Bromley 0-1 Sutton United - We weren't at our best today and we weren't at our best against Dagenham on Saturday, admits Bromley assistant Alan Dunne
Bromley 0 – 1 Sutton United
|Location||Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF|
BROMLEY 0-1 SUTTON UNITED
Vanarama National League
Bank Holiday Monday 28th August 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane
BROMLEY assistant manager Alan Dunne says his players must react to suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time this season that puts them out of the play-off zone into eighth-place after seven games.
Bitter-rivals Sutton United leapfrogged over Dagenham & Redbridge to rise to the summit of the Vanarama National League table, courtesy of a thunderous first-half strike from winger Craig Eastmond.
Bromley went into the Bank Holiday weekend in second-place but they were crushed 5-1 at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday and boss Neil Smith made five changes to the team today and his players failed to turn up to this massive derby during a first half that Paul Doswell’s side dominated.
Bromley pressed and won every battle during their memorable 6-1 home thrashing of relegated Leyton Orient on 15 August, but today they lacked the same desire to do that against their old Isthmian League rivals.
Sutton United shut-up shop during the second half and referee Simon Barrow allowed them to get away with timewasting, with goalkeeper Jamie Butler and right-back Nicky Bailey the main culprits.
Dunne said: “Disappointing, yes, second half we grew into the game better. We made some changes there today, the boys coming in haven’t played a lot of football recently and you could see that early on, but they grew into the game better in the second half.
“We had chances but I think they played the game well, Sutton, they managed the game well. They’ve got some experienced players in there and they slowed it down. They were winning free-kicks and they were playing the game well. They’re an experienced side in that sense.”
When asked why Smith made so many chances for the game, following their humiliation in Essex at the weekend, Dunne replied: “A couple of players were struggling, two games in three days is tough on some of the players, tough loads, so it gave a chance for players to come in, give them a chance and see what they can do so and the boys got 90 minutes under their belts.”
Sutton United were the dominant force during the first half, but it could have been so different had Bromley grabbed the lead after only 147 seconds.
The recalled Jordan Higgs headed the ball to Luke Wanadio, who hooked the ball through to striker Brett Williams, who from the right-hand side of the penalty area, had time to compose himself but he lashed his right-footed drive over the top of the near post from 10-yards.
That was the best that off-colour Bromley could muster as Sutton United were to be denied a deserved lead inside the first five minutes.
Kieron Cadogan played a slick one-two with lone striker Moses Emmanuel, who set-up Cadogan but David Gregory was swiftly off his line to make a vital block on the edge of his six-yard box.
“They’re going to have chances, aren’t they, but in terms of us we didn’t start as we wanted to start,” admitted Dunne.
“We looked a little bit nervous at times, a little bit rusty at times and it took us 45 minutes to get our heads around and get going and I felt we grew into it second half. In the end we could’ve nicked a point out of it.”
Cadogan then issued Bromley a warning when he bent a right-footed shot around the far post from 20-yards, from the other side of the pitch.
Bromley weathered the initial storm and Kristian Campbell – Bromley’s defensive weak-link at left-back during the first half on his National League debut – looped the third of his five long throws into the box. Williams flicked the ball out to Wanadio, who swept his shot on the turn high and wide from 20-yards.
Sutton United left Bromley off the hook with a glorious chance to take the lead in the 19th minute.
A big kick from Butler bounced over Ben Wynter’s head and this let in Anthony Jeffrey down the left channel. His low cross came out to holding midfielder Simon Walton, who drilled a low shot towards goal, which bounced off Cadogan on the edge of the six-yard box and flashed just past the foot of the right-hand post.
Dunne added: “They had a couple of chances early on and they could’ve scored from that!”
Sutton United deserved their lead when it arrived with 24 minutes on the clock.
Josh Taylor played a low pass in from the right and former Bromley striker Emmanuel teed up Eastmond, who lashed his shot into the top corner of the net from eight-yards.
“Good finish, it was a well-worked goal from them,” admitted Dunne.
“We’ll look back at it in the next couple of days and we’ll try to eradicate those tiny mistakes and tiny margins that can be the difference in a game like today. Football is tiny margins, tiny percentages. If we can cut them out and work on that and learn from them, we might have a point.”
Referee Simon Barrow got out his white spray on to the artificial pitch before Bailey could float over a free-kick from the right towards the near post but Louis John came up from the back to send his downward header into David Gregory’s hands from five-yards.
Taylor played in another low pass from the right and Emmanuel’s shot rolled across Gregory on the angle but the Bromley keeper made sure the ball went behind for a corner, diving low to his right to tip the ball behind.
Bromley had a three minute spell at the end of the first half where they started to play.
Wanadio headed the ball out to George Porter who burst down the left and his low cross was cleared out by Sutton United’s left-back Aswad Thomas.
Porter cut the ball back to Frankie Raymond, who floated in a cross and Josh Rees’ header deflected off Taylor’s shoulder and sailed past the post.
Raymond delivered a free-kick towards the edge of the penalty area and central defender Dan Johnson’s free-header sailed into Butler’s hands for a comfortable catch.
“They were unlucky,” said the former Millwall defender.
“A little bit of anticipating the ball that’s going in and just getting there a little bit earlier, rather than waiting and making a decision. That little bit of anticipation, things that we can work on.”
Bromley put in a poor first half performance and when asked his thoughts at the break, Dunne replied: “We just said to them, we need to start to get a foothold in the game before we can start doing anything. It ain’t going to be a tippy-tappy game, we’ve got to try to get it forward early and try to pin them back.”
Bromley showed signs of recovery when they upped their tempo and desire levels and went close to grabbing an equaliser after 107 seconds.
Bailey charged into Williams down the left and went down like a sack of potatoes despite committing the foul in the first place and got away with it!
Higgs swung in the resulting free-kick, which was cleared out to Wynter, the Bromley right-back put the ball into the box and Jack Holland threw himself at the ball to nod just past the foot of the left-hand post from six-yards.
“We didn’t test the keeper enough going forward, which we wanted to do more,” said Dunne.
“We had enough set-pieces to try to get a couple of more connections on it and we didn’t in that sense, so things that we can work on.”
But with 10 minutes into the second half, Sutton keeper Butler took an age to take every goal-kick, Bailey took an age to do everything and the referee failed to flash yellow cards at the pair for constantly timewasting, which frustrated Bromley’s players and the home fans in the crowd of 2,239.
Dunne said: “I felt a lot of the referee’s decisions were poor. He’s just an inexperienced ref we haven’t seen, they’re experienced players. The ref didn’t look as though he was experienced enough to see what they were doing. It’s obvious at times, they did it well. It’s part of football, good luck to them, they got away with it!”
Thanks to Doswell’s negative tactics, the next chance arrived with 20 minutes remaining.
Cadogan stroked his right-footed free-kick from 25-yards straight down Gregory’s throat.
Taylor then went close when he was given space in behind the Bromley defence to curl his left-footed shot around the top of the far post from 10-yards as Sutton United found pockets of space as Bromley were throwing men forward.
Gregory launched a big free-kick forward and Rees looped his header just over the crossbar from 16-yards with five minutes of this uninspiring game left.
“We fancied ourselves to get one,” said Dunne.
“In the last 15 we went 3-4-3 we tried to go for it to try to nick a draw out of it. It wasn’t to be. It wasn’t our day, it was Sutton’s day, they played it well. They managed it well. I felt we deserved a draw at the very least but we’ll learn from it, we’ll move on, there’s a long way to go.”
Three players missed the ball inside the Bromley penalty area and the ball fell at Thomas’ feet but the left-back placed his shot just past the left-hand post.
Bromley almost snatched a last-gasp equaliser when Raymond’s deep corner came to Higgs, but the midfielder lacked composure and steered his low shot past the near post.
To add insult to injury, Sutton United rose to the summit on this showing on 15 points, while Bromley slip out of the extended play-off zone into eighth-place with 11 points in the bag.
“Disappointed but we’ve had a tough start for the opening seven or eight games of the season, tough, a tough, very, very tough start,” said Dunne.
“The boys are still learning, we’re still finding our feet but we’ve had a bitter disappointment now, so it’s how we react to it. It ain’t going to be pats on the back and now they’ve got to clear their heads and re-charge.
“This is football, football is a game of ups and downs. Life is full of ups and downs. It’s going to be like that every season and it’s how you come through it, every team goes through it.”
Bromley travel to Wrexham on Saturday, a side that climbed up into fourth-place on 12 points following their 1-0 at Boreham Wood today.
“A tough place to go, but we had a good result against them last year,” said Dunne.
“In this League, everyone’s beatable and you can lose on your day if you’re not with it. We’ve got to go there and we’ve got to try to eradicate and learn from the mistakes we’ve made in the last two games, get that bit of confidence back, maybe get an early goal and then we’ll grow into it.
“We weren’t at our best today and we weren’t at our best against Dagenham on Saturday, but we’ve got a couple of days to clear our heads now.
“I still think 11 points from where we are at the moment is not a bad return. Look, we’ve got games coming up now where we can put it right. It’s a long old season. There’s 39 games left, it’s a long way to go and I think we’ll be there or there abouts.
“We’ve got a target after 12 games and at the moment we’re still on for that target.”
Bromley: David Gregory, Ben Wynter, Kristian Campbell (Iffy Allen 80), Josh Rees, Dan Johnson, Jack Holland, Luke Wanadio (Adam Mekki 72), Frankie Raymond, Brett Williams (Louis Dennis 68), George Porter, Jordan Higgs.
Subs: Alan Dunne, Ben Chorley
Booked: Frankie Raymond 45, Brett Williams 63, Luke Wanadio 69
Sutton United: Jamie Butler, Nicky Bailey, Aswad Thomas, Simon Walton, Louis John, Jamie Collins, Craig Eastmond, Anthony Jeffrey (Kenny Davis 58), Moses Emmanuel (Craig Dundas 71), Josh Taylor, Kieron Cadogan (Tommy Wright 76).
Subs: Kevin Amankwaah, Dan Spence
Goal: Craig Eastmond 24
Booked: Josh Taylor 45
Attendance: 2,239 (274 away)
Referee: Mr Simon Barrow (Wilnecote, Staffordshire)
Assistants: Mr Ricky Adams (Northfleet) & Mr Dele Sotimirin (Stratford, London E20)
Fourth Official: Mr Graeme Ions (Tunbridge Wells)
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