Bromley 1-1 Boreham Wood - I think we’re getting respect now but what that does everyone ups their game against us whereas before I think they were expecting to come here and win and for us to roll over and we’re not going to do that, says Neil Smith

Tuesday 17th November 2020
Bromley 1 – 1 Boreham Wood
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 17/11/2020 19:45

Vanarama National League
Tuesday 17 November 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says his club are getting respect now from their Vanarama National League rivals after being held to a hard-fought draw by Boreham Wood.

The Lillywhites climbed up a place into ninth in the table with 11 points on the board from their seven games, a couple points adrift of the play-off zone, while Luke Garrard’s side are six places lower with nine points from their eight league outings.

Bridesmaid’s Boreham Wood (they finished second and a couple of points behind champions Bromley in the Conference South title race during the 2014-15 season) took the lead through Sorba Thomas’ brilliant curler into the top far corner, before Bromley restored parity through Michael Cheek’s brave header on the stroke of half-time to score his sixth goal of the

“I thought we dominated them, I’m disappointed that we drew,” said Smith.

“I’m so pleased defensively. On Saturday, we were very good against Barnet and I was disappointed to come away letting a goal in.

“I’ve just asked Mark Cousins what he’s had to do other than the goal and it’s not a lot, a few balls into the box.

“I thought Byron Webster, I thought Kory Roberts, I thought Joe Kizzi – even with he’s got a slit in his head that’s going to need stitches – and Chris Bush were outstanding – and the two in front of them.

“Billy Bingham couldn’t get into the game because he had to do a job on Matt Rhead, who is always going to be difficult but I can’t complain. I thought we were good.”

Bromley suffered a heartbreaking 120th minute defeat to their winless league rivals Yeovil Town in the FA Cup First Round on 7 November but Smith kept faith with the same starting 11 that bounced back with an impressive 3-1 win at Barnet at the weekend.

Boreham Wood came away from leaders Torquay United with a 1-1 draw at the weekend and Garrard also didn’t make any changes for the behind-closed-doors hard-fought battle at Hayes Lane tonight.

Bromley started the game on the front foot by creating a couple of early chances.

Joe Kizzi threw the ball into James Alabi’s feet, who played the ball back to the right-back who floated in a cross from within the right-channel for striker Cheek to steer his towering header over the crossbar after only 65 seconds.

Chris Bush, who was playing at left-back, linked up well with holding midfielder Frankie Raymond before Bush drilled his shot harmlessly over the crossbar from 30-yards out on the left.

Smith said:  “I thought we put four crosses in, in the first five minutes. It’s the best we’ve started for ages and it was a show of intent.  We were putting crosses in and putting them on the back foot and getting their wing-backs to defend and it was a bit disappointing to give them the goal from their first attack.”

Despite Bromley’s promising start, Boreham Wood grabbed the lead with their first attempt on goal, timed at five minutes and eight seconds on the clock.

Striker Matt Rhead dropped deep and into midfield to hook the ball into Piero Mingoia who from the middle played the ball out to Thomas.

The left-wing-back easily cut inside Kizzi and curled a beautiful right-footed shot into the top far corner of the net from 30-yards, past the diving keeper.

League One side Charlton Athletic wanted to bring the 21-year-old to The Valley during the summer transfer window.

“I can see why, very good,” came Smith’s reply.

“A great goal by the way. We told the players’ about his strengths, that he comes inside but credit where he put it. Mark Cousins couldn’t get anywhere near it!

“But I thought other than that I thought we dictated. It’s always going to be a physical encounter against a Boreham Wood side.  Luke Garrard does well with them, gets them organised but I thought we done really well.”

Mingoia, one of three Boreham Wood central midfielders, got down the right flank and his cross into the Bromley box was sliced towards his own goal by Raymond, which was comfortably gathered by goalkeeper Mark Cousins.

Bromley should have equalised halfway through the first half following a trademark attempt on goal at a set-piece.

Raymond’s left-footed delivery was of high quality and centre-half Byron Webster glanced his header across goal and just past the far post.

“We’ve just said in there when you get these opportunities and we are renowned for our set-plays, you’ve got to put that one away and he’s in there, he’s holding his hand up and he knows he could’ve done better but again Frankie Raymond’s delivery was on the money,” added Smith.

Thomas swung in a corner from the right towards the near post and Tom Champion - who plays on the right of a three-man defence - flicked the ball into Cousins’ hands as Rhead too attempted to flick the ball past the former Barnet stopper.

Cheek went close to scoring with a similar strike to his goal at Barnet at the weekend, in the 32nd minute.

Bush drilled the ball down the line in an attempt to feed Alabi down the left channel but Ashmore’s clearance was poor and Cheek cracked a right-footed volley screaming past the left-hand post from 30-yards.

“He’s full of confidence, he thinks he can score from anywhere and that’s how you want him to be,” said Smith.

“I think with his foil up front, with James Alabi doing all of the graft and the battering ram that he was, at one stage I think he had three players’ on him and that leaves a bit of space for Cheeky.”

Boreham Wood goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore was warned by referee Lee Collins for timewasting and was very vocal during the game, as was his centre-half Jamal Fyfield, who clearly wanted to get one over Bromley, who beat his then Gateshead side in those two memorial FA Trophy Semi-Final ties in March 2018.

Ashmore took his time to smash a free-kick into the Bromley penalty area which was glanced past the near post by targetman Rhead.

Boreham Wood were to be denied a second goal in the 41st minute, courtesy of a decent stop from Cousins.

Thomas played Adam McDonnell in behind Kizzi and the midfielder drilled his shot towards the roof of the net from down the left-hand side of the penalty area, only for Cousins to use his outstretched left-hand to palm the ball over the crossbar for the away side’s third corner of the night.

Smith said: “I’ve said it’s got to be something special to beat Cousins. He’s very consistent with us and I’ve said it before, he’s one of the best in the league.”

Bromley’s equaliser came with 44 minutes and 49 seconds on the clock and inevitably it came from a set-piece.

Raymond swung in a free-kick with his left-foot some 35-yards from goal on the right and Cheek bravely looped his header into the net from six-yards, despite being clattered into by Ashmore, which would have brought contempt from the Glyn Beverly Stand behind him if the UK Government hadn’t banned supporters to attend football matches at this level.

“He did it last season and ended up with an eye out here, that’s what Cheeky does. He puts himself in the way. He always plays for the team and not himself and he deserved the goal to be fair,” said Smith.

“He just wants to score goals and he doesn’t worry about himself. He puts others before him.

“At half-time, I just said I was disappointed with their goal. It was something that we’ve worked on, don’t show Thomas inside, show him down the line. That was the only thing that has let me down, other than that it was let's go and do it again.”

Bromley created an opening just 50 seconds into the second half when Kizzi threw the ball to Ben Williamson (who was playing wide right, with Alabi and Cheek the front two in a 4-2 (central)-2 (wide)-2 (central) formation), and Kizzi delivered a first-time cross from within the right channel but Cheek glanced his cushioned header wide of the goal from eight-yards.

Raymond delivered a free-kick from just inside the Boreham Wood half and Fyfield’s back-header sailed just past his own far post in the 12th minute.

Reeco Hackett-Fairchild’s corner from the left was cleared out to Bromley’s holding midfielder Billy Bingham, who strode forward and was given time and space to curl his left-footed shot harmlessly wide of the far post from 35-yards out.

Bromley squandered an excellent chance to smash the deadlock inside the final 19 minutes.

Ashmore threw the ball to Fyfield, in a central position some 30-yards from goal, but the pressing Alabi intercepted the ball and drove forward before placing his right-footed shot just past the foot of the right-hand post from just outside the penalty area.

“Listen, he worked his socks off. He worked himself into the ground to get that chance but when he gets that chance he’s got to at least hit the target, make the keeper work. We shouldn’t be in that position unless he chases it, so I’m disappointed that he didn’t hit the target,” said Smith.

Boreham Wood created just one goalscoring opportunity and that came in the final 14 minutes.

Fyfield played the ball up to quiet striker Kabongo Tshimanga - who has notched four goals this season - and he was bundled over by Webster just outside the corner of the box but Thomas drilled his right-footed free-kick over the crossbar from 20-yards.

“Again, if he hits the target, I think we’re good enough with Cousins saving it. It was just disappointing that we gave the free-kick away but we wasn’t really panicking,” said Smith.

Alabi drew a bookable foul out of Fyfield down the right channel and Raymond’s free-kick was cleared out to Hackett-Fairchild, who smashed his left-footed hooked volley over the crossbar from 25-yards out as this hard-fought battle entered the final 10 minutes.

Boreham Wood had a chance to snatch the win with 43:40 on the clock when Kane Smith (now slotting in at right-back in a defensive four) skipped past Bush and cut the ball back for midfielder Gus Mafuta to sweep his shot at goal, only for the ball to bounce off Bromley centre-half Kory Roberts at the near post.

Smith takes his side to Maidenhead United on Saturday. Alan Devonshire’s men are in fourth-place in the table with 16 points from nine games, three points adrift of leaders Torquay United.

Smith said: “Another difficult game, it’s going to be another game similar to this. They’re very physical, they play to their strengths and Alan Devonshire has them very, very organised so we’re not expecting anything but a tough game.

“They’re obviously flying and their confidence is up and we just have to make sure that we match that and when we do get chances, we take them.”

Holding midfielder, Taylor Maloney is rated as being “not too far away” from returning from injury, while winger Luke Coulson “is probably another week,” from becoming available, while another winger, Alfie Forster, is available having completed his three-match ban after being sent-off against Yeovil Town.

Smith said: “We’re just hoping now, with one defeat in five games in the league, so it’s one of them where we want to get a run going, a little bit of consistency, hopefully we can keep a settled side for a little while. We haven’t been able to do that up until today, I think it’s the first time or maybe the second time where we’ve actually kept the same team.  We’ve had injuries or suspensions and I’m hoping that come Saturday we can put out the same side.”

After their trip to Maidenhead, Smith takes his side up to Altrincham next Tuesday before welcoming Wrexham to Hayes Lane on Saturday 28 November, before they play six games in December.

“I think the league will be evenly matched because there’s so many games in such a short space of time, that there’s going to be injuries and suspensions and you’ve got no time to recover,” said Smith.

“You’re literally going, there’s no overnight stays, you’re travelling on the day everywhere so it’s going to be tough.  We are asking a lot from the boys but I’d rather be playing than not playing. We missed it when it wasn’t there and it was lockdown and stuff like that, so we’re actually privileged to be doing what we want to do, train and play and we’re not going to moan about that.

“Luke has a team that normally gets in and around the play-offs – or in the play-offs last season.

“I think we’re getting respect now but what that does everyone ups their game against us whereas before I think they were expecting to come here and win and for us to roll over and we’re not going to do that.”

Bromley: Mark Cousins, Joe Kizzi, Chris Bush, Billy Bingham, Kory Roberts, Byron Webster, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, Frankie Raymond (Liam Trotter 81), Michael Cheek, James Alabi, Ben Williamson.
Subs: Harry Kyprianou, Jack Holland, Tom Purrington, Nassim L’Ghoul

Goal: Michael Cheek 45

Booked: Byron Webster 65, Chris Bush 85

Boreham Wood: Nathan Ashmore, Kane Smith, Sorba Thomas, Jamal Fyfield, Tom Champion, Adam McDonnell (David Stephens 64), Gus Mafuta, Kabongo Tshimanga, Matt Rhead, Piero Mingoia.
Subs: Danny Woodards, Zaine Francis-Angol, Ryan Huddart, Shaquile Coulthirst

Goal: Sorba Thomas 6

Booked: Jamal Fyfield 79, Kane Smith 85, Matt Rhead 86

Attendance: 0
Referee: Mr Lee Collins
Assistants: Mr Jamie Pope and Mr Marc Meeten
Fourth Official: Mr Christopher Myatt