Workington 1-1 Bromley – The one saving grace is we’re still in it and it gives us a second bite and we have to make sure it counts on Tuesday, says Bromley boss Neil Smith

Saturday 03rd February 2018
Workington 1 – 1 Bromley
Location Borough Park, Workington, Cumbria CA14 2DT
Kickoff 03/02/2018 15:00

The Buildbase FA Trophy Third Round
Saturday 3 February 2018
Stephen McCartney reports form Borough Park

BROMLEY captain Jack Holland says he wants to get his hands on The FA Trophy at Wembley Stadium in May after rescuing his club from a last sixteen upset in Cumbria.

Workington went into this Third Round tie sitting in seventh-place in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League table with 46 points from 29 games and despite being two leagues lower than Bromley gave the Ravens an almighty scare at Borough Park.

Workington’s muddy pitch deteriorated as the game went on and the miserable wet weather ensured Bromley couldn’t play their attractive passing game and had to battle their way to a draw.

Workington have beaten Witton Albion, Chasetown and Glossop North End, before sending Bromley’s league rivals Hartlepool United crashing out here in the First Round before the Reds needed two games to beat Vanarama National League South side Weston-super-Mare last month.

Bromley, who stayed overnight in nearby Whitehaven and were in seventh-place in the Vanarama National League table with 50 points from 31 games and only six points adrift of leaders Macclesfield Town, were playing their third away game in the competition.

They got past Evo-Stik Southern League Division One side Hartley Wintney (2-0) before Vanarama National League North side Blyth Spartans were easily despatched 4-1.

Workington were on course of causing another FA Trophy upset when right-back Phil McLuckie swept home his seventh goal of the season, before Holland’s rescue mission with 11 minutes left.

It was a quick press conference as Bromley had to swiftly jump on a coach back to Carlisle before getting the train back to London this evening.

Bromley boss Neil Smith said: “We’re still in it! Disappointed with how we started the second half.  It was a scrappy game, the conditions weren’t great but I think they adapted to it better than what we did.  They won too many second balls for my liking but we’re still in it, so I’ll give them that one.

“I’ve just walked across the pitch and the mud is going across my boots but they’re playing on it as well and they did better than we did.  We were playing in the wrong areas. With conditions like that you’re better off playing a bit more direct.

“After our recent performances that was a little bit off – but we get a second bite.”

Smith decided to keep 16-goal attacker Louis Dennis (flu) and winger Adam Mekki (ankle) at home, so in came on-loan striker Brandon Hanlan and George Porter.

“Louis Dennis is ill, couldn’t travel and Adam Mekki has a swollen ankle, not feeling great, so we decided to leave him at home as well,” revealed Smith.

“But we’ve got Brandon Hanlan coming in so it was a nice replacement and I thought Brandon looked a danger today on a horrible pitch.  On a better pitch the ball might’ve run true for him a couple more times but he showed what he’s about.  No doubt he’ll get one goal and they’ll all start coming in.”

Workington came close to opening the scoring after only 40 seconds on a pitch more akin to Sunday League football than staging a game of this magnitude.

Dave Symington and Jordan Holt linked up well down the right and striker Nathan Waterston laid the ball off to the impressive Conor Tinnion who drilled his left-footed shot across the keeper and past the far post from 16-yards.

“Again, we didn’t start great first or second half so that’s your warning sign but we didn’t take heed,” admitted Smith.

Bromley’s first chance swiftly followed during an open first 15 minutes.

Frankie Ramond delivered an outswinging corner from the left to Porter, who slipped on the edge of the box before getting back up to his feet to scuff his shot towards the bottom left-hand corner and keeper Aaran Taylor held the ball as he dived low to his right.

Josh Rees’ diagonal pass played in Omar Bugiel, but the on-loan striker from Forest Green Rovers’ dinked shot was blocked by Taylor as he rushed off his line and Matty Douglas cleared his lines.

Porter then cut the ball onto his left-foot before stroking an angled drive towards goal from the right-hand side of the penalty area, which was held by Taylor, getting down low to his right.

Referee Matthew Dicicco played a good advantage for Workington after Ben Chorley clearly fouled Workington’s 16-goal striker Scott Allison and the ball fell to Symington but the winger snatched at his shot and screamed past the far post from 25-yards.

Workington were to be denied the lead as the post saved Bromley in the 14th minute.

Porter lost the ball to a strong but fair challenge from Symington on the touchline near to the halfway line and released Waterston through on goal and after skipping over Chorley’s leg, his shot clipped the near post from 10-yards.

“They went for it,” said Smith.  “Where we started last week’s (beating Halifax Town 3-0) second half and we got at them and we took our time getting going today, whether that was the journey or the conditions I don’t know.  As I’ve said we’ve started off so well in the last few games that we let ourselves down a little bit today.”

Bromley weathered the storm, however, and Rees drove forward before clipping his left-footed shot straight into Taylor’s hands from 20-yards as he attempted to curl the ball into the top left-hand corner.

The Ravens missed a glorious chance to break the stalemate in the 35th minute.

Porter started his run on the half-way line and sprinted down the right, cut into the box and cut the ball back to 15-goal midfielder Rees, who swept his first time shot straight at Taylor from 10-yards.

Smith said: “Josh has been scoring those and when the chance comes the one person you want in there at the moment is Josh, whose scoring for fun, but he hits it straight down the keepers neck.  I think anywhere else, that’s a goal!”

But as the game went on and the rain continued to fall, Bromley’s levels of performance dropped from the 35th minute.

Symington floated in a cross into the Bromley box from the right, Bromley failed to clear their lines and the ball flashed across the box and Matty Douglas couldn’t get his flicked shot on target at the far post.

When asked his thoughts at the break, Smith said: “We’ve got to be better and we’ve got to play in the right areas and in conditions like that it is in and around their box and not in and around ours because it’s only a slip or a mistake or a bad kick in those conditions and they’re in.

“But I wanted a bit more from them because I was disappointed with the first half, although it was 0-0.”

Workington attracted their largest crowd of the season and the home fans in the 890 strong crowd were celebrating when the home side took the lead with three minutes and 40 seconds on the clock.

Symington played a left-footed diagonal which was controlled by Waterston, who drove into the box and he pulled the ball back for McLuckie to sweep his shot into the bottom right-hand corner from six-yards at the near post.

Smith said: “He took it well! In conditions like that, you hit the target, you’ve got a chance and he took full advantage.

“They’ve overlapped down the side and we didn’t track our runner and he gets a free shot so yes disappointing and it’s always going to be scrappy and you’re hoping someone can pull you a bit of magic to get a goal.

“Workington beat Hartlepool and Weston-super-Mare so we knew they’re a difficult side to break down.  We just had to keep getting it out wide and Brandon Hanlan, Omar Bugiel, Luke Wanadio and George Porter get that chance.”

The goal knocked the stuffing out of Bromley’s full-time players and they put in a poor second half performance.

Bromley upped their desire levels during the final 25 minutes and switched to a 4-3-3 formation and as Jordan Higgs’ introduction into midfield brought them back from the dead.

Smith said: “A fresh pair of legs and he was very direct.  The first thing he did was put a ball in the box, which we got on the end of and that’s what we said. We just had to play a bit more direct on them. We can’t play in front of them, let’s get behind them.”

Left-winger Luke Wanadio started to burst into life and it was his through ball that put Hanlan through on goal and he cut in on to his right-foot to place his shot across the keeper and past the foot of the far post with only the keeper to beat.

“He just said as he went to hit it, it just bobbled up and it’s hit the top of his boot and went wide,” added Smith, who has returned to the club for his second spell on loan from League One side Charlton Athletic.

“He’ll score, he’ll score goals Brandon.  He knows he should’ve done better but that was the threat, we needed to get in behind them.”

Wanadio took on and beat McLuckie, cut inside towards the by-line and pulled the ball back for Porter, but all he could do was poke the ball past the near post.

Right-back Luke Woofenden’s cross sailed across the pitch to Wanadio, who cut inside to stroke his right-footed drive flashing past the foot of the right-hand post from 25-yards.

“Luke come into it in the second half, especially in the last 25 minutes and what Luke does he’s very direct and he gets at you so when he got his shot off I think he could’ve had it first time,” added Smith.

But Bromley were knocking on the door.  Rees played a bad pass on the outside to Higgs, who hung over a cross towards the penalty spot for Hanlan to plant his free header over the crossbar from the penalty spot.

Workington created a snap-shot of a chance when Taylor’s big kick dropped down to Tinnion, who smacked his left-footed volley screaming past the foot of the far post from distance.

But Bromley escaped ridicule when Holland scored his sixth goal of the season with 33 minutes and 51 seconds on the clock.

Frankie Raymond swung in a high-quality corner from the right towards the near post where Holland made space to plant his header into the bottom corner from outside the corner of the six-yard box.

“Look, we work on our set-pays and Jack’s a big part of that but you can’t do it unless you’ve got a great delivery and Frankie Raymond puts it on the button,” said Smith.

“I thought he was outstanding today Frankie, so when the corner goes in everyone makes their runs and you’ve got a chance. It’s a great finish from Jack getting across the defender and just putting it into the far post.”

Brackley Town, Leyton Orient and Wealdstone progressed through to the Quarter-Finals today, while Harrogate Town must travel to Billericay Town; Maidenhead United must travel to Stockport County, Maidstone United must travel up to Gateshead and East Thurrock United have home advantage on Spennymoor Town in midweek replays.

Bromley will start as favourites to reach The FA Trophy Quarter-Finals for the first time in their 125-year history, on a flat 3G artificial pitch at Hayes Lane on Tuesday night.

“That’s what I’ve just said (being in Monday’s Draw) to the boys. The one saving grace is we’re still in it but we made it hard for ourselves,” said Smith.

“But I’ve got to give full credit to Workington.  They were outstanding to a man and they gave everything they’ve got and for us to come away with a draw it gives us a second bite and it also does for them and we have to make sure it counts on Tuesday.”

Around 80 fans made the 694-mile round trip and Smith thanked them for their support.

“Listen, we know what the journey was like and to see so many there, that’s what we said at half-time.  These people pay a lot of money to come and travel up and down the country, especially in this Trophy at the moment and we can’t get any further away and they turn up in their numbers and they got behind us so it was nice to give them something to come back to Bromley with and hopefully we can get a result on Tuesday.”

Holland, dubbed Mr Bromley, conducted his interview holding the man-of-the-match bottle.

Scoring one of his most important goals for Bromley, Holland said: “One of the things in my game that I’ve had to improve is scoring goals, so I’m glad that we can take it back to ours on Tuesday.  We’ll have a look at today’s performance and we’ll take it to Tuesday now.

“The goal was very vital. We want to go all the way in this cup.  To come here in the conditions to get a 1-1 draw, we know we can do better, but full credit to the opposition, they came out and made it hard.

“The pitch was very tough. The conditions weren’t the best but we can’t let that affect us. Both teams have got to play on that.  We know we weren’t at our best today but we’ll analyse it and see on Tuesday how we can get through.

“It doesn’t generally come into our mind that they’re two league’s below.  They’re just the opposition, they’re just the 11 that we need to play on the day and give credit to them.  They put it on us and they went 1-0 up but I think it shows the resolve coming back and we had a few chances as well. We’ll go back to familiar territory on Tuesday and make it through.

“We’re halfway there.  We’re in the hat regardless and that’s where we want to be.  The hard work starts from Tuesday now.”

Bromley were given a massive scare in Cumbria today but have enough quality in their squad to win at Hayes Lane. 

“A lot of people will look at it and think it may well be a slip-up coming into these grounds but I think we know in our heads that we’re good enough and any minute we can get a goal, which we did.  We keep going to the end but in our minds we knew it was going to come.

“Honestly, I sound like a broken record because I say it every week but the fans are unbelievable!  The trips they’ve had to do this year has been something else and for every fan that was here today to come and support us, honestly we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  It really does make a difference especially today when we got undone and the fans didn’t stop so we really do appreciate it.”

Bromley’s previous visit to Wembley Stadium was back in 1949 when Romford were beaten 1-0 in The FA Amateur Cup Final - and Holland wants to grace the iconic stadium.

“As a team we have very high standards for ourselves and the gaffer and management make sure we keep them up so anything other than getting to Wembley and lifting that Trophy is not good for us I think.”

Workington: Aaran Taylor, Phil McLuckie, Gari Rowntree, Anthony Wright, Josh Calvert, Matty Douglas, Dave Symington (Rob Wilson 86), Jordan Holt, Scott Allison (Sam Joel 82), Nathan Waterston, Conor Tinnion.
Subs: James Earl, Sam Smith, Jamie Mellen

Goal: Phil McLuckie 49

Booked: Phil McLuckie 38, Gari Rowntree 45, Anthony Wright 48

Bromley: David Gregory, Luke Woolfenden, Tyrone Sterling, Josh Rees (Frankie Sutherland 90), Ben Chorley, Jack Holland, Luke Wanadio, Frankie Raymond, Brandon Hanlan, Omar Bugiel (Jordan Higgs 68), George Porter.
Subs: Dan Johnson, Roger Johnson, Max Huxter

Goal: Jack Holland 79

Booked: Frankie Raymond 35

Attendance: 890
Referee: Mr Matthew Dicicco (Middlesbrough, Teeside)
Assistants: Mr Alan Hull (Hackenthorpe, South Yorkshire) & Mr Matthew Sowerby (Knaresborough, North Yorkshire)
Fourth Official: Mr Daniel Locker (Southport, Merseyside)

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