Bromley 1-2 Concord Rangers - We were second best tonight in every department, admits Mark Goldberg

Tuesday 14th January 2014

Skrill South
Tuesday 14th January 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY manager Mark Goldberg has challenged his side to respond to their first home league defeat of the season.

The Ravens went into this game sitting eleven points clear of Eastleigh at the top of the Skrill South table with 53 points from 22 games, but thirteenth-placed Concord Rangers secured a deserved victory at Hayes Lane, courtesy of two goals from lone striker Sam Higgins, 24.

Eastleigh have four games in hand on Bromley after their home game against tenth-placed Dover Athletic tonight was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, and the Spitfires visit Hayes Lane for a crunch-game on 28 January.

Bromley took the lead through inspirational skipper Rob Swaine’s 38
minute header, but Concord Rangers levelled through Higgins’ penalty just 193 seconds later.

Danny Cowley, who has guided the Canvey Island based club to the Essex Senior League title in 2007-08, before winning the Ryman Premier League play-offs and Ryman League Cup Final last season, saw his side seal a deserved victory, courtesy of Higgins’ thirteenth-goal of the season eleven minutes into the second half.

But the Beachboys’ night was marred when right-back Jack Lampe was stretchered off the pitch during the first half and was taken to hospital with a severe dead leg.

“We were second best tonight in every department,” admitted Goldberg, after he emerged from the home dressing room at least 45 minutes after the final whistle.

“It’s disappointing because we’ve prepared well tonight. We made sure the players knew that it was going to be a really difficult team to play against.

“Every team’s coming here and they want to come and break our record and I felt that we got the message across as well as we could but unfortunately on the night we were second to every ball and the first thing that you need to do to win a game is to make sure you’re prepared to win the battles and the football will come through eventually, if you have the right attitude on the park, so it’s very disappointing tonight.”

When asked why he thought his side performed badly, Goldberg replied: “Well, I think it’s something that I need to reflect on rather than just shooting from the hip, but I do feel that we didn’t show the confidence of a team that was top of the league. We also didn’t show the work-rate to stay at the top of the league. All in all, not a very good night.

“We didn’t create opportunities. We didn’t put our foot on the ball and play. We were a little bit too direct. We looked a bit disjointed.

“Anyway, we’ll reflect on it and it’s how you respond and we do feel that we’ve only got ourselves to blame for tonight’s result.”

Bromley, who haven’t played since coming away from Ebbsfleet United with a fine 3-1 win on New Year’s Day, started the game on the front foot.

But after a promising opening few minutes they lacked their usual quality in the final third as Concord Rangers’ defenders Steve King and Paul Goodacre snuffed out Bromley’s threat.

Pierre Joseph-Dubois progressed forward before playing the ball to Danny Waldren, who lashed his first time drive high over the bar from 30-yards after only 28 seconds.

Waldren then whipped in a free-kick from the left which was brought down by Bradley Goldberg and his initial shot on the turn was blocked before Swaine (whose initial shot was also blocked) clipped a left-footed shot towards goal, which was tipped over by keeper Jamie Butler.

Concord Rangers’ opening chance came in the fifteenth minute.

Lampe looped a throw into the penalty area, which was flicked on by Higgins at the near post and Sam Collins’ downward header bounced wide of the left-hand post from six-yards.

Bromley keeper, Joe Welch, who had earlier received treatment for a knock after Collins’ challenge, made a fine reaction save at his near post after the impressive Higgins drilled a right-footed shot towards the near post from fourteen-yards.

Swaine was to become Bromley’s goalscoring threat as the former Billericay Town defender caused problems at set-pieces.

Brendan Kiernan whipped in a corner from the right, which was flicked on by Swaine and the ball fell at Joseph-Dubois’ feet, but poor control eight-yards from goal allowed Butler to gather.

But Swaine’s fourth goal of the season gave Bromley the lead.

Kiernan floated in a corner from the right towards the far post where Swaine’s rose to plant his header down and through a crowd of players to beat Butler to give the league leaders a lift they desperately needed.

Goldberg said: “It was a great time to score and we should’ve gone in at half-time 1-0 up and unfortunately we gave away an unnecessary penalty so again we only had ourselves to blame.”

However, things started to go downhill after referee John Busby awarded Concord Rangers a penalty, which was scored in the 42

Left-back Reece Harris floated over a cross towards the far post towards Higgins, who headed the across goal towards the far post where Collins attempted to clip the ball back to where it came but Welch was adjudged to have fouled the left-winger on the by-line.

Higgins stepped up and smashed his right-footed penalty just right of centre, sending Welch the wrong way.

Welch emerged from the dressing room after the game and claimed “I didn’t touch him!”

Goldberg added: “I think it was just an unnecessary challenge, whether it was a penalty or not, I’ll have to see it on the video.  I think the player dived and made a meal out of it but I’m not sure whether Joe really needed to go for it.”

Bromley created the last chance of the first half when Bradley Goldberg and Ashley Nicholls linked up well in midfield before releasing Jake Reid down the right. 

The former Hayes & Yeading United striker cut inside Harris and sent his left-footed curler sailing harmlessly wide of the far post from eighteen-yards.

When asked what his thoughts were at half-time, Goldberg said: “We were disappointed with them and we felt that they needed to pick things up for a start and be more composed on the ball and win more second balls, but it didn’t work for us tonight for some reason.”

Welch atoned for giving away the penalty when he made a fine save within the first four minutes of the second half.

Nicky Cowley played a brilliant low through ball straight down the middle of the park where Higgins outpaced Jack Holland and only had the Bromley keeper to beat, but the striker was denied by Welch’s left-foot from 12-yards, before Higgins sent his right-footed chip agonisingly over the crossbar.

Collins floated in a corner from the left into the Bromley penalty area where central defender King sent his free header down and past the far post from six-yards.

The manager-of-the-month curse struck Goldberg, who received his award for December before the game, which turned out to be Bromley’s first league defeat since losing 1-0 away to bitter-rivals Sutton United on 19 October 2013.

Bromley left-back Joe Anderson also received his Skrill South player-of-the-month award for December before the game, and Concord’s deserved winner came down his side of the pitch in the 56

Substitute Mason Spence played the ball into Higgins path, who stroked his right-footed shot across Welch for the ball to nestle into the bottom far corner from fourteen-yards.

“I think we made it a little bit too easy for them,” admitted Goldberg, who has seen his side lost four league games this season.

“They had two or three other chances that Joe pulled off some good saves.”

Collins was unlucky not to score for the visitors when his left-footed angled drive sailed just over the crossbar.

Boss Goldberg made a double substitution, bringing on central midfielder Elliot Buchanan and target-man Jay May in a bid to liven up his side.

Waldren’s clever pass put through Kiernan but alert goalkeeping from Butler saw him smother the ball at the winger’s feet.

But Bromley’s best chance to salvage anything from the game arrived in the 65

Welch pumped a long free-kick into the Concord Rangers penalty area where Swaine’s towering header from fourteen-yards produced a brilliant diving save from Butler, who dived full-length to his right to parry before gathering.

A disappointed Goldberg said: “We didn’t create opportunities.  We didn’t put our foot on the ball and play.  We were a little bit too direct.  We looked a bit disjointed.

“But all in all we didn’t create enough chances so you can’t win games if you don’t create chances. Brad was feeding of scraps and we just didn’t play well enough today either. We looked disjointed.”

Concord Rangers created further chances to increase their lead.

Collins once again whipped in a cross in between Swaine and Holland but James White planted his header over from 12-yards.

A fine piece of skill from Higgins allowed Steve Cawley to play a diagonal crossfield ball to Collins, who cracked a left-footed half-volley towards goal which Welch saved low to his left with a strong left hand to turn behind for a corner.

Boss Goldberg said the return of left-winger Albert Jarrett, 29, following a long-term knee injury was a positive.

He said: “I think the only positive tonight, Albert showed what he’s about, what he’s capable of and showed that with a bit of match fitness what a threat he can be.”

Jarrett swung in Bromley’s seventh and final corner where Swaine once again towered over the Concord defence to plant his header wide of the left-hand post.

Another substitute, Jay May, teed up a chance for right-back Dean Pooley, who stroked his low right-footed drive across the penalty area and Butler dived low to his right to make a comfortable save.

Bromley’s last chance to claim a point arrived at the death when Swaine’s back header was caught by Butler at his near post after Pooley launched a throw into the Concord penalty area.

Goldberg takes his side to seventh-placed Bath City on Saturday, a side that have drawn their last two games.

“Yes, we’ve got to make sure that we respond and it’s all about how you respond,” Goldberg said briefly.

The Ravens then welcome thirteenth-placed Hayes & Yeading United on 25 January, before the massive game against Eastleigh three days later.

Goldberg said: “We’ve got some games coming up that are important to us but we take one game as it comes and we need to see a response at Bath.

“We’ll think about that Eastleigh game nearer the time.”

When asked what this result means in the Skrill South title race, the Bromley boss replied: “Psychologically it’s a tick in the box for Eastleigh and a cross in the box for us!”

Bromley: Joe Welch, Dean Pooley, Joe Anderson, Danny Waldren, Rob Swaine, Jack Holland, Pierre Joseph-Dubois, Ashley Nicholls (Elliot Buchanan 60), Jake Reid (Jay May 59), Bradley Goldberg, Brendan Kiernan (Albert Jarrett 74).
Subs: Ali Fuseini, Nic McDonnell

Goal:  Rob Swaine 38

Booked: Danny Waldren 51

Concord Rangers: Jamie Butler, Jack Lampe (Mason Spence 30), Reece Harris, Nicky Cowley, Steve King, Paul Goodacre, Gary Ogilvie, James White, Sam Higgins (Tony Stokes 77), Sam Collins, Steve Cawley.
Subs: Ollie Bowles, John Easterford, Archange Nkumu

Goals:  Sam Higgins 42 (penalty), 56

Booked: Paul Goodacre 69

Attendance: 305
Referee: Mr John Busby (Wallingford, Oxfordshire)
Assistants: Ms Sian Piret (Marston, Oxfordshire) & Mr Kevin Howick (Abingdon, Oxfordshire)