Bromley 7-1 Workington - Now we're in the Quarter-Final stage it's within touching distance. We need to turn it on now and get to the Final, says Bromley striker Louis Dennis

Tuesday 06th February 2018
Bromley 7 – 1 Workington
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 06/02/2018 19:45

The Buildbase FA Trophy Third Round Replay
Tuesday 6 February 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY two-goal striker Louis Dennis says reaching The Buildbase FA Trophy Final is within touching distance now that the club have reached the Quarter-Finals for the first time in their history.

The Ravens grabbed a 1-1 draw up in Cumbria at the weekend, courtesy of Jack Holland’s 79th minute header after right-back Phil McLuckie swept Workington into the lead early in the second half.

But brilliant Bromley recorded their largest ever win in The FA Trophy by thrashing the eighth-placed Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side on a bitterly cold night at an expectant Hayes Lane.

Brandon Hanlan took only two minutes and 59 seconds into his second home debut to give Bromley the lead to settle the nerves but Workington swiftly equalised through Nathan Waterston’s fifth goal of the campaign.

Workington’s play ensured it was a nervous first half for a Bromley side that went into this Third Round Replay in seventh-place in the Vanarama National League table with 50 points from 31 league outings.

That was until Dennis pulled off a magical strike just a couple of minutes before half-time, which well and truly knocked the stuffing out of part-time Workington.

Bromley were simply brilliant during a dominant second half.  George Porter and Dennis bent shots around the keeper to find the corner as Bromley raced into a commanding 4-1 lead after 69 minutes.

Dropped winger Luke Wanadio came off the bench to drill in a fifth, before Jordan Higgs, who changed Saturday’s game when he came off the bench at Borough Park, slotted in the sixth goal before Holland tapped in a seventh goal at the near post following a set-piece routine.

Bromley welcome fifth-placed Vanarama National League North side Spennymoor Town to Hayes Lane in the Quarter-Finals on 24 February, with the dream of returning to Wembley for the first time since 1949 when the legendary George Brown sealed a 1-0 win over Romford in The FA Amateur Cup Final.

“Great result! We’re through to the next round.  I would’ve taken a 1-0 win to be honest with you. It was all about getting into the Quarter-Finals, a home draw as well, so we didn’t want to miss that chance,” said Smith during the post-match press conference.

Bromley hit Workington hard and created their first chance after only 44 seconds.

Josh Rees released Higgs – who was playing wide right until Wanadio came on with 20 minutes remaining –  and he delivered a deep cross towards the far post and Porter hooked his shot wide.

But Bromley swiftly opened the scoring to settle the nerves.

Dennis ran box-to-box and his first cross was blocked and Higgs picked up the loose ball outside the box to fed the ball back to Dennis, who whipped in a low cross for Hanlan to chest the ball before hooking his shot across the keeper into the far corner from 10-yards.

Smith said: “Great start, to get off to that quick goal.  It just relaxed everybody and then Brandon has a chance to make it two and should’ve done better and I think if that goes in it makes the first half a little bit easier.”

The on-loan Charlton Athletic striker then cut into the Workington box but lost all composure by lashing his right-footed shot over the crossbar.

Workington were not going to lie down and die and they equalised with only four minutes and 28 seconds on the clock.

Striker Scott Allison played a part in the goal by slipping the ball through to Waterston, who grabbed possession on the edge of the Bromley box before striding inside to power his right-footed drive into the bottom right-hand corner from 16-yards.

“But fair play to Workington, they kept plugging away and got their goal and made it hard for us,” admitted Smith.

“Great finish! They were two great players in the last game so we knew how dangerous they’d be. 

“We were a bit sloppy defensively. We had a chat about it and just made sure it wasn’t going to happen again!”

Dennis stroked a right-footed free-kick from the left on the angle which should have been caught by Aaran Taylor, but the goalkeeper spilt the ball and an offside flag was raised in the second phase.

Frankie Raymond floated in a free-kick into Workington’s box, Rees headed the ball across goal and Porter’s hooked shot was headed away by Anthony Wright as the ball seemed destined to sail into the top far corner.

Left-winger Porter then fed Dennis down the left and after cutting inside he cracked a right-footed dipping drive just over from 30-yards.

Workington then enjoyed a decent spell that kept Bromley on their toes and it took a great save from David Gregory to prevent them taking a 23rd minute lead.

Allison played the ball inside to Wright, who laid the ball off for Jordan Holt, who drove a right-footed shot towards the bottom right-hand corner from 20-yards, only for Gregory to dive to his left to push the ball towards safety.

“Listen, they had chances up there so we knew how difficult they’d be.  I just felt we were a bit sloppy.  As good as we were going forward tonight, we were a bit sloppy in the first half defensively a little lax,” admitted Smith.

“They had a good spell, like they did at their place but we sat a little bit too deep. Second half we were a lot higher up and we were winning ball a lot higher up and we managed to hit them on the counter-attack.”

Waterston then ran the left-channel, cut into the Bromley box but his low angled drive from 16-yards was comfortably saved by Gregory at his near post.

Taylor launched a big kick, the ball was flicked on and Allison’s angled drive from the right bounced safely into the Bromley keeper’s hands.

Had Workington scored during this decent spell then there may have been alarm bells ringing but Bromley went close in the 35th minute following their second of four corners.

Raymond floated in the ball from the right towards the far post where Porter steered his header wide from inside the six-yard box.

Holland’s defensive headed clearance went sideways to Conor Tinnion – Workington’s best player over the two games – and he nipped past Luke Woolfenden, cut into the box and flashed his shot past the diving keeper and past the near post.

Dennis played the ball inside to Porter, who hit a right-footed drive towards goal from 25-yards, which was spilt by Taylor for the second time before the keeper gathered at the second attempt.

Higgs then swept a drive from similar distance, which this time was comfortably gathered by Taylor.

But Bromley opened the floodgates with their second goal, timed at 42 minutes and 38 seconds on the clock.

Raymond played a short corner to Dennis, who cut towards the corner of the penalty area and saw Taylor was out of position so he cut the ball onto his left-foot to curl a beautiful shot around the keeper into the top far corner from 25-yards.

When asked if he meant it, Dennis, 25, replied: “We work on corners, we set some up but we tried something different.  We went short and some people are going to say it’s a cross but I’m telling you it’s a shot!”

Smith added: “Look, he’s saying he meant it and I wouldn’t put anything past Louis, he’s that sort of player. When he turns it on that’s what you get out of him but he’s been brilliant all season Louis and he’s a very important player in our squad.”

Tinnion can easily play at a higher level of football and he got in behind Woolfenden to reach the by-line before centering low towards Holt at the near post, only for Holland to slam the door shut.

Bromley had to improve during the second half and Smith rallied his troops at the interval to do exactly that.

“I was disappointed with them, I had a go at them,” revealed Smith.

“I just said to them in football you get opportunities very rare and when an opportunity where you get a home draw, you’re 2-1 up, you’re at home, don’t lose that chance! We’ve got to take it and they seemed to take it for what it was and second half we were just so much more clinical.”

Woolfenden released Hanlan down the right, he cut into the box from the by-line to set up Rees, who curled his shot around the far post from 15-yards.

Porter then missed a sitter for Bromley when Rees released Hanlan down the right wing and he put it on a plate for Porter, who chested the ball past the left-hand post from a couple of yards out.

But Porter kept composed to give Bromley a 3-1 lead with seven minutes and 5 seconds into the half.

Porter threw the ball to Rees, who played the ball into Dennis, who teed up Porter, who placed his right-footed curler into the bottom far corner from 16-yards to score his sixth goal of the season.

“He said he jumped too early, it was just going behind him and you think just keep plugging away.  I wasn’t disappointed. I’d rather him shooting and missing than not taking their chances,” Smith said on Porter’s glaring miss.

“I think when that goal goes in, I made a couple of changes as well straight afterwards. We’re not going to let that game run away from us.  It looked like we were on top so I made a couple of changes just having Saturday in mind as well.”

Dennis then curled his right-footed shot into Taylor’s hands from the edge of the penalty area after a pass inside from Bromley left-back Tyrone Sterling.

Halfway through the second half and Tinnion had his big moment to bring his side back into the game but he sliced his shot towards the corner flag from 30-yards after Holland headed clear a big kick from Workington keeper Taylor.

Bromley then turned on the style and reaching the Wembley Stadium Final is not just a dream but a possibility on tonight’s second half.

Bromley’s fourth goal arrived with 23:21 on the clock as Dennis netted his 18th goal of the season.

Gregory launched a big kick, Higgs flicked the ball on and Dennis latched on to place his curler across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 15-yards.

“Again, it was a great bit of play.  I think Jordan Higgs’ may have got the last touch (into Dennis) and he just come back and flicked it with the same foot so it was a great finish,” Smith said of Dennis’s strike.

Higgs, who was now playing in the middle of the park, lashed his right-footed shot high and wide from 20-yards after being set up by Woolfenden.

Bromley raced into a 5-1 lead with 31:20 on the clock courtesy of Wanadio’s eighth goal of the season.

Rees played the ball into Dennis feet and with his back to goal he swept the ball to Wanadio, who got the ball out from underneath his feet before drilling a sublime left-footed drive in off the underside of the crossbar from 15-yards.

Smith said: “We’ve been telling him he’s got to use his left-foot more and that’s why because he can go left-side or right-side so he’s come in and he’s absolutely leathered it underside of the crossbar and in the back of the net.

“It was good for him because I rested him tonight with Saturday in mind as well and gave Jordan a game but he did everything I asked for when he came on, he was a livewire.”

Higgs then released Dennis through on goal and he had a chance to score his hat-trick but Taylor made a fine save, diving to his right to push the ball into Porter’s path but all he could do was find the side netting from a right angle.

Smith said: “You’re just hoping he can go on and get his hat-trick. When he does go through, an easier chance (than his second goal) I’d say, he doesn’t take it.  I wanted him to do it because he thoroughly deserved it.”

Holt slipped the ball through to Allison but the 16-goal Workington striker flashed his shot past the post from 16-yards after a block from Roger Johnson, who came off the bench to partner Holland at the heart of Bromley’s defence, which helped Bromley to shut up shop.

Bromley made it six with 38:47 on the clock courtesy of Higgs’ first goal of the season.

Porter played a clever ball in behind Dave Symington and Sterling was given time and space down the channel to cut the ball back for Higgs to bury a low first time right-footed shot to the keeper’s right from 10-yards.

“Great finish!  I thought Jordan Higgs had a great game tonight. I thought as a winger and when I put him into centre midfield where he wants to play,” said Smith.

“Jordan’s different class.  I had Jordan in my Academy team when I was managing them at the age of 15 so I know what he’s like and he’s developing into a very, very good player.

“He did keep us in it (on Saturday), he changed the game (when he came on in the 68th minute) and that’s why he started tonight.”

Bromley’s previous highest FA Trophy win came in season 2006-07 when East Thurrock United were beaten 6-3 here and Holland put the icing on the cake with a record breaking seventh goal with 42:34 on the clock.

Raymond floated over a deep free-kick from within the left-channel and Johnson knocked his header back and Holland couldn’t miss at the near post, poking the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.

“We’ve given Jack a target. Set-plays are vital for us in all concepts, Cup games and League games.  We’ve just said Jack should be scoring more and it does help when your centre half is knocking it into you and you’re on the goal-line but Jack shifts in with a few but we want more.”

Bromley want promotion in to the Sky Bet League Two and their next three Vanarama National League games are massive!

Sixteenth-placed Maidstone United – who suffered a 3-0 defeat at Gateshead in their FA Trophy Replay tonight – visit Hayes Lane on Saturday, before Smith takes his side to Tranmere Rovers (fourth) on 17 February and then to third-placed Aldershot Town on 20 February – before hosting Spennymoor Town in the Quarter-Finals on 24 February.

When told this was Bromley’s record win in The FA Trophy, Smith, whose side  won at Hartley Wintney and Blyth Spartans, replied: “Did not know that! Great! Apart from the score, it just means we’re in the Quarter-Finals of the FA Trophy and I said at the beginning of the season to the players it’s always a Cup you can go a long way in because you’re in the highest division.

“When the draw came out and it was a home draw it was like wow!  That’s going to be foreign to us because we’ve been travelling up and down the breath of England so I didn’t want the boys to miss that opportunity and they took it with both hands tonight.

“I’ve just said to the boys it was a great win, it was an important win tonight but we’ve got a massive game on Saturday now in the league and once we get nearer to Spennymoor I’ll be thinking about them but at the moment we’re just going to relish and enjoy the victory. But come tomorrow we’ve got to concentrate fully on Maidstone.”
Dennis, who missed Saturday’s game up on a mud-bath in Cumbria through illness, was delighted with the victory.

“Brilliant result!  I wasn’t there at their place but it seemed really tough conditions so we knew we needed a result and we got them back home and you can’t get better than that really.”

Reflecting on the first half, Dennis said: “Sometimes we make it difficult for ourselves. We did today in the first half, they matched us and I think the fitness came through and we really turned on the style in the second half.

“I think it’s tough for them, they’ve had a long, long journey after Saturday as well.  I think they tired a lot and we capitalised on it really and we opened them up.  I thought we played really well.”

Dennis signed for the club in 2013 from then League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge and he wants to make Bromley’s 125 anniversary year one to remember.

“We haven’t been good in the Cup in previous seasons so now we’re in the Quarter-Final stage it’s within touching distance.  We need to turn it on now and get to the Final.

“I think anyone in the Cup, we get them at home we fancy ourselves.  We just have to turn up with the right attitude and do what we did today.

“Wembley? Yes, I think we can get there.  100% we can get to Wembley!

“I just think as a club we’ve come a long way from where we were when I first came here. The team’s brilliant, creating chances and we’re just putting them away.”

Bromley: David Gregory, Luke Woolfenden, Tyrone Sterling, Frankie Raymond, Ben Chorley (Roger Johnson 58), Jack Holland, George Porter, Josh Rees (Luke Wanadio 70), Brandon Hanlan (Omar Bugiel 73), Louis Dennis, Jordan Higgs.
Subs: Dan Johnson, Frankie Sutherland

Goals: Brandon Hanlan 3, Louis Dennis 43, 69, George Porter 53, Luke Wanadio 77, Jordan Higgs 84, Jack Holland 88

Booked: Jordan Higgs 72

Workington: Aaron Taylor, Matty Douglas, Gari Rowntree, Anthony Wright (Tommy Whitehead 59), Josh Calvert (Rob Wilson 29), Sam Smith, Dave Symington, Nathan Waterston, Scott Allison, Jordan Holt, Conor Tinnion.
Subs: Cameron Harker, Leo Holliday, Sheldon Mossop

Goal: Nathan Waterston 5

Attendance: 604
Referee: Mr Savvas Yianni (Weston-super-Mare, Somerset)
Assistants: Mr Dele Sotimirin (Stratford, London E20) & Mr Dean Skipper (Rainham, Essex)
Fourth Official: Mr David Crick (Ewell, Surrey)

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