Bromley 0-1 Yeovil Town - We were desperate to get into that Second Round - but the boys gave me everything, says distraught Bromley boss Neil Smith

Saturday 07th November 2020
Bromley 0 – 1 Yeovil Town
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 07/11/2020 15:00

(after extra time)
The Emirates FA Cup First Round
Saturday 7 November 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says his distraught players’ gave him everything after suffering a heartbreaking FA Cup exit at the hands of their league rivals Yeovil Town behind closed doors at Hayes Lane.

Yeovil Town substitute Gabriel Rogers, 19, delivered the knockout blow at the end of extra time to send Darren Sarll’s club through to the Second Round for the 28th time in their history.

Bromley had winger Harry Forster, 20, red-carded in the 68
th minute for a bad foul and striker Michael Cheek could have gone down in Hayes Lane folklore had he scored from his two glorious chances to snatch the victory.

The Lillywhites’ last First Round win was back in 1945 when Slough United were beaten 6-2 on aggregate before Bromley lost 4-2 on aggregate to Watford, which was the third time that the club reached the elusive Second Round.

However, this was Bromley’s best chance of progressing as they went into the game in eleventh-place in the Vanarama National League table with seven points from five games, while Yeovil Town were second-from-bottom in the table, without a win, with four points from seven games.

Cheek’s emphatic penalty sealed a 1-0 win at Sutton United in the Fourth Qualifying Round, while the Glovers beat Dover Athletic 7-6 on penalties after the game finished 3-3 after 90 minutes as Huish Park.

“Disappointing because I thought the boys, especially second-half onwards, deserved to at least taken them to penalties. We had the better chances on the one-on-ones, just didn’t take them,” said Smith.

“As soon as we went down to 10 men, we had to go a little bit more defensive and hopefully we could hit them on the break, which we did. We just didn’t take our chances.

“To a man in there, I can’t ask for any more. They are distraught, they are disappointed. It is The FA Cup and you want to get into that Second Round, which we so desperately wanted but we’ve got to make sure that we take the positives out of that and that was the togetherness when we were under the cosh.”

Yeovil Town started this game on the front foot but Bromley weathered the storm and should have taken the lead with 10 minutes and 23 seconds on the clock following the second of their four corners.

Frankie Raymond rose his left arm before swinging in a left-footed delivery from the right which was cleared out to winger Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, who hooked his left-footed volley screaming over a crowded penalty area and just over the top of the far post from just inside the penalty area.

“Reeco’s first game for us (this season), he’s been out injured, came in. I’ve asked him to probably play for up to an hour and he ended up playing into extra-time, so that was a massive bonus,” said Smith.

Bromley goalkeeper Mark Cousins, 33, was outstanding and deserved scooping his man-of-the-match award from the sponsors.

Yeovil built patiently down the left before the ball was worked into striker Joe Quigley, whose right-footed shot on the turn forced Cousins to dive low to his left to push the ball towards safety in the 20
th minute, although strike partner Rhys Murphy was standing in front of him in an offside position.

Yeovil Town continued to dominate and midfielder Lawson D’Ath split open Bromley centre-half Kory Roberts to put Murphy in and the ball sat up for the striker to smack his right-footed volley across the keeper and past the far post from 16-yards.

D’Ath played the ball out to Quigley who played the ball inside to Matt Warburton before Murphy touched the ball to D’Ath, who sliced his left-footed shot harmlessly wide of the target from inside the D, with referee Antony Coggins awarding a corner, claiming that the ball deflected off Bromley left-back Harry Kyprianou.

Yeovil Town’s left-back Carl Dickinson delivered a deep corner from the left and Charlie Lee jumped over Roberts at the far post to plant his free header over the crossbar from the corner of the six-yard box in the 28
th minute.

Another chance fell to dominant Yeovil Town when right-back Alex Bradley clipped the ball in behind Kyprianou to put in Quigley, who cut the ball back from the by-line for winger Warburton to cut inside and drill his left-footed shot over the crossbar just a couple of yards inside the penalty area.
Yeovil Town kept knocking on the door and should have taken the lead in the 34
th minute.

Left-back Dickinson collected the ball infield and fed Albi Skendi down the left and he played the ball into Murphy, who swept a left-footed shot from a couple of yards inside the Bromley penalty area on the turn across Cousins and flashing just past the foot of the far post.

“We didn’t get to grips with them,” admitted Smith.

“They obviously play with a diamond and we were a bit too expansive, our two wingers were very, very wide. We changed that second half, got them in narrow and I thought we coped with it.”

Roberts was the weak link at the heart of the Bromley defence and Dickinson‘s ball over the top played in Murphy but the angle was tight and his left-footed shot bounced past the near post as the Bromley keeper narrowed the angle.

Yeovil Town missed another decent chance to score in the 38
th minute following the third of their 11 corners.

Dickinson played a short corner to Warburton, whose cross towards the far post was hooked towards goal by Lee, the ball clipping the far post despite Ben Williamson's attempts to acrobatically hook the ball off the line.  Quigley guided his header straight at Cousins from the edge of the six-yard box.

Bromley switched off at another set-piece when Warburton delivered a deep free-kick from the right and Lee knocked the ball towards goal from the left by-line, which was superbly flicked away by the outstanding Cousins.

Quigley had the better of Chris Bush - who scored THAT GOAL at League One side Bristol Rovers in that 1-1 draw in the First Round last season (Bromley lost the televised home replay 1-0) - and whipped in a cross from within the right channel but Murphy found some space on the edge of the box to loop his header over the crossbar.

Bromley were riding their luck when Yeovil Town smacked the crossbar just two minutes and 28 seconds into the second half.

Yeovil Town’s centre-half Wilkinson’s ball over the top was cleared away by Roberts and Warburton stroked his shot with the outside of his left-foot to crack the crossbar (the angle of left-hand post and crossbar) from 18-yards.

Yeovil Town kept knocking on the door when Wilkinson delivered a deep ball into the Bromley box for Lee who guided his header across goal and towards a goal-kick but Bush got a touch to the ball and gifted the away side a corner.

Glovers’ right-back Bradley put in a deep cross which was flicked on by Quigley and Murphy’s speculative overhead kick from the edge of the box was comfortably gathered by Cousins, the effort was going wide of the right-hand post though.

However, outplayed Bromley went close to grabbing the lead on the hour-mark.

The otherwise quiet Hackett-Fairchild ran down the right and played the ball into Ben Williamson who teed up substitute midfielder Billy Bingham who drilled his first-time left-footed drive just past the right-hand post from 22-yards.

“Again, Billy hasn’t trained up until Thursday, that was his first training session so to have him on the bench and to come on, was a massive plus,” added Smith.

Yeovil Town created another opening following a three-man move when Dickinson threw the ball into Murphy, who sprayed the ball out from left-to-right to Bradley, who cut in and stroked his left-footed drive towards the bottom near corner from 25-yards, which was comfortably saved by Cousins down on his knees at his near post.

Bingham lost possession in midfield and Murphy accepted the invitation to stride forward before his crossfield pass split open Bromley right-back Joe Kizzi to put in Quigley but Cousins stuck out his right leg to prevent a certain goal.

Bromley faced an uphill struggle when referee Antony Collins pulled out a red-card to send off Forster for a sliding lunge on Glovers’ centre-half Wilkinson some 35-yards from the Yeovil goal.

“I think Harry actually won the ball and the geezer kicked his foot,” claimed Smith.

“I haven’t seen it so I can’t really comment on that. He’s absolutely devastated in there, he’s come in on loan (from Watford), he’s a young kid, he’s learning the game and he feels like he’s let everyone down - but he hasn’t.”

Smith was forced into making a tactical switch with two banks of four with Cheek working tirelessly up front on his own. Roberts slotted in at left-back as substitute Jack Holland partnered Bush at the heart of defence, with Kizzi retaining his place at right-back.

Bromley should have snatched the lead with 32 minutes and 31 seconds on the clock following their final corner of the game.

Raymond swung in a great corner from the right and the ball clipped the top of the far post and came out to Cheek, who lashed his left-footed volley over the crossbar from eight-yards.

Yeovil Town also went close from a corner of their own, swung in by Dickinson from the right towards the far post where Lee flicked his left-footed hooked shot over the crossbar from three-yards out.

Yeovil Town continued to press for a deserved winner.

Quigley played the ball down the right and Warburton’s drive was beaten away by Cousins and the away side maintained possession and Dickinson’s left-wing cross was met by Bradley’s free-header at the far post, which he planted over the Bromley crossbar.

D’Ath fed Warburton with a pass along the deck but his left-footed shot from 18-yards lacked power and was easily gathered by the busy Bromley keeper going into the final five minutes.

However, Bromley SHOULD have snatched victory with 44 minutes and 29 seconds on the clock on the counter-attack.

Roberts played a sublime pass from his left-back position to release Cheek down the left and he cut into the penalty area, beating last man Morgan Williams and only had goalkeeper Adam Smith to beat.

Ready to create some history for the club, this was the moment that the Hayes Lane faithful watching at home on the home club's excellent live streaming service, were waiting for - FA Cup First Round glory, to bury the ghost of 1945 once and for all - and Cheek had to score.

However, Cheek’s left-footed shot flashed agonisingly past the foot of the far post.

“Listen, Cheeky is one of the best forwards this club has ever seen. Normally you put your house on him to score. It wasn’t to be,” said Smith.

“He’s big enough and strong enough to make sure when we get those chances again, he’ll take them.

“I think if you want one person to be one-on-one in a situation, he’s done it (scored) so many times in the past for us and he just pulled it wide. He’ll be vital for us this season.”

Yeovil Town had a chance to win it in normal time too when Dickinson floated in a free-kick which was headed down by Quigley at the far post and bounced into Cousins' hands.

FA Cup Qualifying Round ties went straight to penalties but go into Extra time from this stage of the competition.

Smith added: “I kept saying to the boys, ‘you’ll get a chance. You just wait for your chance, just be patient and when you do just make sure we take it’. Pretty much I was right really, just didn’t take it.”

Bradley got in behind Roberts and his cross was cleared out to Lee, whose right-footed volley from 22-yards sailed harmlessly wide inside the opening five minutes of extra-time.

Cheek should have snatched victory, again, in the eighth minute of extra-time.

He did excellently well to steal the ball off centre-half Wilkinson, who held his head in his hands in despair as Cheek ran into the box, expecting to gift Bromley the winner through his mistake.

Cheek skipped past the keeper and swept his shot towards the bottom far corner. However, Yeovil Town's other centre-half  Williams came from nowhere and slid in to make the game-saving block with his stretched out leg.

Smith added: “Listen, he’s done everything right Cheeky, he’s hit the target and the defenders done everything that you want him to do to cover round the back. To him that was a great defensive tackle.”

Cousins then made a brilliant save to frustrate Yeovil Town again just 90 seconds later.

Lee slipped Murphy in behind the Bromley back four and was certain to score with a drilled right-footed shot towards the top far corner, only for the outstanding Cousins to used a strong right-hand to beat the ball away.

“Mark Cousins is one of the best keepers I think this club has seen and it’s great to have him back,” said Smith.

“We lost Mark probably this time last year against Yeovil and he was a massive miss and we probably didn’t replace him but when he’s called upon, he’s just a rock for us and I would’ve fancied our chances at penalties because of how he is.”

Wilkinson played the ball out of defence and put the ball towards the edge of the Bromley box, where Murphy found a pocket of space to glance his header past the far post from a central position.

Yeovil Town maintained their tactic of getting the ball out wide to stretch the play - but Bromley were resilient in defence.

With football fans still banned by the UK Government in the top six tiers of English football thanks to Covid-19 (and with the UK in its second national lockdown lower leagues have been put on hold for a month) you could hear Bromley captain Holland shout out “keep working, give everything you’ve got”, as the game entered the second period of extra-time.

Skendi and Lee linked up again and Bradley (who often got forward inside the final third) dragged his shot across the Bromley keeper and past the far post from 25-yards.

Bromley substitute attacker James Alabi failed to affect the game but he had a half-chance inside the final five minutes of extra-time.

Kizzi’s cross from the right was cleared by Williams but the ball ricochet off Alabi inside the six-yard box and was caught by the Yeovil keeper.

Bromley were agonisingy close to making it to a penalty shoot-out.

There were going to be three additional minutes but Yeovil Town’s heartbreaking - yet deserved winning goal was timed at 16:11 at the end of the second period of extra-time. Referee Antony Coggins blew his final whistle at 18:48.

Yeovil Town’s captain Dickinson swung in a corner from the right, the ball was cleared out to Rogers, who cracked his left-footed hooked volley through a flat-footed Bromley defence from 20-yards inside the D and for the first time in the game Cousins couldn’t pull off any more heroics, the ball drilling past him and nestling into the back of the net. A head in the hands despairing moment.

Smith said: “I just thought as soon as it came out to the edge we didn’t squeeze up, we just stood still. I just said to the boys when you stand still, the keeper can’t see anything. You close the angle down and we just stayed in there and then all off a sudden it just goes past you because you don’t have a lot of time.

“We live and learn, it’s The FA Cup, we were desperate to get into that Second Round but not to be.

“I asked a lot out of the players’ today and they gave me everything that they did and to a man they were outstanding.”

Bromley travel to sixteenth-placed side Barnet next Saturday, looking to start their climb up the league table and put this bitter disappointment and heartbreak behind them.

“That’s a massive game for us,” said Smith.

“We want to do well in the league, we want to get into the play-off situation and we have to make sure seeing what the bodies I’ve got on Monday that they’re up for it.

“They always give me everything, I can’t ask for any more from the boys.

“We might not have been consistent enough over the first five or six games but when we get our players fully fit and up and ready, we’ll be good. We’ve just got to make sure that we get that consistency now and not have to wait for it.”

Smith had this message from the missing Hayes Lane faithful - and football should be played in front of fans and not behind closed doors.

“You always miss them and I think they become the extra person. We are missing them, we are missing them greatly at the moment and I know the support we’ve had has been immense and they’ll be disappointed. Just keep the faith.”

Bromley: Mark Cousins, Joe Kizzi, Harry Kyprianou (Jack Holland 66), Liam Trotter (Billy Bingham 55), Chris Bush, Kory Roberts, Harry Forster, Frankie Raymond, Michael Cheek, Ben Williamson (James Alabi 73), Reeco Hackett-Fairchild (Nassim L’Ghoul 112).
Subs: Tom Purrington, Tarek Najia, Jude Arthurs

Sent Off: Harry Forster 68

Yeovil Town: Adam Smith, Alex Bradley, Carl Dickinson, Charlie Lee, Morgan Williams, Luke Wilkinson, Matt Warburton (Jimmy Smith 97), Albi Skendi, Rhys Murphy, Joe Quigley, Lawson D’Ath (Gabriel Rogers 106).
Subs: Ryan Burke, Jack Clarke, Harry Palmer

Goal: Gabriel Rogers 120

Booked: Joe Quigley 12, Morgan Williams 19, Albi Skendi 75, Carl Dickinson 117

Attendance: 0
Referee: Mr Antony Coggins
Assistants: Mr Nicholas Cooper & Mr Aaron Farmer
Fourth Official: Mr Robert Whitton