Bromley 5-1 Anchorians Res - Hopefully we can go one better and win it this year, says Bromley manager Steve Payne

Sunday 22nd March 2015

(after extra time)
Kent Women’s Plate Sponsored by She Kicks Magazine Semi-Final
Sunday 15th February 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY manager Steve Payne says women’s football is progressing at the Vanarama Conference South club after his side reached the Kent Women’s Plate Final for the second successive season.

DEBUT SEASON: Bromley's Ravenetts lost to Herne Bay in last season's Kent Women's Plate Final

The Ravenetts went into the game sitting in fifth-place in the Greater London Women’s Football League Division One table and they dominated the entire game but they needed extra-time to beat an Anchorians reserve side, who were second-from-bottom in the South East Counties Division One East table.

Bromley took the lead through Tanya Holley’s 27th minute opener, but they were punished for profligacy in front of goal when their Gillingham based visitors’ forced extra-time through talented striker Reanne Armstrong, who slotted home in the 56th minute.

The Ravenetts created 20 clear cut goalscoring opportunities in normal time – compared to five from their opponents on the 3G pitch at the back of Bromley’s Hayes Lane stadium, but they finished off the job with four goals in extra-time as fitness levels proved an issue for Anchorians.

Lucia Carini skipped past the goalkeeper to slot home inside three minutes of extra-time before Alexandra Rusk scored the goal of the game with a dipping 35-yard drive.

With outclassed Anchoirans dead on their feet, Victoria Wells drilled in a late fourth, before skipper Rebecca Bays steered in the fifth goal to send Bromley through to the Final against Castle Colts (based in Allington) or Canterbury outfit Prince of Wales.

“It’s good to get there again. Hopefully we can go one better and win it this year,” said Payne, 45, whose 23-year-old son Stefan plays for Vanarama Conference side Dover Athletic.

“We made hard work of it as you see.  One-one after 90 minutes and we scored four more goals in extra-time.

“I’m pleased with it. The girls’ are coming along. Last year Herne Bay were in a league of their own and we played somebody on our own level now and we’ll see what happens in the final.

“They (Anchorians) were chasing shadows. What you have to remember, you create so many chances and you only score one goal. That means the other team’s still in it. It did show because they did scored another goal and it was one-all.

“Like I said to the girls, keep playing the way you’re playing and the chances will go in and thankfully they did!”

Bromley created the first of 29 chances inside the opening two minutes when Bays beat three players down the left before cutting into the penalty area and dragging her shot past the far post from 12-yards.

A through ball from Rusk found Emma Jones and her right-footed drive from 25-yards brought a comfortable save from busy Anchorians goalkeeper Scarlett Cobley.

It looked like it wasn’t going to be Bromley’s day when Chloe Robertson hooked in a cross from the right by-line and Bays sent her free-header down and agonisingly past the far post from six-yards.

Cobley made the first of a string of fine saves to frustrate Bromley in the 20th minute.

Rachel Baker’s throw-in was dummied by Nikki May and midfielder Jones drilled a right-footed shot which was destined for the top right-hand corner from 25-yards, but Cobley dived high to her left to palm the shot over the bar.

“Their keeper was excellent. I’d like to sign her,” revealed the Bromley manager.

“Their keeper was quite good. Their 39 (Reanne Armstrong) was good. I said to the manager they’ve got half a decent side. If they keep going on next year they should do things.”

But Bromley finally broke Anchorians’ resilience by taking the lead through Holley’s fifth goal of the season.

Keeper Kirsty Higginson came to the corner of the box to collect a loose ball and punted a big kick straight down the middle of the pitch.  Bays flicked the ball through to put Holley through on goal, who kept her composure to stroke her right-footed shot across Cobley into the bottom far corner from 12-yards.

“Tanya’s done well this season,” said Payne.

“Rebecca, Tanya, Chloe, they’ve done good together, all three of them. If you look at our stats they’re our top scorers for our team and they work well together.”

Anchorians went close with their first chance in the 38th minute when Reanne Armstrong cut through a crowded penalty area and drilled her right-footed shot towards the far corner, which brought an excellent flying save from Higginson to her left.

This sparked a good spell from Anchorians and the same player cut inside a static Bromley defence but this time dragged her shot past the far post.

“It gave them a little bit of belief and I said to the girls’ you’re your worst own enemies because you’re letting them back into the game when they shouldn’t even be in the game,” added Payne.

“They listened and that’s what happens. You will make mistakes. I said you’ve got to keep your concentration and they lost concentration for 10-15 minutes and they got punished for it.”

The woodwork saved Anchorians on the stroke of half time when Carini played the ball in from the left, the ball was laid off to Jones and Bays’ cracked her shot against the underside of the crossbar and Holley was denied by a combination of two defenders on the line.

When asked his thoughts at the half-time interval, Payne replied: “I said the next goal’s important. I said you can’t give this team belief. You have to keep playing the way you’re playing and you have to mind because when we were attacking we was most vulnerable when we were attacking and that’s how exactly they got us, on the break.

Anchorians won the ball back and created a chance through Ellie Stewart, which was hit straight at Higginson, who made a comfortable catch, with only 29 seconds on the clock.

Kelly Newbound, who impressed at the heart of Bromley defence, whipped in a free-kick which was flicked on by Bays and Carini was denied when Cobley pushed the ball away with her left-hand at the near post.

Bromley were to be denied by the woodwork for the second time in the 54th minute.

Kirsty Mitchell and Bays linked up well and Carini’s left-footed drive struck the angle of post and crossbar.

It was inevitable that out-classed Anchorians would grab an equaliser and it came within two minutes of that chance.

Central defender Gemma Armstrong clipped the ball over the top of the Bromley defence and Bromley defender Rhiannon Davies was chasing Reanne Armstrong, who stroked her composed finish into the bottom right-hand corner from sixteen-yards.

Payne admitted he was impressed with the goalscorer’s performance.

“Good player, she was good. What she does, she drops into pockets and she makes late runs and she’s quite quick because she’s quick on the ball. It was a good finish. I think she deserved something out of the game and she got it with a goal.”

Carini played the ball short to Mitchell, who played a sublime diagonal pass to put left-back Baker through on goal, but her low right-footed drive was saved comfortably by the Anchorians keeper.

Winger Holley was released down the right and she cut the ball back to Bays, who teed up Mitchell, who clipped her shot agonisingly wide from 25-yards.

Bromley continued to press for their deserved lead going into the final 20 minutes of a game that should have been dead and buried by this point.

“Are we going to finish them? Is it going to be our day today,” added Payne, as chance after chance after chance was squandered.

“It’s been like this all season. We’ve created chances and we’ve dominated teams and come away with losing the game. 

“This is women’s football. Chance after chance after chance and you don’t take them you get punished but thankfully today we turned it around.”

Baker clipped a diagonal pass to Holley, whose left-footed shot looped towards the roof of the net, which forced Cobley to stick out her right hand to push over the bar.

Cobley then dived to her right to use her left hand to deny Victoria Wells after Nikki May played a diagonal pass from the middle of the park.

Bromley squandered another chance to win the game in the 86th minute when Robertson whipped in a cross from the right and Newbound directed her free header agonisingly wide of the far post from eight-yards.

Four Anchorians players (Ellen Ellis, Ellie Stewart, Gemma Armstrong and Reanne Armstrong) went down with knocks during the second half and referee John French played nearly fourteen minutes of stoppage time.

Anchorians had a chance to grab an unlikely win when right-back Courtney Baldwin was presented with a free-kick some 30-yards from goal, which she wasted and drilled her right-footed free-kick harmlessly past the near post.

Anchorians were throwing their bodies on the line in defence and Bromley’s last chance of normal time fell to Bays, whose low shot from the edge of the box rolled into the keeper’s hands after Robertson’s ball in from the right.

Somehow, Anchorians forced extra-time but fitness proved to be their downfall as Bromley steamrolled to victory.

Payne said: “We shouldn’t have gone that far, no, it shouldn’t have gone that far!

“It’s no more than the opposition deserved. They worked hard and we had a load of chances but they didn’t go in so after 90 minutes it was 1-1. 

“They worked hard, believed they deserved the extra-time but as I said to the girls’ they (Anchorians) were dying towards the end of the 90 minutes and I said look we’ve just got to keep that ball moving, do not stop that ball moving, keep passing and make chances and they will go in!”

The Ravenetts finally took the lead after only 125 seconds into extra-time when Rusk released Carini, who skipped past the advancing keeper and kept her composure to slot her shot into the bottom near corner, past Gemma Armstrong on the line.

“My heart was in my mouth because I thought she should have hit it earlier but she literally ran it to the line to make sure it was going in,” said Payne.

“I was glad she got a goal because she’s been in and out this season and I think it’s been hard for her but she’s done well.”

The floodgates soon opened up and the goal of the game followed in the 110th minute.

Robertson – who alongside keeper Higginson played 90 minutes – played the ball into Rusk, who unleashed a screamer from 35-yards, which dipped over Cobley and looped in underneath the crossbar.

Payne said: “It was a quality goal from Alex, who is a great holding midfielder.

“I was saying to the girls you’re never going to get a great opportunity but you need to work this goalkeeper. The keeper’s good. I said to them, listen you’re trying to line it up, line it up, by the time you line it up even I know where you’re going to put it. It was a great goal.”

Anchorians were to be denied a second goal just before the interval when a poor back-header from Davies was latched onto by Reanne Armstrong, who managed to get a shot off despite a sliding tackle from behind from the defender, which forced Higginson to dive to her left to push the ball around the post.

And after 84 seconds into the second half, Baldwin’s right-footed drive from 35-yards dipped over the Bromley bar.

Bromley missed yet another good opportunity when Bays played the ball to Jones, who’s first shot was blocked and her second was steered just past the foot of the post, leaving the midfielder holding her head in her hands in frustration.

Jones whipped in a corner from the left and Wells directed her free header over from six-yards, before Bromley wrapped up a convincing victory with two goals in a devastating 76 seconds.

Wells recovered from that header by scoring the fourth when she was released through on goal and looped her right-footed chip towards the top right-hand corner of the net in the 117th minute.

“Tors the one who scored one from about 25-yards out, she lobbed the goalie,” added Payne.

And Chelsea Anderson’s poor attempted back-header back to Cobley was intercepted by Bays, who skipped into the box to steer her left-footed drive into the bottom near corner.

Payne admitted he was pleased that his captain scored her fourteenth goal of the season.

“I took Rebecca off for a little while just to get her composure, give her ten minutes rest and I had a little talk to her and said don’t worry what everyone is saying. This is what happens in football, they’re going to shout it chances are being missed.

“I said go on and do what you think’s right and she done well. She’s been our top goalscorer for years. I love Rebecca, she’s excellent, a great goal.”

Bromley are the clear favourites going into the Final against two clubs that are minnows in comparison at first team men’s football status.

“We got to the final and we played Herne Bay and I thought first ten minutes we’ve got a game on here because we were all over them but all off a sudden they turned on their superiority and it was over in a matter of five minutes,” recalled Payne.

“We may be favourites but football’s a funny old game.  I want to win this competition. I want to bring the cup back home to Bromley.”

The Ravenettes sealed a League and Cup double in their first season and Payne believes women’s football at the club is on the up.

“It’s progressing faster than I thought it would have been and I think it’s excellent for Bromley, the community and for the girls.  We’ve still got some more improvements to do but we’ll get there,” said Payne.

“The (3G surface) is lovely, superior. I said to the girls they can’t complain about the surface, it’s excellent.”

Wealdstone – Conference South rivals in the men’s game – visit Hayes Lane next Sunday in the league.

“I said to the girls’ today, you’ve been playing well. I said look now we’ve got to a Cup final to go to, that’s done and dusted and let’s get back into the league and get some more points.  We’re unbeaten in five games.  We’ve got Wealdstone coming here and I just want three points.

“We did have a bad start to the season – but we’ve turned it around. We’ve worked hard and now we’re fifth in the league. All we can do is win game after game and who knows. We try to end up about fourth.”

Despite a request pre-match for an interview, Anchorians manager Gary Stephens and his team collected their belongings from pitch-side after the final whistle and headed straight home.

Bromley: Kirsty Higginson, Samantha Tyler (Lucia Carini 30, Victoria Wells 69)), Kelly Newbound, Rhiannon Davies (Samantha Tyler 103), Rachel Baker, Emma Jones (Alexandra Rusk 61), Nikki May (Emma Jones 111), Alexandra Rusk (Kirsty Mitchell 46), Tanya Holley (Lucia Carini 86), Chloe Robertson, Rebecca Bays (Tanya Holley 90, Rebecca Bays 106).

Goals: Tanya Holley 27, Lucia Carini 93, Alexandra Rusk 100, Victoria Wells 117, Rebecca Bays 119

Anchorians Reserves: Scarlett Cobley, Courtney Baldwin, Gemma Armstrong, Kerianne Stephens, Ellen Ellis (Jasmin Trucknell 60), Ellie Stewart (Jasmin Trucknell 72, Ellie Stewart 81, Jasmin Stewart 86, Chelsea Anderson, Zoeanne Pound, Reanne Armstrong (Kathryn Cullen 90, Emma Hammell 110)), Hannah Norton, Jasmin Trucknell (Kathryn Cullen 37, Ellen Ellis 68).

Goal: Reanne Armstrong 56

Attendance: 30
Referee: Mr John French (Swanscombe)
Assistants: Mr Stephen Palmer (Crockenhill) & Mr Mark Bellamy (Welling)