We've got to believe that we can score four goals against them, says Bromley boss Mark Goldberg
The Ravens went down to a bitterly disappointing 4-0 defeat away to Ebbsfleet United at Stonebridge Road last night in the first leg of their Skrill South play-off semi-final.
Last week the club celebrated finishing in their highest ever position in seven seasons at that level, finishing in third-place in the table.
Mark Goldberg’s side also scored the most goals in the entire division with 82 and possessed the league’s leading goalscorers with striker Bradley Goldberg ( 23) and winger Pierre Joseph-Dubois with eighteen.
But with 180 minutes of football due to be played, Bromley’s hopes of reaching the play-off final on 10 May, took a blow after only 500 seconds when Ebbsfleet United raced into a 2-0 lead.
Ben May stabbed home a Daryl McMahon corner to give Steve Brown’s side the lead after only 62 seconds, before Bromley midfielder Ashley Nicholls was red-carded for a handball on the line following a scramble.
Billy Bricknell stepped up to score the resulting penalty and Bromley were facing a mountain to climb after only 500 seconds.
Ebbsfleet United added a third though Joe Howe’s first goal of the season on the hour mark – which virtually send them through to the final – before Daryl McMahon slotted home a fourth in the last ten minutes.
All seems dead and buried for Bromley.
Bromley’s chances of reaching the play-off final are now rated between 0-10% - but there are still at least 90 minutes to play for at Hayes Lane on Saturday.
Bromley must keep a clean sheet and must score four goals in front of their own fans, who were excellent at Stonebridge Road last night.
If scores are level after 90 minutes then the game will go into extra-time. Away goals do not count in Conference play-offs.
If Bromley do pull it off then the club will go into the history books and it will go down as the club’s biggest ever comeback in their entire history.
The Hayes Lane faithful feel down in the dumps following the final whistle last night – but football has a habit of bringing up freak results, even in Conference South.
The official history page on Hayes & Yeading United’s website says it can be done – and it happened in 2009.
“Looking dead and buried at 4-0 down after 50 minutes of the semi-final first leg, only a dreamer would have predicted a place in the final,” wrote the Middlesex club, who suffered relegation on the last day of this season after Barry Cogan’s 87th minute sealed a 2-1 win for Dover Athletic last Saturday, who grabbed fifth-place and were held to a 1-1 draw by runners-up Sutton United in last night’s first leg at Crabble.
“Dreams do come true though and two late first leg goals and a 4-0 extra time victory in the second leg at Eastleigh saw the final reached.
“A tight final ensured but Hampton & Richmond were seen off by the odd goal in five and promotion was achieved to the pinnacle of non-league football.”
Goldberg issued an apology following last night’s game, saying “He said: “We’re sorry! I apologise to the Bromley fans for our overall performance tonight. I certainly didn’t see that coming!”
But he vowed last night to give it one last shot in front of the Hayes Lane faithful.
He said: “What we do need, hopefully, is for everyone to give us as much support as they can on Saturday and they’ll try and put it right as best as they can. We’re going to have to get goals.
“They scored four against us. We’ve got to believe that we can score four against them. We’re going to have a go on Saturday and try.
“It’s going to be a massive task for us but we’re going to go there believing we can get back in the game, give it the best chance we can.”
Bromley report to training tonight and Goldberg and his coaches, including Neil Smith and Hugo Langton must inspire their troops to pull off a miracle.
Bromley have scored five goals at Hayes Lane this season. They thrashed Tonbridge Angels 6-1 on 24 August, and humiliated Chelmsford City under the floodlights on 5 November and Maidenhead United were dispatched 6-1 as recently as 22 March.
But they will have to do it without Nicholls, who serves his suspension on Saturday.
One word is written twice on The Liam Daish Stand at Stonebridge Road and that word is “believe.”
It’s not over until the fat lady sings.
Meanwhile, Hayes Lane stages the Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Final between Corinthian and Beckenham Town on Bank Holiday Monday, 5 May (3:00pm).
Admission prices have been set, £8 for adults and concessions at half-price.
Corinthian have reached the final for three years on the bounce, losing their two previous finals to VCD Athletic and Erith & Belvedere.
Beckenham Town won their first trophy last month when they beat Ashford United 4-0 in the Kent Senior Trophy Final at Tonbridge Angels’ Longmead Stadium.
Mark Goldberg and Jerry Dolke (owner) both played together for Beckenham Town in their playing days.
Once the dust settles, Bromley can look back on their best ever campaign at this level with a sense of pride.
To challenge full-time, big-spending outfit Eastleigh for the league title, finishing six points behind the Spitfires is something that every Bromley fan can be proud off and make the club stronger next season.
Visit Bromley’s website: www.bromleyfc.net
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