Bromley 3-1 Wrexham - It's great to have a good start, says Bromley boss Mark Goldberg

Saturday 08th August 2015
Bromley 3 – 1 Wrexham
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 08/08/2015 15:00

The Vanarama National League
Saturday 8th August 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY manager Mark Goldberg hailed his great team performance after pulling off a shock result on their Vanarama National League top-flight debut.


Wrexham arrived at Hayes Lane with an unbeaten record on all eight of their previous opening day games and they had plenty of early possession against the nervy full-time Vanarama Conference South champions.

Wrexham deserved their lead halfway through the first half when right-winger Wesley York’s flicked shot glanced across Alan Julian to find the corner of the net.

But the home fans in the crowd of 2,085 just couldn’t believe what they saw from their side as they scored three goals from three shots during a clinical first half.

Sean Francis lashed home a debut goal only 119 seconds after Bromley fell behind, before Alex Wall placed a shot into the bottom far corner to also score on his debut to give Bromley a shock 2-1 lead inside 29 minutes.

Bromley winger, Moses Emmanuel (Moses Ademola last season) buried home a third as Bromley sat proudly at the top of the Vanarama National League table at half-time, before dropping down to third-place behind Eastleigh and Boreham Wood after 90 minutes of football.

“It’s a good start,” said Bromley boss Goldberg after the club’s dream debut at non-league football’s top table.

“Obviously having gone a goal down early on, I was concerned our heads shouldn’t go and I wanted to make sure we could believe that we could get ourselves back in the game and all credit to the lads we got straight back into it with a good goal of our own from a set-piece.

“Then we made a goal out of nothing for Wallie. In defence we broke up their play. We were nice and compact and we stopped them trying to do what they were trying to do and then on the breakaway we scored.

“I’m really pleased with the fact that in the second half we needed to contain them from causing us a difficult second half and I think we showed the strength and composure that we were all hoping for and stopped them really being too much of a threat in the second half.”

Beating Wrexham all seemed unthinkable in 2002 when the Ravens suffered THAT humbling 3-0 defeat at Molesey, as the club were certain to lose their Ryman League Division One status.

That game proved to be Stuart McIntyre’s last game in charge at Hayes Lane and current chairman Jerry Dolke reflected on one of Bromley’s darkest days.

He said yesterday, “That goal was scored by Neil Stanley and the headline in the Bromley Times was “Stanley Knives Bromley.”

He added: “We’ve come a long way since.”

Move on 13 years and Bromley claimed their first league title in 54 years when they won the Conference South title on 18 April 2015 and they welcomed Wrexham on a level playing field for the first time in their history.

Wrexham, with 2,000 season ticket holders and 23 Welsh Cup titles behind them, reached the European Cup Winners Cup Quarter-Finals back in 1976, won The FA Trophy at Wembley Stadium last season and were playing the likes of AFC Bournemouth, Brighton & Hove Albion and Queen’s Park Rangers in the third tier of English football when Bromley were humbled at Molesey.

Wrexham boss Gary Mills will be eating his words tonight after telling yesterday: “They (Bromley) are going to be excited too, because it is a new league, a massive challenge for them. They did extremely well last season.

“Their first game is against Wrexham, a big, big club, so it is going to be a big crowd and hostile I would imagine, but exciting like I say.”

Mills was not the only one writing off Bromley’s chances this season on their big day as BBC Radio Kent pundit Tony Hudd said before today’s game, “I think they’re going to drop!”

Wrexham’s travelling fans, around 800, were in full voice at the start of the game, while the Bromley faithful were taking in the occasion in a quiet manner.

But the way that Wrexham maintained possession in defence and in midfield – with Bromley comfortably sitting back and soaking it all up – pleased Goldberg.

Wrexham created the first chance of the game inside the opening two minutes.

Blaine Hudson clipped a sublime 50-yard diagonal pass out of central defence which fell at York’s feet and the winger cracked an angled first time right-footed drive which was saved low by Julian to his left.

Goldberg said: “They were always going to come at us with belief and we was always going to be a little bit nervous early on.

“I didn’t want us to sit back but at the same time I wanted us to be compact so we couldn’t quote get that balance right.

“But I know if we could just hang in there as the game went on we would step up and press a bit higher each period as the game went on and in the end we were pressing right up the pitch and I believe that we battled their game plan a little bit.”

Wrexham continued to dominant possession but Bromley’s first sniff at goal arrived inside nine minutes.

The excellent Ali Fuseini released Bradley Goldberg, who cut towards the edge of the Wrexham penalty area, before he cut the ball back to Fuseini, who hit a cross/shot sailing over the crossbar from 30-yards.

When Bromley did venture forward, their final ball in the final third was lacking as the occasion got to their players during the one-sided early exchanges.

Therefore, it was no surprise when Wrexham scored the first Vanarama National League goal at Hayes Lane – with 21 minutes and 18 seconds on the clock.

Bromley switched off at a throw in and Dominic Vose, who was hugging the left-touchline whipped in an excellent low cross towards the near post and York nipped in front of his man and flicked his shot looping across Julian to find the far corner.

“I don’t think there was any doubt the first 20-25 minutes we were hanging in but there weren’t clear cut chances,” said Goldberg.

“They were putting a lot of pressure on us and we were finding our feet and we were nice and compact.

“It probably looked a lot more scary for the supporters. I was quite pleased with the shape.  They weren’t doing any harm when they were passing the ball across the back but obviously when they got their goal you think the momentum we need to make sure our heads don’t go down but we responded, didn’t we?”

But before the Hayes Lane faithful could come to terms with their side’s slow start, Bromley hit back in devastating fashion.

Joe Anderson swung in a left-footed free-kick from the left, Rob Swaine came up from the back to cause a nuisance inside the Wrexham box and his defensive partner Francis lashed his right-footed drive into the top right-hand corner from eight-yards.

STRIKE: Bromley defender Sean Francis lashes in the club's first ever goal in the Vanarama National League
Photo: Bromley FC/Edmund Boyden

“Great feeling,” came Goldberg’s reply as Bromley scored their first ever goal in the National League through their summer signing from league rivals Dover Athletic.

“Really pleased with Sean, he played immensely defensively and also he looked great going forward so it’s another one in the armoury isn’t it – to know you can have two centre halves that can score goals.”

Bromley are now a full-time outfit and train on the artificial pitches at the back of Hayes Lane.

Goldberg admitted his side have not been working on set-pieces during their three morning weekly training sessions.

He said: “Well to be fair we’ve done less than that than we have and just working on shape and being compact and stopping the opposition from breaking us down.

“We talk through set-pieces. We haven’t worked on them enough properly but it’s nice to see they work for us anyway!”

The goal lifted the Bromley faithful and their side stunned “big, big club,” Wrexham by taking the lead with 28:55 on the clock.

Talented left-winger Anthony Cook terrorised Wrexham right-back Mason Watkins-Clark (so much so he was substituted by Mills at the break) and he cut into the final third before rolling the ball across goal.

Goldberg couldn’t get a toe to the ball at the near post and the ball rolled into Wall’s path and the former Luton Town striker placed his right-footed shot across Cameron Belford into the bottom left-hand corner.

“He (Cook) passed it, I think Brad was running on and it was just too far ahead of Brad. I don’t know if Brad got a little toe to it and Wall came in and just smashed it home!

“It was a well-worked goal to be fair. The fact that we broke up their play to create it was even more pleasing.”

When asked how he felt beating Wrexham at the time, the Bromley boss said: “I think everyone believed the game was there for us to take advantage of. When you go 2-1 up having gone 1-0 down the momentum suddenly goes with you. We took advantage of that and scored the third.”

Shell-shocked Wrexham went close when former Welling United player Vose linked up well with striker James Gray and the ball was played inside to captain Jennings, whose right-footed volley whistled past the left-hand post.

But Bromley rose to the top of non-league football for the very first time in their 123-year history when Emmanual scored after 43 minutes.

Cook was the architect again down the left-hand side and he played the ball inside to Wall, who laid the ball off to the unmarked Emmanuel, who drilled his right-footed shot across the shell-shocked keeper to find the bottom far corner.

Goldberg added: “Well worked again! Good passing, movement. We kept the ball moving and Moses buried it beautifully!”

The goalscorer was given time and space to crack a right-footed volley screaming past the right-hand post from 35-yards at the end of the first half.

When asked what he told his troops during the half-time interval, Goldberg said: “I just said we’ve just got to go into the second half as it it’s 0-0!

“We’ve got to stay compact, we’ve got to not invite pressure on ourselves so we still pressed high, maybe a little bit higher just to feel it and when know when to go, but if the front two go then everyone’s got to go so as long as we’re all compact and the chances will come, the breaks will come and if we score another one then great, but if we don’t, we just need to make sure they don’t score!”

Mills made a change at the break and brought on left-winger Joel Logan and hauled off Watkins-Clark to put Javal Vidal at right-back in his place.

“Big, big club” Wrexham just couldn’t live with Bromley’s breakaways and Cook played a lovely diagonal pass to put Goldberg through on goal but a poor touch inside the box from Bromley’s striker allowed Wrexham to get back and clear their lines.

Wall spread the ball out wide to right-back Ugo Udoji, who floated over a cross, but the ball hit Goldberg’s back inside the box and denied a goalscoring opportunity.

Wrexham finally called Julian into serious action in the sixth minute of the second half.

Midfielder Vose played the ball inside to Jennings, who unleashed a right-footed drive towards the roof of the net but the shot was at a right height for the keeper, who stuck up his right hand to push the ball over the bar.

Wrexham left-back Sean Newton swung in a free-kick with his left-foot from the right which skipped past two onrushing Wrexham players and Julian kept his eyes on the ball to make a comfortable save.

Bromley received a slice of luck in the 65th minute when Vose cut in from the left and drilled his right-footed angled drive which flashed across goal and past the far post.

And just 52 seconds later Bromley could have killed the game off.

Cook produced yet another teasing cross from the left and Goldberg nipped in front of his man to stab his shot just past the foot of the near post.

Boss Goldberg said: “As the game went on we grew stronger and the belief was there and we had a few good attacking moves that we got to the by-line and lots of crosses and got the ball in the box. It didn’t quite work for us, the final ball, but it was very pleasing.”

Bromley pair Swaine and Francis were putting their bodies in front of everything that Wrexham could throw at them.

Bromley left-back Anderson played a short pass up to Cook, who cut in and curled his shot around the keeper and around the far post from within the bottom of the left channel.

Wrexham upped their tempo and they missed a decent opening in the 79th minute.

The ball was played from left to right and once in the middle Jennings swept the ball out to the unmarked York, who lashed his right-footed drive high over the Bromley bar from 16-yards.

Boss Goldberg felt his side should have been awarded a penalty after Cook swung in a corner from the right and the ball bounced up and clearly hit Vidal’s right hand inside the Wrexham penalty box but referee Nigel Lugg ignored penalty shouts.

The Bromley boss said: “I just felt there was times when the run of the decisions went against us but maybe all managers think that?”

Fuseini went close when he hit a right-footed shot on the turn from the corner of the penalty box which sailed just over the crossbar.

“Ali was great but for me Cookie was my man-of-the-match. He broke things up and created at the same time, but Ali was magnificent, he’s been very good recently.”

Julian produced a world-class save to frustrate Wrexham with four minutes left.

Newton swung in a corner from the right and the ball came out to Logan, who powered a right-footed volley heading towards the top near corner, but Julian clawed the ball around his near post high to his right.

“Alan Julian’s pulled off a great save,” said Goldberg.

“But you would expect them to have a few chances. I possibly expected them to create more but they didn’t do that.

“We forced them long at times and we stopped them from playing the game that they really wanted to play.”

Bromley still had time to create one more late chance at the death when Fuseini fed substitute striker Ben May, who found Anderson unmarked inside the box, but he lashed his left-footed drive harmlessly wide of the left-hand post.

But Bromley were able to celebrate the club’s greatest ever result in their 123-year history, leaving their long-term fans in a state of shock at the final whistle – Bromley beating “big, big club” Wrexham!

Goldberg said: “It was a team performance today, wasn’t it?”

The Ravens are now attracting large attendances to their iconic Hayes Lane stadium – something that only used to happen in big FA Cup First Round ties.

Goldberg said: “I suppose I was hoping they’d be 2,300! That was what I was hoping so you tell me it was 2,000? I suppose I’m a little bit disappointed but we’ve got to be pleased that we’d like to think if we can average 1,700 this year we’ll be doing very well!”

Bromley travel to Woking on Tuesday night and Grimsby Town next Saturday, before hosting Braintree Town on Tuesday 18th August.

Woking began their league campaign with a 1-0 defeat at relegated Tranmere Rovers today.

Goldberg, though, is keeping his feet on the ground, while the Bromley faithful celebrate their famous victory.

“I think we’ve just got to take every game as it comes. It’s great to have a good start, without a doubt!

“I’ll start thinking about that (Woking game) tomorrow. Tonight I’ll just digest what happened today and then I’ll start studying Woking tomorrow and Monday and we’ll be ready and prepared for Tuesday.”

Bromley: Alan Julian, Ugo Udoji, Joe Anderson, Ali Fuseini, Rob Swaine, Sean Francis, Moses Emmanuel Ademola (Pierre Joseph-Dubois 70), Lee Minshull, Alex Wall (Ben May 70), Bradley Goldberg, Anthony Cook.
Subs: Jack Holland, Reece Prestedge, Louis Dennis

oals: Sean Francis 24, Alex Wall 29, Moses Emmanuel Ademola 43

Booked: Alex Wall 45, Joe Anderson 56

ham: Cameron Belford, Mason Watkins-Clark (Joel Logan 46), Sean Newton, Javan Vidal, Blaine Hudson, Emmanuel Smith, Connor Jennings, Dominic Vose (Kayden Jackson 70), James Gray (Jamal Fyfield 61), Adriano Moke, Wesley York.
Subs: Lee Fowler, Jonathan Royle

Goal: Wesley York 22

oked:  Javan Vidal 38

ttendance: 2,085
Referee: Mr Nigel Lugg
Assistants: Mr Michael Taylor & Mr Neil Morrison
ourth Official: Mr George Sprague