Bromley 3-4 Dartford - We had a great opportunity today and we blew it, admits Mark Goldberg

Saturday 08th November 2014

The FA Cup First Round
Saturday 8th November 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

DARTFORD manager Tony Burman praised his players for their commitment, desire and professionalism after winning a FA Cup epic to pile more First Round misery on heartbroken Bromley.

A crowd of 4,105 fans packed Hayes Lane to watch these two Kent club’s produce a great FA Cup First Round tie in the rain, which saw six goals being scored during an enthralling second half.

Bromley went into this game sitting in fourth-place in the Vanarama Conference South table and unbeaten in eight games, while Dartford sat six places higher in the football pyramid, struggling in the bottom four in the Vanarama Conference.

Mark Goldberg had guided Bromley to this stage of the competition five times in the past eight years and the club were desperate to end 69 years’ of FA Cup misery.

This was the eleventh time that Bromley had failed to get into the Second Round since beating Slough United 6-2 on aggregate in the First Round back in 1945.

But Dartford went on to celebrate the tenth time that they’ve progressed through to the Second Round, the first time for 30 years, thanks to winning this seven-goal thriller.

Bromley believed the dream was on when Louis Dennis swept home his fifth goal of the season after only 75 seconds.

But Dartford hit back and turned the tie on its head with two goals within the opening ten minutes of the second half, courtesy of Danny Harris and Ryan Hayes.

Bromley striker Moses Ademola capitalised on a gift to drill home his seventh goal of the season just 68 seconds later to make it 2-2.

Harris flicked home his second goal to put Dartford back in the driving seat, before Danny Waldren – who scored two goals in the 2-1 win at Evesham United in the Fourth Qualifying Round – headed home a leveller.

But Dartford sealed the victory with nine minutes left when striker Tom Bradbrook headed home.

Darts boss Tony Burman summed up the game by saying, “What a great game for The FA Cup!  A typical FA Cup pitch as well, very muddy out there and it determined how our team got to play.

“Listen, that’s why I do feel that I’ve got a good group (of players). It isn’t the first time they’ve come from behind this season.

“There was a hell of a lot of pressure on them today. We were favourites. It’s easy to get a banana skin in any Cup game.  After the start they’ve had, it gave Bromley a lot of confidence. We’ve had to grind our way and I felt we did and to be fair I thought we played very, very well today.”

Bromley manager Mark Goldberg was crestfallen when he faced the media after emerging from a heartbroken home dressing room.

He said: “It’s a massive disappointment for me, as you can tell.  I’m trying to put on a very brave face but I suppose you’ve got to start thinking of the job in hand, which is to try to get promoted.  That’s where we want to be. We want to be where Dartford are.

“Again, what an opportunity for us to make a bit of history here again! I can’t believe it - fifth time in eight years we’ve failed at this hurdle.

“Great crowd, I think that’s good compensation as far as the owners are concerned commercially.  I’m sure it was a good day for them but it would have been a lot greater had we had the (£18,000) prize money as well.

“I’m so disappointed how we defended the set-pieces rally. It was too easy.

“Having gone in 1-0 up at half-time and feeling that we really commanded most of that first half, we felt we were in control of the game and we should have really tried to seal it before we went in at half-time.

“We had one or two very good chances to get the second. When there’s only one goal in the game then you’re always vulnerable but to concede in the second half so early on didn’t help us.

“It’s a big disappointment because in terms of open play, I thought we did ok. It was just set-pieces. I can’t understand how we were allowed ourselves to let in four goals in the second half so we have to dust ourselves off and look at it and see how we can bounce back on Tuesday night against Hemel Hempstead at home.”

Bromley got off to a dream start by taking the lead on the break after only 75 seconds.

Ademola broke down the right to reach the by-line before cutting the ball back across goal for an unmarked Dennis to sweep his first time shot into the bottom left-hand corner from six-yards.

Goldberg said: “Moses did what we love him to do, just to run with the ball positively and get to the by-line and crossed and Louis’ was at the far post to give us a great start.”

Burman felt Elliot Bradbrook was fouled in the build-up.

He said: “We thought it was a foul on Elliot in all fairness and it’s put him out of position. The referee never gave it and it was a great start for them.  We were caught unawares.

“But we’ve been patient and professional and that’s what happens when you’re up in the league that we’re in.  I thought we did do alright.”

Dartford’s first opening arrived after fifteen minutes when they called Bromley keeper Seb Brown into action.

Dartford right-back Lee Burns drove in a cross, which wasn’t cleared by the Bromley defence and Max Cornhill’s right-footed volley skidded off the turf through a crowd of players and the Bromley keeper dived low to his right to make the save.

Hayes released Tom Bradbrook down the right and without any support the former Leatherhead striker dragged his shot across Seb Brown and harmlessly past the far post.

Bromley called Dartford keeper Jason Brown into making a fine high save when Dennis cracked a right-footed shot on the turn from 22-yards, which forced the Welsh stopper to pluck the ball out of the air high above his head.

But Bromley were to rue a great chance to double their lead on the half-hour mark.

The Ravens caught Dartford on the break again and Dennis released Ademola, who swept the ball out wide to Dennis, who cut in from the left channel to cut the ball back across goal where an unmarked Ali Fuseini skied his right-footed shot over the bar from six-yards.

It proved to be a crucial miss from the former Millwall central midfielder.

Goldberg said: “When it came to open play, we probably caused more problems. We created more goalscoring opportunities than they had, but we didn’t punish them.”

Burman added: “It’s from our corner and we tried to turn on the edge of the box and got caught. Yes, he should have put it in and it could have been a turning point. We’ve had a few ups and downs so far this season and I’m glad something’s gone for us.”

Bromley went close again when Dennis swung in a corner from the right, which was headed back across goal by Rob Swaine and Piere Joseph-Dubois’s looping header dropped the wrong side of the far post.

Dennis, who was lively during the first half, cut in from the left again and his attempt was caught by Jason Brown at his near post.

Bromley were 45 minutes away from creating a new piece of history for the club.

Goldberg said: “We had chances to have gone 2-0 up. I don’t know why we came out the way that we did. We were a little bit sloppy and it certainly wasn’t the direction that we gave them.

“We said (at half-time) if we won the second ball we would win the game. Unfortunately to some extent what we didn’t compensate for was not picking up your men as an individual at set-pieces.  You practice as much as you want but if certain players don’t pick up their men, then unfortunately that’s what happens, you concede.”

Dartford, meanwhile, couldn’t have played poorly again, during the second half.

Burman said: “We just felt we’d be biding our time and be patient and keep plugging away in the second half.

“We just felt we still had to get the balls into right areas, which we felt we did but we felt the quality in the last third had to be a little bit better and that’s what happened.

“We felt that we had quite a bit of the possession in the first half.  Bromley were trying to get us on the break more than anything else and they did really could have gone 2-0 up.

“It was hard coming up the hill. I say up the hill. You don’t notice the slope at Bromley but there is a slope.  To come in at 1-0 down wasn’t too sad. At least we kept it at one, instead of two.

“I always felt that we had a good chance.”

But nobody expected to witness six goals during an excellent second half.

Dartford were on level terms after only two minutes and 27 seconds.

Hayes swung in a corner from the right with his lethal left-foot towards the near post which wasn’t dealt with by Bromley keeper Seb Brown and Harris headed home from close range.

Burman said: “Brilliant. It’s a great corner. They take good corners and we take good corners and we got our just reward, I think, in the end.”
Goldberg added: “It’s a difficult one because we have worked very hard on set-pieces but certain individuals, the goalkeeper really knows he should have punched the ball out better than he did for that first goal.”

Dartford winger Peter Sweeney played left-back Tom Bender on the overlap and his driven shot was saved low down at his near post by Bromley keeper Seb Brown.

Dartford took the lead for the first time with 55 minutes on the clock.

Tom Bradbrook swept the ball out wide to the right to Hayes, who cut inside and curled a beautiful low strike across Seb Brown and the travelling fans roared as they saw the ball nestle into the bottom corner.

It was great to see Dartford’s longest serving player find the back of the net with a great strike.

Burman said: “It’s typical Ryan! He’s cut inside and he’s come onto his left foot.

“Listen, the lad has been out for nearly ten months and it’s going to take him time for him to get back to his normal flow. 

“He’s played against a team in a lower league and you’ve got to realise that but he was excellent. He’s done alright today and he’s got to produce that but it’s going to take time because of the length of time that he’s been out.”

Goldberg said: “I think we showed him inside on to his left foot too easy and it was gaping for him to make that passing shot to that far post.

“I think we can do a lot better to be honest, but you’ve got to give him credit. It was a good goal.”

However, Bromley were not going to go down without a fight and they restored parity just 68 seconds later.

Dartford defender Rory McCauley’s backpass towards keeper Jason Brown was chased down by Ademola, who capitalised on a howler from the keeper to take a touch before drilling a low shot into the bottom near corner past a couple of players on the line.

Burman was naturally cheesed off with the goal.

He said: “It’s a situation where you’re playing for 90 minute and players will make mistakes, especially on the pitch and the conditions.

“It shouldn’t have got back to Brownie. Rory should’ve cleared the ball like he was doing all day! It wasn’t the pitch where you can turn and twist.  You have to play the way you’re facing.  Rory got a little bit tangled up and it ended up with Brownie back there as well and he’s got caught.  You can’t do that on pitches like these and we got punished.

“They are upset about that but having said that at the end of it in a few weeks’ time no one’s going to worry about what we did here and what mistakes we made.  All we’re going to look at we’ve got through to the next round of The FA Cup!”

Goldberg added: “I was proud of the way we came back when we were 2-1 down and 3-2 down.

“I think we challenged, we competed, we so nearly got a result of some sort, even a draw would have been great in terms of competing. I don’t think one can say it was a slam dunk for Dartford, although I’m sure Tony Burman will say it was.”

But Dartford turned the screw when it mattered the most.

Burns’ free-kick was headed away and Sweeney cracked a volley wide of the near post, before Dartford scored from another set-piece with 65 minutes on the clock.

Hayes swung in the corner from the right towards the far post and skipper Elliot Bradbrook directed his towering header down towards goal and Harris stuck out his right leg to flick the ball past Seb Brown.

Burman said: “Danny’s done well. I’m pleased for him. He’s worked hard. We changed a couple of things today. I thought the way we prepared for the game with the tactics, what we wanted to do, it’s worked, spot-on.”

Goldberg added: “Callum McNaughton knows he was wrong for their third goal when he allowed the player to get in behind him for quite a simple header, although it was hit his head and his shoulder and went in.

“A big disappointment and we will work really hard to try to put it right.”

Bromley striker Jordan Robertson drilled a left-footed angled drive, which narrowly screamed over the crossbar, before Hayes Lane exploded with Bromley’s equaliser with fourteen minutes remaining.

Dennis swung in a corner from the left and central midfielder Waldren rose to plant his header into the roof of the net.

Goldberg was delighted that the fans favourite notched his eighth goal of the season and remains the club’s leading goalscorer.

“You shouldn’t have to score three goals at home to stay in the game, so you should be winning the game or at least drawing a game with three goals so to lose 4-3 was somewhat a little bit disappointment.

“We can take comfort from the fact that we competed all the way to the end. We were in the game right to the last minute.  No one who was watching wanted to leave the ground.  You wouldn’t have thought it was impossible for us to get back into it.”

Burman added: “I’ve been here and watched them many times. I thought it was the centre half, the no 5 (Rob Swaine) who got the goal?

“We tried to prepare to stop that type of corner because we know the areas where they put the ball in.  That was a little disappointing.”

Bromley substitute Duncan Culley progressed down the right and flashed a cross towards the far post but Dennis stroked a poor shot, which rolled apologetically into the keeper’s gloves.

Dartford won the game with nine minutes left, through Tom Bradbrook’s fourth goal of the season.

Harris received the ball down the left channel and whipped in a great cross for Bradbrook, who was left in acres of space to loop his diving header into the bottom left-hand corner to shatter Bromley’s dream.

“We said it was coming and it has away from home,” said Burman.

“It’s taken a bit of time but fair play to Danny and Tom. I played them two today simply because of their height and their pace and I thought they would cause their two centre halves problems if we got the ball in the right areas. I thought we did.  I thought second half we had control of the game.

“I felt second half was great for us. We became a Conference Premier side. I felt we was very professional in what we done, especially in the last 15-20 minutes and that’s what we’re used to playing. I thought we handled the game very, very well.”

Goldberg added: “The far post header that finished us off rally was weak. There’s no way a player should climb that high from the back post and have such a free header and we should have had somebody on the post as well to stop that from happening as well so I need to see again on the video.”

Bromley created one final half-chance when substitute Damian Scannell whipped in a teasing cross-come-shot from 30-yards, which was comfortably saved by Dartford keeper Jason Brown to prevent the ball nestling into the bottom far corner.

Goldberg said: “We had 21 crosses, I don’t remember them really troubling us from open play. I don’t think we had any shots to save but they do what they do best. They get the ball in to dangerous areas from set-pieces and they punished us.   We just have to learn to be more resilient with set-pieces.

“It made for a very exciting Cup tie but all that Tony Burman cares about is that he’s in the next round and all I care about is that we’re not.

“We’ve done our bit today. We’ve scored three good goals. It should have been enough, which is very disappointing.”

The Bromley faithful were desperate to lay the 1945 ghost to rest.

“We will one day, we will one day,” promised Goldberg.

“Today was a great opportunity wasn’t it? We’re all very disappointed.  We’re very pleased with the crowd so at least that’s good compensation for the owners that we had such a good crowd today.

“I mean we had a great opportunity today and we blew it!”

For Dartford, they can now look forward to a Second Round tie on 6 December and banking a total of £30,500 in prize money. Bromley have banked £24,500 from their run this season.

Burman said: “We’re in the draw, that’s it and that’s all that matters and hopefully we’ll get someone at home maybe and as long as it’s no-one from our own league.

“We take all the positives, scoring four goals away from home. We’ll tidy up from some of the negatives on the goals scored against us but the positive is the boys kept going and they showed a lot of commitment, a lot of desire and in the end the belief that we could get through.

“That’s why I feel that I’ve got a decent group. It isn’t the first time this season that they’ve just come from behind and we’ve done it a number of occasions, but I just hope they can take that forward into the league form.”

A cracking FA Cup tie in front of a 4,105 crowd.

Burman said: “Let’s talk about the four thousand fans who came here to support the two clubs, it’s a fantastic achievement by both clubs.”

Bromley: Seb Brown, Jack Holland, Joe Anderson, Ali Fuseini (Mitchell Pinnock 86), Rob Swaine, Callum McNaughton, Pierre Joseph-Dubois (Damian Scannell 78), Danny Waldren, Jordan Robertson (Duncan Culley 73), Moses Ademola, Louis Dennis.
Subs: Ugo Udoji, Reece Prestedge, Adam Birchall, Paul Rodgers

Goals: Louis Dennis 2, Moses Ademola 56, Danny Waldren 74

Dartford: Jason Brown, Lee Burns, Tom Bender, Max Cornhill, Nathan Collier, Rory McCauley, Ryan Hayes (Lee Noble 90), Elliot Bradbrook, Tom Bradbrook (Harry Crawford 84), Danny Harris, Peter Sweeney.
Subs: Andy Pugh, Matt Mitchell-King, Luke Daley, Deren Ibrahim, Lucas Boye

Goals: Danny Harris 48, 65, Ryan Hayes 55, Tom Bradbrook 81

Attendance: 4,105
Referee: Mr Steve Rushton
Assistants: Mr C Green & Mr Paul Howard (Bermondsey, London SE16)
Fourth Official: Mr Anthony Da Costa (Cambridge, Cambridgeshire)