Bromley 2-1 Sutton United - We gave our fans what they were after today, says Mark Goldberg

Saturday 22nd November 2014

Vanarama Conference South
Saturday 22nd November 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY manager Mark Goldberg says there’s unity within his squad to go on and claim the Vanarama Conference South title at the end of the season.

The Ravens leapfrogged over their Kent rivals Ebbsfleet United into second-place in the table with 30 points from 16 games – three points behind leaders Boreham Wood - after coming from behind to beat their bitter rivals Sutton United in front of 1,043 fans at Hayes Lane.

Bromley, with the best away record in the league, have struggled at home, having lost four of their seven league games at Hayes Lane, which was staging its 60th match of the season today.

And the home faithful feared their miserable home form was continuing when Jamie White, 25, volleyed home to score within thirteen minutes and 53 seconds of his Sutton United debut.

But Bromley were level within four minutes through Pierre Joseph-Dubois’ header, before the 26-year-old Frenchman slotted home a winner with only two minutes of the game remaining to claim the local bragging rights.

“Well normally when we have the major opportunities in the game and we don’t quite finish – we’ve hit the post and hit the crossbar and the opposition come back and nick it at the end and for a change we’ve got the win that I thought we deserved,” said Goldberg.

“First half we were very slow to get going but conceding again from a set-piece, which was really a mix-up in an understanding of whose marking who I’m afraid, but anyway it’s another one of those, but after that I thought we defended extremely well and we grew as the game went on.

“We wanted to get ourselves together at half-time – which we did – and we went in knowing that we could turn it on in the second half and we believed that we could.

“We talked about last week at Hayes & Yeading – being a goal down to win 2-1 – yet we had the confidence that we could come back and win.

“Today we was one-all. We were growing in momentum and we really felt that we could get at them in the second half.

“We had one-on-ones, didn’t we? We must’ve had two one-on-ones, maybe three. We’ve hit the post, we’ve hit the crossbar, the keeper pulled off a good save, a couple of good saves, so I think we did ourselves proud in the second half other than actually finish and finally we’ve got the finish after three attempts. We got the finish that we deserved.”

Paul Doswell’s side created the first chance inside the opening five minutes.

Left-back Callum Hart whipped in a cross which White helped on but the ball bounced off Ricky Wallard inside the penalty box and goalkeeper Seb Brown gathered.

But diminutive striker, Billy Medlock, who scored 16 goals for Ryman Premier League Tonbridge Angels before his switch to Gander Green Lane last month, squandered an excellent chance.

Midfielder Glen Southam played the ball into White, who whipped in a precise cross from the left towards the far post where the unmarked Medlock saw his downward header parried by Brown to his left and the former Eastbourne Town striker lost his composure and blasted the rebound over the crossbar from six-yards.

But defending at corners has proved to be a problem for Bromley in recent weeks and Sutton United broke the deadlock through this method.

Hart swung in a corner from the right which sailed out towards the far post where Kevin Amankwaah rose to plant his header across goal and White smacked his hooked volley into the roof of the net from eight-yards.

Goldberg said: “I thought we defended well other than one set piece when they’ve scored. 

“Back post, back across and they’ve scored and it wasn’t good enough.

“There was a miss-understanding with Ugo (Udoji), he had to mark the number two and once he realised to the detriment to a goal he did very well so we put it right.”

Bromley didn’t dwell on that set-back and winger Louis Dennis cut in from the right and former Dartford keeper Alan Julian made a comfortable low save at his near post.

But quick thinking from Bromley’s strike-force helped them back into the game after eighteen minutes.

Moses Ademola’s quickly-taken free-kick caught out Sutton right-back Kevin Amankwaah and that allowed Dennis to float over a cross from the left by-line and Joseph-Dubois directed his free header sailing over the keeper’s right shoulder into the roof of the net from eight-yards.

Goldberg said: “What a way to come back! A quick free-kick, great header!  Louis and Pierre have been magnificent as a pair. You’re talking about winger to a winger. That’s sensational and Pierre scores again. He’s scored two goals today. Fabulous!”

Sutton United almost increased their lead following another corner.

Southam whipped in the ball from the left, which was headed clear by Bromley defender Rob Swaine at the far post and Amankwaah hooked his shot straight into Brown’s gloves.

Hart played a great diagonal pass which took left-back Joe Anderson out of the game and Wellard cut in from the right and his left-footed angled drive deflected behind for a Sutton United corner.

Dennis clipped the ball up to Jordan Robertson, whose cushioned header released Ademola down the left and he floated over a cross from inside the Sutton United penalty area which was headed behind by Hart with Danny Waldren lurking at the far post.

Dennis swung in the resulting corner from the right and Ademola directed his downward header wide from ten-yards.

Sutton United should have taken a lead going into half-time when winger Wellard played a sublime through ball along the deck. White turned Swaine on the edge of the box to cut into the area but Brown rushed off his line to gather the ball to deny the former Salisbury City and Bristol Rovers striker.

When asked about his thoughts at the break, Goldberg felt there was more to come from his side.

He said: “Just that we believed that we were getting ourselves back in the game.

“Other than the goal that we conceded, we were defending very well. We knew when we broke we were dangerous in the second half. 

“There is a slight advantage of a slope in the second half and we took advantage of that. We talked about trying to help the ball on a little bit quicker and we did that.

“We got into one-on-one’s and the belief was there.”

Goldberg was delighted that his Bromley side created a number of decent goalscoring opportunities during the second half.

But The Ravens were cursing their bad luck within the opening seven minutes of the second half.

Reece Prestedge played a low defence splitting pass which was flicked on by Robertson into Ademola’s path, who shrugged off the attentions of Charlie Clough and the quick attacker stroked his right-footed shot past Julian but the ball bounced agonisingly off the foot of the right-hand post and rolled along the line and towards safety.

Goldberg added: “There was a little flick on, he got in behind, good quick feet and he placed it well to be honest.  On another day that’s going to be post and in. There you go.”

Bromley received a slice of luck, too, however, when the impressive White drilled a low centre from the right, which Swaine slid in at the near post and watched the ball flash across goal and behind for a corner.

The physically strong and versatile Craig Dundas cracked a right-footed shot on the turn from 30-yards, which was comfortably saved by the Bromley keeper in the 56th minute.

Bromley squandered another excellent chance to take a deserved lead in the 62nd minute.

Prestedge and Dennis linked up outside the Sutton United box and Anderson whipped in an excellent cross from the left and Ademola’s diving header from ten-yards was caught by Julian.

“Great cross and he did well. It was a little bit too easy for the keeper to save,” admitted Goldberg.

Anderson gave the ball away when his square pass from left-back was collected by Medlock, who played a diagonal pass over to White, whose shot looped harmlessly over Brown’s crossbar.

Sutton United went close to grabbing the winner with fifteen minutes remaining.

Amankwaah, Bedsente Gomis and Dundas linked up well inside Bromley’s half and substitute Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick cut past two white-shirted players into the penalty area from the right and his low left-footed drive was saved by Brown, low to his left at his near post.

“That was about the only real save of the second half that really troubled us,” added the Bromley boss.

Goldberg had changed his strike-force although Jamie Slabber and Adam Birchall – both 29 - have only scored two goals for Bromley between them.

However, Slabber, fresh from a loan spell with league rivals Farnborough, was denied a goal against his former club, thanks to a brilliant save in the 76th minute.

Waldren played a fine low pass to release Slabber, who beat his marker, and curled his left-footed shot towards goal from fourteen-yards, but Julian dived high to his right to make a great block.

Goldberg said: “Slabber came on and he won his headers and he was intelligent.  He set the ball, he worked hard and that’s the Slabber that we know, that we signed.”

Bromley coach Hugo Langton revealed afterwards that former Gillingham striker Birchall is the first one at training every week and he was denied his second goal for the Ravens in the 81st minute.

Southam cut Sutton’s tenth and final corner back to substitute Dan Wishart, whose low left-footed angled drive was comfortably saved by Brown.

The Bromley keeper then launched a big kick straight down the middle and Birchall turned his man, cut in to drill his right-footed dipping drive towards the top left-hand corner from 25-yards, which Julian tipped over the bar high to his right.

Goldberg said: “He’s got confidence. He doesn’t lose his confidence. He hasn’t played a lot. He hasn’t had his opportunity but he came on today and all three subs made a difference to us.”

Substitute Damian Scannell – also playing against his side - cut the ball inside to Birchall, but the ball hit a bobble and the striker stroked his right-footed shot wide from 20-yards.

It seemed Bromley were not going to get the winner that they deserved and the crossbar saved Sutton United.

Anderson floated a left-footed free-kick into the penalty area and Swaine rose to plant his header towards goal, which was on target but Joseph-Dubois’ guided his header against the crossbar from six-yards.

“We also thought it was going to be one of those days,” admitted Goldberg.

Julian pulled off two great saves before Joseph-Dubois netted his eighth-goal of the season to give Bromley a deserved winner with 42:51 on the clock.

The 31-year-old goalkeeper dived low to his right to block Prestedge’s 30-yard drive, then blocked Slabber’s follow-up shot but Joseph-Dubois stabbed home the winner to the delight of the vocal and jubilant  Bromley faithful at the car park end of the ground.

Goldberg said: “Pierre is just a master at being at the right place at the right time and two goals. What’s that? It must be ten for the season.  Eight? He’s done very well.”

The woodwork was struck for the third time at the death when Sutton United substitute Wishart whipped his free-kick high over Brown’s left shoulder from 30-yards, which crashed off the crossbar and dropped down towards safety.

Goldberg added: “I thought they might nick one at the end.  Luckily we nicked it at the end.”

When asked what today’s victory over sixth-from-bottom Sutton United meant to him, Goldberg replied: “We all understand other results apparently went in our favour so that’s good news as well, so we’ve got to concentrate with what we’re doing.”

Goldberg has shipped out striker Duncan Culley (Hampton & Richmond Borough) and defender Adam Bailey-Dennis (Bishop’s Stortford) recently and is content with his current eighteen-man squad.

He said: “We said to the boys before the game, I’ve got my squad now. We’re understanding each other now and I don’t want to make movements in and out so make sure you don’t force me to have to make those sort of movements in and out because I want to stick with you guys and make it work.

“We want to start winning at home.  We’ve got a good track record away from home so it was important for the home fans’.  The fact that the home fans’ are growing the way that they are as well, it’s magnificent. We always wanted to push towards a thousand supporters as an average and maybe one day we will achieve that.

“We knew Sutton also bring a few so that’s slightly disguised the truth.

“They’ve (our fans) made a lot of noise and we gave them what they were after today.”

Goldberg takes his side to fourth-placed Basingstoke Town on Tuesday night, 24-hours after leaders Boreham Wood entertain basement side Weston-super-Mare.

“It makes Tuesday night massive, a massive game for both teams and for the league itself, so it’s going to be interesting,” said Goldberg.

“We’re really getting a feel of the unity within the dressing room now and the understanding that I have with the players.

“As I said to them, to build a solid team that’s worthy of winning a championship or winning the title, it can take years.”

Bromley’s last title success was back in 1961 when the Isthmian League crown came to Hayes Lane.

“We’ve got the core from last year, about eight of the core of last year and we’ve got another eight or so, players that are near it and I think they’ve actually settled in very well.

“It’s taken us time to really understand their best positions and how they fit well in with us and to understand what I want from them and to basically test each other out.  I think we’ve done it. We’ve had that. We’ve done that now and now we just have to concentrate on getting the points.”

Losing 4-2 at home to Sutton United at the start of miserable March put paid to Bromley’s title bid last season as Eastleigh and Sutton United closed the gap and Goldberg had to settle for third-place, which was their highest finish in Conference South.

Goldberg said: “Last year we faded because we didn’t have the strength-in-depth. Although we don’t have an out-and-out goalscorer like Bradley (Goldberg) we have a better squad this year so hopefully that will make up for losing Bad and we can get over the line this year.

“We’re getting our average back to where we need to get it to.  I’m pleased with the boys. You should see them in the dressing room! There’s great unity there. There’s a long way to go, but it’s a good position to be in.”

Bradley Goldberg, 21, could well be the missing piece in the jigsaw, and he made his Bristol Rovers debut today, coming off the bench for the final three minutes in their 2-2 draw at Chester in the Vanarama Conference, whilst on loan from League Two Dagenham & Redbridge.

“Hopefully he’ll get a chance. He only got ten minutes today again so hopefully he goes there and they will actually give him a chance to play and if they do I’m sure he will score goals.”

If not, his father will gladly welcome him back with open arms to help Bromley’s title challenge.

Bromley: Seb Brown, Ugo Udoji, Joe Anderson, Reece Prestedge, Rob Swaine, Jack Holland, Pierre Joseph-Dubois, Danny Waldren, Jordan Robertson (Jamie Slabber 69), Moses Ademola (Adam Birchall 73), Louis Dennis (Damian Scannell 72).
Subs: Callum McNaughton, Ali Fuseini

Goals: Pierre Joseph-Dubois 18, 88

Booked: Danny Waldren 4, Louis Dennis 36

Sutton United: Alan Julian, Kevin Amankwaah, Callum Hart, Ricky Wellard (Dan Wishart 74), Shaun Cooper, Charlie Clough, Bedsente Gomis, Glen Southam (Jessy Reindorf 82), Craig Dundas, Billy Medlock (Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick 69), Jamie White.
Subs: Harry Osborne, Tom Lovelock

Goal: Jamie White 14

Attendance: 1,043
Referee: Mr Ashvin Degnarain (Islington, London N5)
Assistants: Mr Chris Felton & Mr Jonathan Creswick