalie wasn’t set and it was a good finish from Rhys,” said Parkinson.

Hammond added: “Very clever finish. I was impressed with Bartlett, honest and hardworking and very good finish.

“Donnell left his man, he hasn’t come round but he made up for his mistake. He was the catalyst for the start of the third goal so I think he’s back in credit.

“I believe we could get in.  We had four corners, two of them we nearly got in so we were gaining territory of getting in behind them, working them. 

“I just believed we could do it and Spencer’s goal gave us the belief as well.”

Frempong put in a cross from the left and Sodiende’s looping header from 14-yards was comfortably plucked out of the air by the busier of the two goalkeepers.

But Bromley grabbed the lead with 21 minutes and 57 seconds on the clock.

Cripps played a delightedly defensive splitting pass to put Jones through on goal and he showed composure to skip around the advancing keeper to roll his right-footed shot just inside the bottom left-hand corner of an empty net from 10-yards.

Hammond said: “Just!  I think the keeper closed the line well but a beautiful ball from Spencer, the timing was unbelievable and I think he was the star of the show tonight, although Tahjae Anderson, Ola Williams, Riphi Kalala, Guy Baskerville and Marlon Peter-Brown all played well, when we needed some magic, Spencer produced.”

Parkinson added: “It was sort of against-the-run-of-play again.  I thought we started to get back on top and it was a great chip down the line. Their forward’s held the ball up brilliantly and turned our lad, probably let him turn a little bit easy and slipped in Jones and to be fair it was a good goal from them on the break.

“But again, that was a little bit of difference tonight, when they got their chances they were ruthless and we wasn’t.  Again, on another night it could’ve been completely different.”

Bromley wrapped up the victory with their third goal on the break, with 27 minutes and 3 seconds on the clock.

They played the ball out of defence, like they did all night, and once in midfield Cripps played the ball out wide on the left, but in front of Kalala.

It appeared that the ball was going to roll out of play but the winger showed desire to chase a lost cause, keep the ball in, play a one-two with Cripps before sprinting down the left wing to reach the by-line. He kept the ball in play again, whipped in a low cross and Scotter slid the ball into the back of his own net at the near post, despite Tahjae Anderson nipping in and claiming that he poked the ball over the line.  

Going by Scotter’s despair, it was evident that the Maidstone central defender put the ball into his own net from six-yards.

Hammond hailed a trademark Bromley goal, hitting their opposition with pace.

“It was the possession we had. We played it out from the back, we played it from one side to the other, worked it through the middle, it was an overlapping forward run. A great ball in the box. I can’t wait to watch it on the video in the classroom and take that impetus into the next round.”

Parkinson added: “We started to push a little bit. The kid’s whipped a hell of a ball in. It was one of them as a defender if you do touch it, it is a goal or if you miss it the geezer behind you is going to tap it in.  It was a fantastic cross from the lad.

“They probably got in our final third five or six times tonight and scored three goals because they had that little bit of quality than us but I can’t knock our lads. I thought they were excellent. We just let ourselves down as a group in the final third.”

Kalala got down the left again but this time Coates – who by this time was pushed into central midfield – swept his shot just over the crossbar when he was left unmarked inside the box at the end of an entertaining game.

Maidstone United’s bad luck was summed up when deep inside injury time Frempong cut the ball back from the left by-line and Bartlett swept his shot against the near post and Sodiende couldn’t cap off a great performance with a goal, lashing his shot harmlessly wide.

“We were hanging on in there, again in football if that goes in it’s 3-2, they might have a little push but it didn’t go in fortunately and we just did enough,” added Hammond.

Parkinson said: “Listen, you have nights like this in football and unfortunately in The FA Youth Cup you don’t get a second chance.

“It’s a learning curve for these boys. You’re never going to win this, it would be nice to get in to the First or Second Round.  It’s good for the boys to progress and try to play a pro-club and the whole aim of these schemes is to try to get players into the non-league and earning some money or if they’re good enough, to be at a pro club.

“At the moment we’ve got eight or nine lads out either playing SCEFL Premier, SCEFL First Division or Bostik South, so hopefully these boys that do go on and try to earn a few quid in the game.”

Hammond revealed Crystal Palace midfielder Jason Puncheon, 31, offered his congratulations to Bromley’s players inside the dressing room after the final whistle – as did first team manager Smith and chairman Jerry Dolke.

Hammond said: “We had Jason Puncheon in there, which was a surprise to congratulate the boys and I think the boys were star struck but probably more from Jerry.

“If you get a pat on the back from the chairman, he was so complimentary towards the boys and the togetherness and Jerry is very passionate about the club.”

Murray Jones was in charge of Bromley when they lost 2-1 to Leyton Orient in their last First Round appearance back in 2009 and Bromley are just one win away from reaching that stage of the competition.

Hammond said: “What an achievement. I don’t think the club have done it in eight years. Hopefully we can (get to the First Round and) get a big Football League club. It’s a very huge achievement for the club.”

Bromley: Kristupas Burpa, Guy Baskerville, Liam Coates, Marlon Peter-Brown, Ola Williams, Donnell Anderson, Riphi Kalala, Aidan Enver, Tahjae Anderson, Spencer Cripps (Rodney Adamon 87), Ashan Jones (Kerry Ogbeikun 79).
Subs: Aaron Clarke, Klaudio Jraswiqi, Scott Jarvis

Goals: Spencer Cripps 41, Ashan Jones 68, Lewis Scotter 73 (own goal)

Maidstone United: Tommy Taylor, Frankie Kennedy (Rhys Anscomb 63), James Nurden, Elliott Capel (Lewis Wood 76), Josh Dorling, Lewis Scotter, Victor Sodiende, Lewis Chambers, Rhys Bartlett, Leyton O’Connor, Darren Cooper (Richard Frempong 54).
Subs: Lorcan Healy, Tom Barton

Goal: Rhys Bartlett 65

Attendance: 286
Referee: Mr Nick Fruin (Hayes)
Assistants: Mr David Hooker (Bromley) & Mr Brian Wheatley (West Wickham)

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