Bromley 1-2 Welling United - I'm looking at a different team and that's my job to get them back to where they were, vows angry Bromley boss Neil Smith

Saturday 14th January 2017
Bromley 1 – 2 Welling United
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 14/01/2017 15:00

The Buildbase FA Trophy Second Round
Saturday 14th January 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

WELLING UNITED joint caretaker manager Harry Wheeler says he was pleased with his players’ reaction after causing an upset in The Buildbase FA Trophy Second Round.

The Wings arrived at Hayes Lane sitting in the bottom six in the Vanarama National League South with 24 points from as many games, while Bromley are thirteenth-place in the Vanarama National League with 38 points from 28 games.

Both sides made three changes from their last game.  Wheeler and Tristan Lewis’s first game in caretaker charge was their 2-0 defeat at Hemel Hempstead Town last weekend, after taking over from Gillingham bound Jamie Day, who won all six of his games in charge after taking over from owner Mark Goldberg in the dug-out.

Bromley enjoyed a 100% record in December, but 2017 has started poorly with back-to-back league defeats to Sutton United (0-2) and Forest Green Rovers (1-5) and the news that central defender Rob Swaine handed in a transfer request earlier in the week before returning to his former club Billericay Town, two leagues lower in the Ryman Premier League and Reece Prestedge has signed for Maidstone United on loan for the rest of the season and assistant manager Steve Lovell quit to return to Gillingham to join Day and Adrian Pennock.

Bromley opened the scoring through Jack Holland’s back-heel, but Welling United won it through two former Bromley players, a curler from central midfielder Danny Waldren, before striker Adam Coombes scored his 30th goal of the season with a sublime free-kick seven minutes from time.

The Hayes Lane pitch was under snow yesterday and the game was doubtful this morning but the efforts from groundsman Ian Jordan and his team ensured the 64th game of the season at the ground went ahead, although the pitch was not up to National League standard.

“After the start which wasn’t quite good enough we settled into the game and I thought we were the better team first half and second half,” said Wheeler during the post-match press conference.

“I think overall we had a few more chances. We looked a little bit vulnerable when they were attacking and that was our set-up defensively.  But Overall, I thought we deserved to win the game.”

When asked what it meant to beat Bromley today, Wheeler replied: “It’s just a little bit of a confidence boost really after the reaction of last week and I was disappointed with the whole performance and the whole standard of last week (at Hemel Hempstead).  All I said to them last week was to worry about the reaction and that’s their reaction so it means it’s great for the club, it’s great for where we could go in the competition but on a personal level and as a team hopefully means we start picking up a bit more momentum because the league is very important.”

Bromley boss Neil Smith took over an hour to face the questions in the post-match press conference.

He said: “Very disappointed. We’ve had a couple of games like that now.  You go 1-0 up and you think you’re controlling it. It was a soft goal to give away again and then we just didn’t perform how we’ve been doing and know we can do. 

“To give a free-kick, like we were saying, ‘don’t give free-kicks away on the edge of the box’ and Coombsie does what Coombsie can do.

“Overall disappointed with everyone of them today and let them know it

“We started off well and we got the goal and I think they went into comfy mode.  I think they thought it was just going to be that easy and got ourselves in a rut.  The ball goes in, nobody to touch it from the wing and then that gave them a lift. 

“We had the goal disallowed and it was just poor the second half, was just non-existent and very, very disappointed.

“Listen, if it would’ve been a draw I would’ve been disappointed because we just didn’t do anything that we’ve been telling the boys to do.  It’s a difficult pitch, you play to the conditions and you might have to turn them a couple of times but we didn’t.   We played right into them. Sean Francis came in and dominated for them in defence and we didn’t have any imagination on what we could do after that.

“If we came in with a draw I would’ve been very disappointed but to lose it like the way we did, I’m very angry!”

Welling United created the first chance when Waldren’s pass was not cut out by Blair Turgott and gave winger Christian Nanetti the licence to run forward.  The talented winger cut into the box before powering a left-footed drive which screamed over the top of the near post.

Smith said: “It’s the wake-up call. We know what Nanetti can do and then I think we’ve dominated then until we got the goal.”

Wheeler said: “After the goal it was a good start. I mean the first two minutes of the game we had a few attacks and then they scored in the first six minutes – but it’s the reaction after that.

“We said after last week’s result it was about the reaction of the whole team and to go a goal down and then react again is excellent and that’s all that mattered really.”

Bromley opened the scoring with five minutes and 16 seconds into the game through Holland’s second goal of the season.

Waldren fouled Lee Minshull some 35-yards from goal on the right and Joe Anderson swung in the resulting free-kick from the right.

Adam Cunnington jumped up with Sean Francis and the ball dropped in the six-yard box and an unmarked Holland back-healed his shot into the back of the net.

“The set-play was always something that we’re going to work on at both ends believe it or not, so when we got the goal I think that eased a few nerves because people are a bit nervous at the moment after the couple of results that we’ve had,” said Smith.

“Even though we’ve gone 15 games with only four defeats everyone starts panicking like they do, so I thought we then started controlling the game.”

Wheeler added: “Scrappy goal! We said beforehand they’re strong from set-pieces and first set-piece they had we didn’t deal with it.  You don’t deal with things like that in games and then you’re chasing so that’s something that we need to look at and at the same time it’s not been a massive problem of ours, we don’t concede many from set-pieces.

“They’re a National League side and they’re all strong on set-pieces. Unfortunately, it was a scrappy goal to concede.”

Bromley central midfielder Jordan Higgs stroked a shot from the left-hand corner of the box, which rolled comfortably into the hands of returning Chris Lewington.

Welling United’s next chance arrived in the tenth minute following their first corner of the game.

Sam Hatton drove in a low corner from the right and Coombes nipped in front of his man to flick his shot straight into Alan Julian’s hands from the corner of the six-yard box.

Coombes then shrugged past Higgs in midfield before cutting inside and unleashing a left-footed drive from 35-yards, which was palmed over by Julian, high to his left.

Bromley were denied a second goal through an offside flag in the 19th minute.

Turgott’s initial low cross from the right, which was intended for the returning Bradley Goldberg inside the box was cut out by Matt Fish. The ball came back to Turgott, who’s cross found Louis Dennis, who swept the ball into the bottom corner from an offside position.

Waldren spread the ball out wide to Nanetti, whose progress was blocked by Anderson, so the ball was cut back to Fish. The right-back clipped a nice ball in behind towards the corner of the six-yard box for Coombes to spin in the box and Holland came across and got a vital toe to the ball to put the ball behind for a corner.

This was a good spell of pressure from Welling United and the equalising goal was inevitable and truly deserved when it arrived with 30 minutes and 34 seconds on the clock.

Waldren received the ball and curled the ball into the box with his right-foot 35-yards from goal.  Striker Harry Crawford slid in to try to poke the ball past Julian, but he didn’t get a touch and from Waldren’s cross the ball bounced into the far corner.

Wheeler said: “When you get good deliveries into the box, anything can happen.  I thought theirs was a good delivery, it caused chaos. Ours was a brilliant delivery towards the back stick and our centre forward running across the goalkeeper’s line caused a problem and the ball went in.  It’s all about the delivery and the cross really.”

Smith added: “Again, it shouldn’t have gone to Danny Waldren out on the wing. We’ve just got to not dive in, not to get too tight. It got played out back to him, out of his body, he curled it in and it just goes straight in. Again, it’s a very soft goal from our point of view.”

Bromley squandered a glorious chance to progress through to the next round through Blair Turgott, Bromley’s 12-goal winger, who was playing League Two football for Leyton Orient last season.

Goldberg released Turgott in behind Rickie Hayles and only had Lewington to beat from 20-yards, but the Welling keeper stood tall and then smothered the ball low to his left to turn the ball behind for a corner.

“I think if that goes in from Blair going in at half-time with a 2-1 lead it changes the shape of the game,” said Smith.

“You would’ve put your house on Blair probably a month ago scoring that. He worked really hard today, I think that was one of his better games for the last two or three games but the keeper stayed up and made it hard for him.”

Welling United warmed up three goalkeepers before the game but Wheeler was full of praise for Lewington for keeping his club in the competition in the 39th minute.

He said: “At that point of the game that’s a massively important decision.  Chris is very good one-on-one. It’s not the first time he’s done it. He done one the other week at Margate on Boxing Day. He stays high for quite a long time, doesn’t make the decision for the striker. I think Chris coming back in after not necessarily being fit was an excellent thing to do.”

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the break.

Whatever Smith said, his players ignored because Bromley’s second half performance was unacceptable.

The Bromley boss said: “We knew all we had to do was create the chances, a little ball into Brad (Goldberg) or Blair (Turgott) or Louis (Dennis). We had a goal disallowed as well.  We knew what we had to do but the second half, for whatever reason, they just didn’t get going and it was one of them as the game went on, it was just make sure you don’t make a mistake.”

Wheeler added: “We thought we were the better side so it was momentum and making sure we carried on for the second half.

“When you’re pushing on with that same work ethic and we felt that we went in with the momentum so it was just keeping that good habit and go out second half and repeat it.”

An otherwise quiet Welling winger Pierre Joseph-Dubois played the ball inside to Sam Hatton, whose left-footed drive from 25-yards deflected past the right-hand post inside the opening five minutes of the second half.

Welling United were miles better than Bromley during the second half.

Harry Crawford cut in from the left to a central position before drilling a left-footed shot which was palmed over from Julian, before Crawford headed Hatton’s resulting corner over.

Wheeler said: “We had a few chances, nothing clear-cut. Harry had another one.  I thought Harry Crawford was excellent as well with Coombsie. He got his variance a little bit wrong but we had a few chances.

“We felt it was a matter of time when we was going to push and actually it came from a set-piece in the end.”

Smith added: “I think they were comfy heights for someone like Alan Julian.  That was the problem.

“We’re looking back at when we could’ve had chances when the ball was coming in the box, just hit it first time and we’re having an extra touch and when the confidence goes in a player when they’re playing high that would’ve been hit first time, we’re having two or three touches.”

Waldren then stung Julian’s fingers with a right-footed snap-shot from 30-yards in the 56th minute.

But both sides struggled to come to terms with a cut-up pitch and the second half was a battle.

Smith said: “It’s a battle for both teams. Up until yesterday afternoon it was going to be very doubtful it was going to be on so the fact that the groundsman got it on, Ian Jordan takes full credit for that.

“It wasn’t pretty out there and the problem with us we tried to play in the wrong areas. We want to get the ball wide and down the side and we didn’t and when we did we caused a few problems.  Yes, well done Ian for getting the game on.”

“We knew that before we came here,” said Wheeler, who was St Albans City manager when he last came to Hayes Lane.

“I mean I haven’t been here since I was with St Albans and we played Bromley the season they got promoted (from Conference South) and it wasn’t great then and we knew after the weather in the week it was never going to be great so it was a battle and it was always going to be a battle but that’s where you find out about players.”

When asked what he found out about his players today, Wheeler replied: “That they can dig-in, they can play the situation when they need to. Some of them showed me they can manage the game and you can’t really play nice and polite pretty football, especially not today and they showed me they can adapt to the surroundings and some of them that maybe can be seen as flair players, they dealt with it and I thought they played really well.”

Bromley created nothing in the final third.  Anderson swung in their second corner from the left on the hour-mark and Lee Minshull rose to guide his header across goal only for Hatton to head the ball away.

Wheeler was pleased about this, saying, “The back four were superb, the back four and the keeper so the back five were brilliant.

“I felt we nullified everything about them. We looked at their threats and we just tried to put as much information as we could beforehand in the changing room and go out there and hopefully they’d adhere to what we wanted them to do and I thought they done it very well.”

Poor Bromley lost the corner count by 3-9 and Anderson swung in their last corner in the 71st minute.

Minshull met the ball with a hooked attempt that looped up rather than towards goal and Cunnington retrieved the ball, reached the by-line and his cross came out to Minshull, who hooked his shot over the bar from 15-yards.

“Look, we didn’t create anything,” admitted Smith.

“Lee had a shot, at least he took the responsibility to get a shot off where as others were talking the easy option of trying to walk it in the back of the net.

“Look at the surface out there and you’ve got a goalkeeper that’s injured and we’re trying to walk it in – just hit the target!”

Welling right-back Fish floated in a deep free-kick from the right flank which was met by Waldren on the edge of the box, which the former Bromley midfielder glanced harmlessly wide.

But Welling United deservedly won the game with a special moment from Coombes, the goal timed at 37:54 in the second half.

Cunnington, who lost every header to the immense Sean Francis all game, was at fault for Bromley’s FA Trophy exit by sticking out his knee to bring down Fish as he cut in from the right.

Up stepped Coombes, who drilled his right-footed shot over the wall and across Julian into the top far corner of the net from 26-yards.

Welling United must put Coombes on a contract because he will be much sought after with that sort of goalscoring record.

“Brilliant strike. It’s probably the second best one to the one at Dartford that he did the same but great strike,” hailed Wheeler.

“He’s got a lot of quality Adam as you’ve seen.  The free-kick was his right-foot, he’s got a lot of ability.  Look, it’s not surprising how many goals he’s got this season. He’s got a lot of talent the boy and hopefully he keeps it going.”

Smith said: “We shouldn’t be giving the free-kick away in the first place, that’s what’s disappointing. You’re giving people a chance to have a shot at you when before we’ve been very, very solid.

“Adam Coombes, I thought was excellent today, absolutely led the line brilliantly and took his goal. As soon as he took the free-kick out there we’re standing behind it, as soon as he struck it we knew it was in. It took a deflection, it takes it up, up and over and even if it hadn’t taken a deflection it would’ve made Alan Julian have to work for it.”

Smith was right to issue an apology towards the end of the press conference for another poor Bromley performance.

“I want them to do what they were doing in December and November and that’s rolling their sleeves up and get stuck in,” said Smith, who needs four more wins from the last 18 league games to retain his home-town club’s top-flight status.

“I keep harping back to the Macclesfield game (a 2-1 away win on 17 December live on BT Sport) where they were working together, there was a buzz about the place and now I’m looking at them today and I’m looking at them in the changing room and it’s like I’m looking at a different team and that’s my job to get them back to where they were and if it means we have to go back to basics and we’re not very pretty then that’s what we’ve got to do.

“It’s The Trophy, I’ve been there, I made the Final with Woking and every game is your Final and I put on the board in the dressing room four games away from Wembley so the disappointment was it’s going to be a tough season anyway but it would’ve been nice every now and then to be going in a Trophy where you can give something back to the supporters’. We just didn’t give them anything today, but I do apologise to the supporters because they do deserve a better cup run and I truly believe we could’ve done it.”

Dartford crashed out of the competition losing 1-0 at home to their Vanarama National League rivals Chelmsford City at Princes Park and Tony Burman brings his side to Welling United next Saturday. Dartford are presently in sixth-place with 44 points from 23 games, a point behind fifth-placed St Albans City.

“Dartford have done well recently got a big result the other day. It will be a tough game but I think all games in this league are tough now so it’s going to be tough the whole time,” said Wheeler.

Welling United, who defeated Concord Rangers (3-1) and Hythe Town (8-1) in The Buildbase FA Trophy this season, are now four wins away from playing at Wembley Stadium for the first time in their history after today’s deserved win.

Bromley, meanwhile, needed two games to see off Ryman Premier League side Leiston, a 1-1 draw at home was followed by a 5-3 win in Suffolk in the First Round.

Wheeler added: “Literally, like we are in the league, we’re taking it game-by-game and we’re going to do the same for that as well so who knows, anything’s possible.”

Bromley: Alan Julian, Jordan Wynter, Joe Anderson, Lee Minshull, Daniel Johnson, Jack Holland, Blair Turgott, Jordan Higgs (Connor Dymond 84), Bradley Goldberg (George Porter 70), Adam Cunnington, Louis Dennis (David Martin 63).
Subs: Thomas O’Conner, Max Huxter

Goal: Jack Holland 6

Booked: Joe Anderson 89

Welling United: Chris Lewington, Matt Fish, Jordan Brown, Sam Hatton, Rickie Hayles, Sean Francis, Christian Nanetti (Archie Johnson 90), Danny Waldren, Harry Crawford, Adam Coombes, Pierre Joseph-Dubois (Daniel Walker 78).
Subs: Harry Girling, Trey Williams, Ali Fuseini

Goals: Danny Waldren 31, Adam Coombes 83

Booked: Sean Francis 65, Adam Coombes 84, Sam Hatton 86

Attendance: 593 (83 away)
Referee: Mr Carl Brook (St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Paul Yates (Maidstone) & Mr Oliver Jackson (Sittingbourne)
Fourth Official: Mr Dele Sotimirin (Stratford, London E20)

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