There's lots that could happen before we get to Monday's Kent Senior Cup Final, says Steve Brown
The Fleet travel to Hayes Lane on Saturday already in the Skrill South Play-Off Final after thrashing Bromley 4-0 in last night’s first leg.
Ben May tapped home his 12th goal of the season after only 62 seconds and Bromley were reduced to ten-men when Ashley Nicholls was sent off for a handball on the line in an almighty goalmouth scramble and Billy Bricknell converted the resulting penalty to score his 21st goal of the season to give Brown’s side a 2-0 lead inside nine minutes.
It was confirmed last night that Nicholls, 32, will be suspended for the second leg on Saturday.
Fleet right-back Joe Howe drilled home his first goal of the season on the hour, before Daryl McMahon slotted the ball through keeper Joe Welch’s legs to make it four with ten minutes remaining to the delight of the home fans in the 1,693 crowd at Stonebridge Road.
Bromley must pull off their greatest ever come back in their 122-year history if they are to reach the play-off final on Saturday, 10 May.
In the other semi-final, Craig Dundas headed Sutton United into the lead within the opening minute, before Dover Athletic levelled through Moses Ademola two minutes before the break.
Chris Kinnear takes his Dover side to Gander Green Lane on Saturday with the best away league record, with 13 wins on the road and the best bet would be for an Ebbsfleet United-versus-Dover Athletic play-off final.
If that is the case then the two Kent sides will meet each other twice in six days.
The two Kent clubs lock horns in the Kent Senior Cup Sponsored by Portablefoodlights.com Final at Gillingham’s Preistfield Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday, 5 May (3:00pm).
Brown, 41, who lives in Haywards Heath, faces a selection headache, especially as his side could face Kinnear’s twice in a week.
He said: “I know you’re not going to like the answer to this, but I won’t think about it until Saturday night – or I might not even think about it Saturday night. I might just think about it Sunday and then get up Monday and go to Gillingham and see what bodies come out of Saturday’s game, see whose fit, see who’s struggling, see if anybody picks up an injury or we get a sending off.
“There’s lots that could happen before we get to Monday.
“Like I said to you before, I’m fully aware of the game as are they and we’ve got to concentrate on Saturday first and getting through to the (Skrill South Play-Off) Final that was our aim to get ourselves in front. We’ve done that. Our aim now is to go and secure the win over the two legs and push on into the final and then obviously I’ll look at Monday after that.
“I’ve known there’s been a Kent Senior Cup Final for weeks and weeks and weeks against Dover and I haven’t afforded myself to even think about it.”
The fear, although not confirmed by either manager, is that both clubs might field more inexperienced squads for Monday’s Kent Senior Cup Final and that would be a shame for The Kent FA, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary of the county’s most prestigious cup competition.
“I think he’ll (Kinnear) have his work cut out picking a side and getting a performance out of his players at Sutton and then he’ll probably, like me, think about his team Sunday or Monday so it really is the positioning of the final is unfortunate,” said Brown.
“The two teams that are in it are in the play-offs and that does make it in terms of the tie, it makes it a little bit….I wish it was a week before almost or a week after the (play-off) final.
“It is delicate for both clubs in terms of what personnel you’re going to put out.”
Meanwhile, Bromley’s Hayes Lane ground stages the Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Final between Corinthian and Beckenham Town next Monday (3pm).
Beckenham Town won their first trophy last month when they beat Ashford United 4-0 to win the Kent Senior Trophy Final, which was staged at Tonbridge Angels’ Longmead Stadium and Jason Huntley’s side could win their second when they play against a Corinthian side that have been runners-up in the competition for the past two years, losing to VCD Athletic and then Erith & Belvedere.
The Deres clinched the Kent League and Cup double last season under Micky Collins, who officially starts his new job as the manager of Sevenoaks Town today.
Erith & Belvedere were relegated after one season in the Ryman League Division One North, finishing bottom on 22 points (6 wins, 4 draws) from their 46 league games.
Visit Ebbsfleet United’s website: www.ebbsfleetunited.co.uk
Bromley v Ebbsfleet United
Skrill South Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg
Saturday 3rd May 2014
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF