Bromley 0-1 Tranmere Rovers - I think we were a little bit in awe of the opposition maybe again, admits disappointed Bromley boss Mark Goldberg

Saturday 23rd January 2016
Bromley 0 – 1 Tranmere Rovers
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 23/01/2016 15:00

Vanarama National League
Saturday 23rd January 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY manager Mark Goldberg says it’s going to be tough to finish in the top ten at the end of the club’s debut Vanarama National League campaign.

The Ravens suffered their 12th league defeat of the season as Tranmere Rovers came away from Hayes Lane for the first time with three points in the bag courtesy of right-back Lee Vaughan’s first goal for the club.

The 29-year-old was actually making his second visit to Bromley, as he came on as an 79th minute substitute for Cheltenham Town in their 2-1 win on 13 October.

Bromley remain stuck in thirteenth-place on 38 points from 28 games and Gary Brabin’s side remain in eighth-place on 47 points from 30 games, two points adrift of fifth-placed Dover Athletic, who play second-placed Cheltenham Town at Crabble tomorrow.

The draw of Tranmere Rovers attracted Bromley’s largest crowd of the season as 2,218 watched a disappointing defensive display from the Ravens.

But another four wins from their remaining 18 league games will ensure their National League adventure will continue next season.

Goldberg, meanwhile, felt his side could have performed better against a giant club that finished last season at the foot of League Two.

“I was disappointed today,” said Goldberg, who guided the club to their first title for 54 years by winning the Conference South title last season.

“I didn’t think we expressed ourselves very well.  I think the game was quite well controlled by Tranmere to be honest.

“The scoreline didn’t really necessarily reflect the way the game was, with all that taken into account we still had some chances and goals change games.

“If we’d have nicked one, who knows what might’ve happened?

“Moses (Emmanuel) had one or two that you believed that he was going to score. We had the header (from Sean Francis) in the second half that was easier to nod in rather than nod over the bar!”

Bromley went into the game on a three match unbeaten run and Goldberg kept faith with the same 11 that were held to a goal-less draw at home to Southport in their last game exactly two weeks ago.

But Tranmere Rovers stamped their dominance on the game from the off and pegged Bromley into their defensive shell, the Ravens putting their bodies on the line to block shots that reigned in on Alan Julian’s goal.

It was clear that Bromley gave Tranmere Rovers too much respect during the opening 30 minutes before they ventured forward and played their usual attack minded game.

“There is a slight slope that maybe you can’t see but when you’re on the pitch you can feel it,” explained Goldberg, when asked about Tranmere being on the front foot.

“The team that’s kicking down often has a little bit of an advantage with that.”

Tranmere Rovers created the first chance after only 93 seconds but Adam Mekki stroked his right-footed free-kick over the wall and just past the left-hand post from 30-yards.

Mekki then swung in Tranmere’s first of seven corners towards the far post where Steve McNulty came up from the back to rise to nod harmlessly wide after outjumping both Bradley Goldberg and Lee Minshull at the far post.

A well-disciplined Bromley parked the bus inside their penalty area at all times when Tranmere were attacking, so Jay Harris cracked a first time right-footed volley from 40-yards, which was clawed behind for a corner by Julian, diving high to his left after 13 minutes.

“They were cutting us open a few times and Alan did really well,” said Goldberg.

“A few players were blocking shots. They had a little period, a little spell where we were homed in almost on our goal line but that’s what the game is all about, is defending as well and we got into half-time having defended well.”

Julian kept Bromley in the game with his second save after 28 minutes.

Mekki floated in a free-kick from the right towards the penalty spot where striker James Norwood was denied his tenth goal of the season, his bullet header was tipped around the post by the diving 32-year-old stopper.

Bromley created their first chance with 32 minutes on the clock when they started to venture forward.

The Ravens got bodies forward for a set-piece and Ben Chorley played a sublime through ball to put star-striker Moses Emmanuel through on goal.

The 26-year-old took a touch before sweeping his right-footed shot across the keeper and agonisingly past the far post from the corner of the six-yard box.

“We had one or two chances. If we’d scored those goals things could’ve been different,” said Bromley’s boss.

“You would’ve expected Moses to have buried that, a great opportunity.

“If we had taken one of our chances you would’ve seen a new Bromley and a more confident Bromley and I think we didn’t show that confidence that we’re capable off.

“I think we were a little bit in awe of opposition maybe again.”

Emmanuel skipped forward and danced into the Tranmere Rovers penalty area but keeper Scott Davies advanced and dived swiftly low to his right to make a vital save before the ball was cleared towards safety.

But Bromley’s resilient defending ensured they went in at the break on level terms.

“We didn’t want to paint over the cracks,” admitted Goldberg.

“We got in at nil-nil but they were a better side than us today.  The first half they cut us open and we got away with it really but to now build on that and start playing with more confidence.”

Brabin clearly demanded more from his players and they also started the second half on the front foot.

Julian was called into action for a third time, diving to his right to push away Lois Maynard’s fierce right-footed drive from 18-yards with only 133 seconds on the second half clock.

Goldberg simply admitted: “Yes, I think it’s fair to say that Alan got us out of jail there!”

Bromley then failed to clear away Mekki’s sixth corner of the game and the ball came out to an unmarked Norwood at the far post, but his speculative overhead kick looped comfortably into Julian’s gloves.

But Tranmere Rovers scored what turned out to be a deserved winner with 09:01 minutes on the second half clock.

Bradley Goldberg, who was deployed as an unfamiliar left-winger, failed to stop Mekki cutting inside him and left-back Joe Anderson.

Mekki threaded the ball into Vaughan’s feet, who drilled a right-footed shot across Julian into the far corner of the net from the right-hand corner of the box, 15-yards from goal.

“It’s easy for me to blame Brad that he didn’t do as well defensively as he should’ve done but again we’re playing him out of position and we do need to fix that problem because when we put Paul Rodgers over that side we stop that threat,” said the boss.

“It just seemed a little too easy how he got that chance to strike it but I’ll need to see it again (on video).

“But having said that, once they scored the goal they sat back a little bit and they probably looked just to defend that goal.”

Tranmere Rovers’ Mekki hit a speculative right-footed shot on the turn high over the crossbar from 30-yards just past the hour mark.

But Bromley finally clicked into gear following the double substitution of targetman Alex Wall and left-winger Adam Coombes.

Wall partnered Adam Cunnington in attack, while Emmanuel slotted in on the wing, with former Chelsea and Notts County winger Coombes looking to impress on his debut.

Bromley did, however, create chances to snatch a point.

Anderson floated in a free-kick from the right which was flicked on by Emmanuel on the edge of the penalty area but Sean Francis produced a typical central defender’s finish, nodding the ball over the crossbar from close range at the far post.

“That’s what I’m saying, if we just nick something we might’ve got another one,” added Goldberg.

Coombes danced forward showing good feet before winning Bromley a free-kick some 35-yards from goal.

Wall stepped up and powered a low right-footed free-kick through the wall which forced Davies to make a low save slightly to his right to deny Bromley an equaliser with 12 minutes left.

“He’s capable of that.  We all know no-one hits the ball more firmly with more direction and quality than Alex Wall,” said Goldberg.

“He just needs the other side of his game.  We need him to play less angry, not give free-kicks away and hit the target.”

When asked about Coombes’ 21 minute cameo debut, Goldberg said: “I think he did very well. I thought he showed some quality and he showed when you play a winger in his right position, although he can play as a striker as well, but he does know how to play as a winger. I think it’s fair to say he was able to express himself very well.”

Cunnington then turned but a poor shot rolling into the Tranmere keeper’s hands.

Bromley created one final chance at the death with Davies denying Emmanuel his 18th goal of the season.

Chorley pumped the ball forward, the ball was cleared out for Emmanuel to hit a first time drive screaming towards the far corner from just outside the box, but Davies dived to his right to push the ball around for Bromley’s second corner of the game.

Goldberg said: “That could easily gone in! 

“If we had a draw everyone would’ve been very happy all-in-all wouldn’t we? But it wasn’t to be.”

Emmanuel has been linked with a move away from Hayes Lane either during this transfer window or in the summer.

It seems Goldberg is going to leave the striker out of Tuesday’s home Kent Reliance Senior Cup Quarter-Final against holders Charlton Athletic, putting in Bradley Goldberg in a natural central position.

When asked about the striker’s current situation, Goldberg replied: “I think we’ll know in the next week. Shall we leave it like that? I have no idea, actually have no idea what’s going to happen with Moses but next week will be telling.”

When asked about playing coming in, Goldberg added: “Well we can’t do anything unless somebody goes. I do want to bring another winger in.  I have identified who I want but if there’s no movement of any sort then it might not be possible.”

Bromley are 11 points clear of the relegation zone and Goldberg wants his side to make progress up the table.

“It probably was progress from the last game but it doesn’t feel like that at the moment,” admitted Goldberg.

“I’ll judge it when I hear the response of other people in the club around the hierarchy.

“At the moment I’m feeling very low about the whole thing but I think we can’t paint over the cracks but at the same time we aren’t conceding the amount of goals we were (Bromley lost 4-0 at Prenton Park on 19 September) and now we’ve got to believe that we can score as well so it’s finding the balance.

“It was a good turnout today and we didn’t really do them justice really. It was a rather disappointing performance but we’ve lost 1-0 to a club that’s a big club and we did create chances and it wasn’t like we weren’t in the game at all so maybe we will take some positives from it.

“I wanted to finish in the top ten. It’s still possible but I certainly don’t want to be looking down the table and we’ve got some tough games coming up so we need to grab something out of the toughest game next week against Cheltenham, it’s massive.

“It’s going to be tough but I still would like to finish in the top ten.”

Charlton Athletic, meanwhile, claimed the Kent Reliance Senior Cup by beating Gillingham 1-0 in the showpiece final at Priestfield Stadium on 30 April 2015.

“I think it’s important that we get ourselves back to winning and confidence is a massive thing in football,” said Goldberg.

“Certain players need to play games so we’ll swap it a little bit on Tuesday but that doesn’t mean we’re underestimating the opposition, which obviously we can’t or showing disrespect for the cup.

“We want to win on Tuesday night but I will be giving certain players game time that need game time.”

When asked if he’d like to go all the way in the competition, Goldberg replied: “Yes we would like because we’re out of every other cup competition so it’s something that we need to win.”

Bromley: Alan Julian, Jack Holland (Adam Coombes 69), Joe Anderson, Ben Chorley, Rob Swaine, Sean Francis, Paul Rodgers, Lee Minshull, Moses Emmanuel, Adam Cunnington, Bradley Goldberg (Alex Wall 68).
Subs: Ugo Udoji, Reece Prestedge

Booked: Sean Francis 27, Ben Chorley 75

Tranmere Rovers: Scott Davies, Lee Vaughan, Matt Hill, Steve Jennings, Michael Ihiekwe, Steve McNulty, Jeff Hughes, Jay Harris, James Norwood, Adam Mekki (Gary Taylor-Fletcher 86), Lois Maynard.
Subs: Ritchie Sutton, Ian Turner, Cole Stockton, Jake Kirby

Goal: Lee Vaughan 55

Booked: Lois Maynard 10, Jeff Hughes 21, Jay Harris 83, James Norwood 90

Attendance: 2,218 (401 away)
Referee: Mr Mark Pottage (Gillingham)
Assistants: Mr Jonathan Hollier (Basingstoke, Hampshire)  & Mr Jim Paterson (Camberley, Surrey)
Fourth Official: Mr Neil Morrison (Staines, Middlesex)