Bromley 3-1 Torquay United - I still want us to drive on and do better, says Bromley boss Neil Smith

Tuesday 12th September 2017
Bromley 3 – 1 Torquay United
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 12/09/2017 19:45

Vanarama National League
Tuesday 12th September 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says he wants his side to drive on and do better after striker Brett Williams scored a hat-trick against his former club Torquay United.

Managerless Torquay United arrived at Hayes Lane struggling at the foot of the Vanarama National League table with three draws from their opening nine games.

An emphatic strike from Williams, 29, gave Bromley the lead, but caretaker manager Robbie Herrera saw his side level through striker John-Paul Pittman just four minutes later.

Bromley didn’t have it all of their own way and this win wasn’t as comfortable as the scoreline suggests.

Williams powered home a second half header to grab Bromley the lead after a good spell from the Gulls, who wasted some good chances, before Williams slotted in his hat-trick with a couple of minutes remaining on a wet night at Hayes Lane.

“I thought first half we were very, very, very good, obviously getting the goal and then conceding a very sloppy one,” said Smith.

“But then second half, once we got the second goal, we were always going to be that little bit jittery because of what’s happened on Saturday.  I thought the boys stayed with it, made the changes and Brett getting the hat-trick that I thought he thoroughly deserved.

“He’s been working hard, he’s not had the run of form that he’s wanted. He’s been doing extra training, trying to rectify that and today it happened.

“He’s not had the best of times but he’s the first one to hold his hands up. He needs to do more but he’s an honest boy. He’s staying behind doing extra training with Ben May, with the forward coaches, Mark Hammond and its paid dividends.

“We know what a good player he is. That first goal is the reason I signed Brett Williams to this club.”

This wasn’t an easy night for Bromley, they had to work hard to get the three points to end a run of three defeats on the spin and a draw.

“I watched them against Wrexham and they’re very, very resolute, hard to break down. I watched them in other earlier games and they were unlucky, could’ve gone either way so we knew it was going to be hard,” said Smith.

“They’re not a bottom of the table team and when you’re down there, things go against you, so we didn’t take this for granted.  We knew they were going to be difficult, right up until we scored the second goal, but I thought we deserved the win today, I thought we were the better team.”

The Gulls wasted their first chance after only 105 seconds following their first corner of the game.

Captain Luke Young swung in the ball from the right and striker James Gray poked hit shot into David Gregory’s hands from inside the six-yard box at the near post.

Bromley started slowly, but Smith felt Williams should have buried his eighth minute header.

Frankie Sutherland swung in the corner from the right towards the far post where Williams planted his header across goal and past the left-hand post from 10-yards.

“For me that’s his bread and butter!,” said Smith.

“But the reason he got there was better movement that we’ve been working on,. He jumped really early, hung and I think he’s got to go back across the goal and he's tried to get it in the near post.  Frankie Sutherland, again, great delivery and we should be doing better from them.”

 Williams scored 11 goals to help Torquay United stay in the National League last season and he showed 120 visiting fans what they are missing when his emphatic finish gave Bromley the lead, with 19 minutes and 41 seconds on the clock.

Luke Wanadio threw the ball to Josh Rees, who rolled the ball back to Wanadio and Sutherland fed Williams down the right hand side of the penalty area, cut inside and smashed his right-footed shot into the top near corner of the net from 10-yards.

Smith said: “It’s a fantastic finish!  As soon as it left his foot, it was just in the back of the net!  There was no time in between and that’s what I’m saying. He does that in training, I’ve seen clips and I’ve seen him play and I’ve seen him do it so I know it’s there.   It was down to us, as a coaching staff and himself to get it out of him.”

Bromley keeper Gregory then made a comfortable low save to deny George Dowling scoring from inside the D, but Torquay United levelled with 23 minutes and 39 seconds on the clock as Bromley switched off.

Right-back Ryan Higgins delivered a deep 60-yard cross, which sailed over Ben Wynter and found Jamie Reid in acres of space just inside the box.  He knocked his header back across goal for Pittman to nip in to nod past Gregory from inside the six-yard box.

Smith said: “It culminated with them winning the ball in the middle of the pitch,  we should’ve dealt with that better.  It then came out wide, he got the ball in behind. It wasn’t a dangerous ball but we didn’t defend it well enough. It went back as a loopy header and John-Paul Pittman does what he does. He scores those types of goals.

“It was a very disappointing goal to give away, a short time after we’d scored.  I’m just thinking the boys don’t deserve it. For 23 minutes we were brilliant and it's another switch-off moment and we’ve got to do something about it. We had a meeting about it yesterday so yes, I was concerned. As soon as we got in at half-time we knew it wasn’t going to happen again!”

Adam Mekki, a summer arrival from Tranmere Rovers, cut the ball back to Williams, who struck a low angled drive from 16-yards, which was blocked by Vincent Dorel’s legs at the near post.

Torquay United called Gregory into making a comfortable save on the half-hour mark. 

Higgins’ deep free-kick sailed over Wynter, who was beaten by Reid on the corner of the box, the winger cut inside and his low shot was gathered by Gregory.

“I wasn’t uncomfortable with what they were doing. They’re going to have odd chances. I think we’re a bit of an open team at the minute and we’ve got to rectify that.  I wasn’t overly concerned with the first 25-half-an-hour of the game with them attacking us.”

Bromley started to turn the screw with two shots from outside the Torquay United box within the space of 52 seconds.

Rees cushioned his header to Louis Dennis, who cracked a right-footed drive on the turn from 22-yards, which screamed across the keeper and was destined to fly into the far corner.  Dorel dived full-length to his right to push the powerful shot towards safety.

Wanadio then released Williams, who drove forward before unleashing his right-footed drive, which bounced off the wet pitch, forcing Dorel to dive to his right to parry before pouncing on the loose ball.

“I thought their goalkeeper played really well today, even though we scored three, he made three of four decent saves and another one Brett’s had to make him work and that’s all we can ask for a striker,” added Smith.

A poor header from Bromley skipper Jack Holland let in Pittman down the right but his right-footed angled drive wasn’t going to trouble Gregory, who made another comfortable low save.

Young went close with a speculative right-footed free-kick from 35-yards from the right-hand side, which only just cleared the crossbar with Gregory well-beaten.

Reid cut into the box past Wynter and Rees but to square the ball for Gray to turn at the near post before sweeping his shot just past the foot of the near post from six-yards.

Bromley created the last chance of the first half when Sutherland swung in his third of eight corners, only for Holland to make space at the far post to send his downward header just past the near post from four-yards.

Smith revealed why central defender Ben Chorley was withdrawn at the break.

“I think he caught his foot in the ground and it’s just tweaked the back of his leg. We’ll have a look at that over the weekend but rather than him playing and making it worse, we made the decision and do it at half-time rather than during the game so DJ (Dan Johnson) came on.”

When asked his thoughts at the break, Smith replied: “Just to keep going!  I don’t think we were doing anything wrong.  I thought we were attacking well, we were attacking in numbers.  My only concern is they then go and attack us so it was same again, don’t lose the confidence from giving that goal away.”

Smith admitted that Torquay United missed a glorious chance to take the lead just 99 seconds into the half.

Young swung in their third corner from the left towards the far post and Gulls’ central defender Michee Efete, who is on loan from Norwich City, steered his free-header across goal and past the far post from only four-yards out.

Smith admitted: “He should’ve scored!  He’s left his player, we’ve had a chat with the guy that should’ve been with him. We can’t afford to do that. We’ve been so good at set-plays against. We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen again, but yes, he should’ve done better with that one.”

Young’s pin-point diagonal picked out Reid on the left, who brought the ball under control and he crossed low for Andy Haworth to hit a deflected low shot past the left-hand post from eight-yards.

Torquay United issued Bromley another warning when in the 54th minute Young played a short corner to Haworth, before Young was given space on the edge of the Bromley box to curl his shot around the far post.

“I think in these conditions, it was there for the strikers to have that free hit and he had a shot. I think Greggers has it covered. The warning signs were there but we just had to get back to our basics.”

But Bromley weathered the storm to grab the lead against the run of play with 12 minutes and 40 seconds on the clock.

Sutherland swung in his fifth corner from the right and the ball evaded everyone and Wanadio collected the ball on the other side of the box. He cut towards the by-line, kept the ball in play to wrap his foot around the ball to whip in an inch-perfect cross towards the near post.  Williams just wanted it more, nipping in to bury his header into the back of the net at the near post from five-yards.

Smith said: “It was great!  Luke got right to the by-line, I thought he’d over-run it if I’ve got to be brutally honest with you and the way he got there and lifted it right back over and that’s what Brett Williams should be doing and that’s what he's got to be doing more, getting in the middle of the box for anything that’s come in and I thought it was a great header and a great goal.”

Wanadio has been a find, since climbing up from Vanarama National League South side Dartford. 

Left-back Tyrone Sterling fed the winger, who cut in from the left wing, before unleashing a right-footed curling drive from 30-yards, which forced Dorel to dive to his left to tip around the post in the 66th minute.

“I think he’s been absolutely brilliant,” said Smith on Wanadio, who has two goals to his name for Bromley this season.

“We’ve seen him against Welling beforehand and then he went to Dartford. He scored 12 goals, something like 27 assists, I think it was, so we knew the type of player we were getting.  I still believe he should be scoring more but he’s always a threat from that left-hand side.”

Torquay United left-back Chinua Cole’s angled drive was well held by Gregory at his near post and Bromley raced up the other end and referee Alan Dale forced play back after Wanadio’s shirt was pulled and Sutherland’s right-footed free-kick from 25-yards dripped just over the top of the near post as the diving Dorel was beaten.

Torquay United brought on Rory Fallon with 16 minutes remaining and Herrera changed formation from 4-4-2 to 4-4-3 with Reid, Fallon and another substitute in Ruairu Keating up top.

Bromley threw away a 2-0 lead to gain a point at newly-promoted AFC Fylde at the weekend, so Smith swiftly reacted by withdrawing striker Dennis to put Jordan Higgs on.

Higgs and Sutherland sat in front of Bromley’s back four, while Mekki, Rees and Wanadio were behind Williams as they attempted to protect their lead.

Explaining the tactical switch from 4-4-2, Smith explained he didn’t want lightening to strike twice in four days.

“Because of what happened on Saturday, I didn’t want that to happen again. The boys stuck to it.  We gave them too much respect in and around the box when we should’ve cleared our lines. We tried to be precise but that was the reason why I changed it.”

It almost backfired as Torquay United missed a couple of glorious chances to grab a point.

Fallon whipped in a quality cross from the left but Keating couldn’t apply the finish the cross deserved, poking his shot past Gregory and the right-hand post.

Keating’s deflected angled drive from outside the box flashed past the far post before Bromley were given a massive let-off with 42:09 on the clock.

Higgins clipped the ball over Dan Johnson’s head and this let in Reid on the right-hand side of the penalty area and his half-volley flashed across Gregory and past the far post.

“I’m glad he did!” came Smith’s response.

“We probably had easier chances ourselves and the keeper was pulling off saves but you have to have that little bit of luck. We didn’t have it on Saturday but hopefully we’ve gained a little bit today.”

Bromley hit Torquay United on a devastating counter-attack with Williams scoring his hat-trick – his fifth goal of the season – with 42 minutes and 58 seconds on the clock.

With public address announcer Matt Hall announcing that Williams scooped the man-of-the-match award, Mekki’s fine pass put Williams through on goal and he clinically placed his shot across the keeper into the bottom far corner.

Smith said: “That’s why we kept him on.  There were two reasons why we kept him on.  We’ve heard he had man-of-the-match so he had that enthusiasm and I knew he was going for his hat-trick. He wanted that hat-trick so when he went through it was a great finish because he’s not smashed it or overplayed, he’s just passed it into the back of the net.”

Torquay United had one last chance with Reid’s right-footed drive from 30-yards, which moved in the air and Gregory made the save, spilt before gathering, but Smith feels his former Fulham team-mate Herrera can guide Torquay United out of trouble if he is given the job full-time.

“I generally believe he should get the job because I think he will do well down Torquay and until they actually announce it, it will always be is there something looking around the corner? I think they need to announce something. 

“I know Robbie very, very well and I generally hope he can turn it around but it was going to be after tonight but I hope he gets the job and takes them and keeps them up.”

Ten league games in, Bromley are in the top 12 of the Vanarama National League table with 15 points.  The Ravens are four points adrift of leaders Sutton United and only a couple of points adrift of seventh-placed Macclesfield Town.

“The run of form that we have been having and people were getting a little bit wary, disgruntled. It was always about turning it around,” said Smith.

“The game we lost at Wrexham, I thought we were playing well and didn’t deserve to lose there and hopefully the boys start gaining that little bit of confidence back.

“With new players, smaller squad, anticipation of a new (artificial) pitch, I don’t think people, with the fixture list that we had at the beginning of the season, would maybe have us more than 10 points so for us to have 15 and I still believe  that we’ve dropped points on Saturday and Wrexham, we could be doing better but I’m pleasantly pleased with my boys but I still want to drive on and do better.

“If you’re looking at Bromley at this moment in time we’re 12th. I imagine we’re still above Tranmere Rovers (16th place with 12 points), club’s like that.  I think we’re doing really well with the bunch of players I’ve got and that’s because of their hard work.”

Bromley welcome third-from-bottom side Solihull Moors to Hayes Lane on Saturday, a side that lost 2-1 at Woking tonight and have won two and drawn one of their 10 league games.

Smith said: “Another tough one because they’re fighting for their lives. I think that’s the thing, every team in this division is a hard team to beat.  I don’t think there’s an easy game. Tonight wasn’t an easy game, against a team that’s bottom.”

Bromley: David Gregory, Ben Wynter (Alan Dunne 87), Tyrone Sterling, Josh Rees, Ben Chorley (Dan Johnson 46), Jack Holland, Luke Wanda, Frankie Sutherland, Brett Williams, Louis Dennis (Jordan Higgs 78), Adam Mikki.
Subs: Iffy Allen, Frankie Raymond

Goals: Brett Williams 20, 58, 88

Torquay United: Vincent Dorel, Ryan Higgins, Chinua Cole, George Dowling, Sean McGinty, Michee Efete, Jamie Reid, Luke Young, John-Paul Pittman (Ruairu Keating 61), James Gray, Andy Haworth (Rory Fallon 74).
Subs: Miles Anderson, Neal Osborn, Tallan Mitchell

Goal: John-Paul Pittman 24

Attendance: 1,029 (120 Torquay fans)
Referee: Mr Alan Dale (Ipswich, Suffolk)
Assistants: Mr Oliver Jackson (Sittingbourne) & Mr Jon Black (Norwich, Norfolk)
Fourth Official: Mr Christopher Myatt (Dartford)

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