Bromley 0-1 Dagenham & Redbridge - We're still putting all the jigsaw pieces together, says Goldberg

Saturday 05th July 2014

Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 5 July 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY manager Mark Goldberg says he faces a selection headache ahead of their Conference South campaign which kicks off in five weeks’ time.

The Ravens were without Joe Anderson, Rob Swaine, Sam Higgins and Jamie Slabber for their opening pre-season game, which saw them lose to League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge at Hayes Lane, courtesy of a dinked finish from striker Alan Connell, 31, inside the opening 12 minutes.

Bromley finished in third-place in Conference South last season, which was their best ever finish in seven seasons at that level.  They finished with 80 points, six points adrift of champions Eastleigh, but their promotion dream was ended by their Kent rivals Ebbsfleet United, who beat them 4-1 on aggregate in the play-off semi-finals.

“Disappointed that we didn’t get a result that all managers want, which is to at least to get something out of the game,” said Goldberg afterwards.

“But in terms of fitness levels of our players, the way that they gelled together as a team, the way that they’re getting used to the system that we want them to play in and the fact that we bossed possession most of the time against a League Two side was pleasing.

“We created more chances than a League Two side and other than one ball over the top in the first half, they never really looked like scoring.

“So all in all, other than the result, it was a fantastic day and a massive tick in the box for the first day out.”

Dagenham & Redbridge, who finished in ninth-place last season, scored what turned out to be the clincher with their first chance.

Scott Doe clipped a long ball over the top from the heart of the Daggers defence to release Connell through on goal and he dinked the ball over Seb Brown’s left shoulder from 12-yards – the former AFC Wimbledon keeper getting his hand to the ball but failed to prevent the ball trickling over the line.

Goldberg said: “I think it wasn’t cleanly struck so I think if it was hit cleanly our goalkeeper would have saved it.

“We had a bit of a make-shift, we had a new back four playing today and we’re still putting all the pieces of the jigsaw together so all in all it was exceptional.”

Former Northampton Town striker Connell then turned provider for the Essex side when he released his strike partner John Paul Pittman through on goal but both of Bromley’s central defenders, Jack Holland and Adam Bailey-Dennis slid in to clear the ball away from inside the left-hand side of the penalty area.

Bromley’s first opportunity arrived halfway through the first half when left-back Reece Prestedge (who was one of four players to get through 90 minutes) played the ball inside to Damian Scannell and the former Sutton United winger saw his right-footed shot deflect wide from 25-yards.

Bromley began to probe the Dagenham & Redbridge defence and hit their league opponents on the break.

Lively striker Adam Birchall picked the ball up on the halfway line before sweeping the ball out wide to Louis Dennis, who cut inside before sweeping his right-footed shot from 17-yards towards goal, which was comfortably saved by Liam O’Brien, who dived low to his left.

Dennis – one of five wingers at the club - then penetrated the Dagenham & Redbridge defence as he danced forward before flashing his shot just past the near post from 25-yards.

But Bromley’s best chance of the first half fell to former Millwall and Sutton United midfielder Ali Fuseini, 25.

Scannell delivered a cross from the left which came out to Fuseini, who took a touch before curling a right-footed looping shot towards the far corner, but O’Brien dived to his left to claw the ball to safety with Birchall ready to pounce.

Scannell latched onto Birchall’s pass down the right wing before he whipped in a cross with his left-foot which resulted in Dennis looping his header over the bar whilst under pressure three yards from goal.

Dagenham & Redbridge made ten changes at the break, which included bringing on former Bromley striker Bradley Goldberg, 20, and former Tonbridge Angels left-back Nathan Green.

Former Gillingham striker Birchall, 29, went close to opening his Bromley account after only 65 seconds.

Substitute Harry Grant swung in a corner from the right and Birchall sent his header over the bar from six-yards.

Fellow half-time substitute, Moses Ademola, then flashed in a low cross from the right and former Gillingham and Maidenhead United midfielder Grant stabbed a deflected shot narrowly wide of the right-hand post whilst under pressure.
Bradley Goldberg, who collected three awards from his former club out on the pitch before the game, almost made it a goalscoring return to Hayes Lane in the 57

Goldberg was given space in front of the Bromley defence and was given time and space to drill a low right-footed drive from 22-yards, which was tipped around the post by a diving Brown, low to his left.

The Bromley boss said: “I think from a personal point of view it was difficult for me because obviously I want my son to do well but from my understanding he had five shots so he’s getting himself into good positions.

“Considering they had one shot in the first half, I think hopefully he’ll be able to prove what he’s capable of doing, if he gets the chance because I believe if he gets the chance he will prove that he’s capable of doing it.”

Green then clipped a long ball from the left-back position to release striker Nabil Guedioura, who looked offside before drilling his angled drive wide of the Bromley goal.

And halfway through the second half Guedioura slipped past Bailey-Dennis to sweep the ball out to Goldberg, who swept the ball past Brown but Prestedge was in the six-yard box to clear the ball away.

With Mark Goldberg making a further five substitutions during the rest of the second half, Bromley had chances to claim a deserved draw.

Grant, 20, was to be denied by Dagenham & Redbridge substitute keeper Mark Cousins, who parried his right-footed drive from 25-yards up into the air before catching the ball as it dropped down.

Goldberg said he was pleased with the midfielder, who has experience of Conference South whilst playing on loan at Maidenhead United.

“I was really pleased with Harry. He showed physically that he’s strong enough to compete in men’s football and it looks like he’s got something clever about him as well.

“It’s a mixture of a disciplined performance from him defensively but also showing you can create going forward but also with good movement, getting into good areas where you can score as well.

“If he can become a goalscorer as well and provides, or shall we say that we trust them defensively, then it could look good for us.

“We’ve got Moses Ademola, we’ve got Louis Dennis, we’ve got Damian Scannell, we’ve got Harry Grant and Pierre Joseph-Dubois all fighting for those positions but they need to show us that we can trust them defensively as well as doing the creative stuff.”

Grant clearly got the better of former Tonbridge defender Green on more than one occasion.

Grant reached the by-line before cutting the ball back for Birchall to stab his shot agonisingly past the foot of the near post from six-yards.

Ademola played a sublime pass to put through substitute Elliot Buchanan through on goal but the midfielder drilled his left-footed shot wide of the left-hand post.

Goldberg revealed he’s not keeping Buchanan at the club, despite giving the midfielder a 24 minute cameo today.

Goldberg said: “We just allowed Elliot to come down and train with us and I’ll help him get a club somewhere, hopefully.”

Goldberg then watched his son being put through on goal but his right-footed shot deflected wide of the far post.

But Birchall squandered an excellent chance to equalise with the last kick of the game when he curled his shot around the far post when he only had Cousins to beat.

Goldberg added: “We were creating opportunities to score.  We made two substitutions at half-time but we made more changes yet we finished stronger so we had a completely different team by the time we finished.

“The only negative was the fact that we didn’t get a result. As a manager you walk home a lot happier if you get at least a draw, but everything else was a massive tick in the box for us for our first pre-season game.

“I would think that we must’ve entertained. We didn’t look the weaker of the two sides, League Two to Conference South, considering I used a lot of players.”

The Bromley manager revealed yesterday that his side are more than expected to raise expectation levels at Hayes Lane.

He said: “There’s more expectations as far as I’m concerned.  We want to keep improving. We’ve strengthened our squad from last year. We’ve been offered the opportunity to add a little bit more strength-in-depth.

“We’ve had a little bit more support in terms of sponsorships.  We’ll be competing again this year where as last year I don’t think nobody believed we would be competing for promotion other than my management team’s inner belief.”

When asked today whether he knows his starting eleven for their opening day Conference South game away to Havant & Waterlooville – a side that finished in sixth-place last season – Goldberg replied: “No I don’t because players who I may have written down as being my starting eleven when I recruited, others are proving that they are as capable. 

“That puts me in a fabulous situation really because I want the players to be competing and I want to be confused about who to start but we mustn’t forget that today as well as had no Sam Higgins, no Jamie Slabber, no Joe Anderson and no Rob Swaine and one could argue that all four of them could be contenders to start so that makes today’s performance even more pleasing. It’s a headache that I want.”

Bromley continue their pre-season preparations with a trip to play their traditional rivals Dulwich Hamlet next Saturday.

Gavin Rose guided the Pink & Blues to sixth-place in the Ryman Premier League last season, just missing out on the play-offs by one point.

Goldberg said: “Dulwich are always competitive. They like to play football. They can attract good players because it’s a good location.

“Gavin Rose, Junior Kadi and Peter Adeniyi are also very close to us from being ex-Bromley people so we’re really looking forward to going there to continue our progress and I’m sure they’ll give us a very good competitive game.”

Bromley, meanwhile, welcome Gillingham (15 July), Millwall (19 July) and Charlton Athletic (2 August) to Hayes Lane.

“I think they’ll be similar to today. I think we’ll be looking to compete against these sides although depending on how many first team players.  We’re hoping these teams bring as many first team players so we can assess ourselves a little bit better than playing against under 21 sides.

“I must admit I’m glad that we’ve got a number of weeks to go. We’ve got a number of games to go because I’m not ready.”

Bromley: Seb Brown (Tom King 74), Sam Long (Tommy Degiorgio 74), Reece Prestedge, Ali Fuseini, Adam Bailey-Dennis (Misari Al Asmpan 74), Jack Holland (Dean Sinclair 84), Damian Scannell (Harry Grant 46), Danny Waldren, Pierre Joseph-Dubois (Moses Ademola 46), Adam Birchall, Louis Dennis (Elliot Buchanan 66).
Sub: Rob Swaine

Dagenham & Redbridge: Liam O’Brien (Mark Cousins 46), Jack Connors (Nathan Green 46), Damian Batt (Kurtis Pykes 46), Scott Doe (Jack Connors 76), Brian Saah (Ian Gayle 46), Billy Bingham (Frankie Raymond 46), Luke Howell (Chigozie Ez Ugwu 46), Abu Ogogo (Afolabi Obafemi 46), John Paul Pittman (Bradley Goldberg 46), Alan Connell (Nabil Guedioura 46), Troy Hewitt (Marco Lobo 46).

Goal:  Alan Connell 12

Attendance: 400
Referee: Mr Nigel Lugg (Chipstead, Surrey)
Assistants: Mr
Valentine Anekwe (Bromley) & Mr Alexis Stacchini (Orpington)
Fourth Official: Mr Ian Bentley (West Wickham)