Thursday 01st September 2005

Wakeling: We're good enough for the play-off's

Tuesday 25th
October 2005
Ryman Premier League Stephen McCartney reports from
The Courage Stadium
Bromley 2 Nic McDonnell 43
Sam Wood 46
AFC Wimbledon 0  

Bromley bounced back from Saturday's undeserved FA Cup fourth qualifying round defeat by Aldershot Town to put on a dazzling performance against under-performing AFC Wimbledon at The Courage Stadium tonight, writes Stephen McCartney.

And in an EXCLUSIVE interview with, a delighted George Wakeling vowed: "We're good enough to get into the play-off's".

Prolific striker Nic McDonnell netted his tenth goal (from eleven games) of the season and former Cray Wanderers midfielder Sam Wood notched his first goal of the campaign, which sees the Hayes Lane outfit climb up to ninth place in the Ryman Premier League table.

Wood almost gave the Kent side the lead after just 131 seconds, unleashing a 25-yard volley, which flew over Andy Little's goal after Adrian Stone flicked on Andy Walker's long kick down the middle.

Nothing was going to get past Joe Vines or Mark Willy at the heart of the Bromley defence and Willy produced a fine saving tackle inside his penalty area as Michael Woolner was shaping up to open the scoring.

Walker, however, was called into action after 24 minutes when he kept out Matt York's shot at the far post after the former Carshalton Athletic midfielder ghosted in following Woolner whipped in a cross.

But Bromley almost took the lead within seconds but Little was equal to Barry Gardner's effort.

The former Ashford Town midfielder, whose impressed in Bromley colours, was called back into the side after missing the Aldershot Town defeat after Colin Luckett - who replaced him - was forced out with bruising on his foot.

AFC Wimbledon - with former Crawley Town manager Francis Vines watching from the sidelines - almost took the lead after 29 minutes when York's looping header beat a diving Walker - following Matt Fowler's cross - but it struck the left post.

Bromley, however, took a deserved 1-0 lead into the break with McDonnell's clinical finish.

Adam Locke did ever so well riding tackles on the edge of the penalty area, before threading the ball to the tall striker who slotted home on 43 minutes.

And the home faithful were celebrating again within 45 seconds of the second half when McDonnell's shot was parried by Little but Wood was on hand to rifle the ball into the net.

More glorious chances fell Bromley's way with Gardner's shot on the edge of the penalty area flashing wide and after latching onto Steve Potterill's diagonal pass, McDonnell's shot was parried by the goalkeeper.

It was such a good night for Bromley, Des Boateng was showboating and the home faithful were taunting the visiting fans with "what's it like to be outclassed" with half an hour of the game still to play.

AFC Wimbledon's miserable night was summed up in the 68th minute when Dwayne Plummer, bursting through the Bromley defence into the penalty area, dummied, which sent Walker diving to the floor, and with an open goal, blazed high over the bar from eight yards.

And when Fowler was sent off seven minutes later for violent conduct, you just knew it was going to be a very good night for George Wakeling's men, as they push towards the play-off places.

"I was pleased with the result, as it's all about winning, but it was a tremendous performance tonight," beamed a delighted Wakeling.

"There's no doubt how well we played.  I think everyone in the ground must appreciate what we put on tonight.

"We really showed people we're going in the right direction."

Wakeling, however, was very confident his side would bounce back from their FA Cup defeat.

"We're signing players that can do that," he said.  "We're not going to dwell on games. 

"We lose games and it's a big disappointment but we've got too much experience in the dressing room to go backwards - we move forward."

Wakeling is confident his players will collect three points against Staines Town at The Courage Stadium on Saturday.

"Let's hope so!" he said.  "If we play like we did tonight, why not Saturday?

Wakeling now has 19 first team players at his disposal as winger Gary Drewett made a five minute cameo appearance at the end of the game, taking to the pitch for the first time this season following injury.

The manager also admitted injured defender, Tutu Henruiques will find it tough to get back into the side with the solid displays from Mark Willy and Joe Vines at the heart of their defence.

"Tutu is still not 100% fit," he revealed.  "To be fair he's going to fight to get into the side.  The way our two centre halves  are playing, they're playing out of their skins."

But Wakeling pointed out the club's main ambition, following their promotion into the Ryman Premier League via the play-off's last season.

When asked if his side could gain promotion into the Nationwide Conference South, he replied: "If we was in the Conference South with the team we've got we will hold our own - we're a good side.

"We've always said we can't turn around and say "we're going to win the league", but we are looking for the play-off's.

"That's our aim - we talk about it in the dressing room.

"I think we're good enough to get into the play-off's.

"We've got a hard programme coming up now.  This was one of them and we started it off with a win.  So let's keep it going."

Bromley: Andy Walker, Allan Mcleod (Capt), Steve Potterill (Fraser Logan 59), Joe Vines, Mark Willy, Des Boateng (Gary Drewett 85), Barry Gardner, Adam Locke, Adrian Stone, Nic McDonnell, Sam Wood.  Subs: Wade Falana, Kevin George, Mark Tompkins

AFC Wimbledon: Andy Little, Wes Daly (Craig Reilly 87), Dave Sargent, Antony Howard (Capt), Simon Sobihy, Wayne Finnie, Michael Woolner (Sean Hillier 51), Matt Yorke, Shane Smeltz (Sonny Farr 41), Dwayne Plummer.  Subs: Jon Boswell, Josh Lennie

Sent Off: Matt Fowler (75)

Attendance: 1235
Referee: Mr M McCoy
Assistants: Mr I Fissenden & Mr R Baker