Players gave me everything, praises Wakeling - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Sunday 15th January 2006
Bromley manager George Wakeling was pleased with the commitment of his players as they ended a run of nine league games without a win yesterday, writes Stephen McCartney.
Colin Luckett’s third goal of the season, from the penalty spot after Jones Awuah was brought down, secured a vital victory over Walton & Hersham at Hayes Lane as they climbed to 15th place in the Ryman Premier League table – above Kent rivals Folkestone Invicta and Margate.
Although well clear of the bottom three sides, Maldon Town (15 points), Windsor & Eton (14) and Redbridge (9), Bromley, with 29 points, must stay well clear of 19th place as the side with the least number of points from the Ryman, Southern and Unibond Premier Leagues will also fall through the trap door.
Hendon, on 26 points, currently occupy that position in the Ryman, but Unibond Premier League outfit Ilkeston Town (25 points), and Southern Premier League side Evesham United (23) are capable of catching up.
Wakeling, however, was pleased with the "effort" his players gave as they won for the first time in the league since Awuah's goal was enough to beat Billericay Town at Hayes Lane on 19th November.
”Very pleased with the commitment the players put into the game,” he said. “We needed a lot of guts out there, with the type of game it was, and we showed it.”
The experienced manager, who recently received full backing from the Hayes Lane faithful, didn’t single any one player out, but added: “That was a team effort yesterday. Everyone pulled together. They would have given me that yesterday – it was that little bit extra as well.”
Bromley were on course to claim a point at Braintree Town in their previous game, but two goals inside stoppage time “choked” everyone as they lost 3-1.
”I’ve seen games that we’ve played in when we’ve been the best team and got nothing from it,” he recalled.
”I haven’t been disappointed with the players’ commitment. We just need to put mistakes to bed - we should be higher in the table.”
Bromley collected just three points during their barren run, which dented their aspirations of finishing in a play-off place as injuries to key personnel took its toll on their small squad.
”I’m very concerned when you go into a bad run but you have to deal with it.,” said Wakeling.
“We’ve had a horrific run of injuries,” said Wakeling. “You have to just knuckle down and have a battle and that’s what you have to try to do.
”They gave me everything they had yesterday and I can’t ask for no more than that.”
Wakeling, however, admitted he doesn’t know how long 17-goal, top scorer Nic McDonnell will be out of action with his hamstring injury, but former Hornchurch midfielder Adam Locke (ankle) is definitely ruled-out but influential midfielder Sam Wood (thigh muscle) is just getting back to fitness, having played at least 13 minutes after replacing Barry Gardner yesterday.
Reflecting on their 3-1 defeat at Braintree Town, Wakeling said: “Desperately unlucky. They didn’t look any better than us. If anything we were having the upper hand but we made defensive mistakes and got punished.
”I felt really choked for the players – to go to Braintree and be as good as them was really frustrating.”
Wakeling will be rallying his troops again when local rivals Fisher Athletic visit Hayes Lane on Tuesday night – and as it is the only league game that night the derby should attract a decent crowd.
“I’m expecting to go and have a battle,” said Wakeling. “You see where they are in the table, the player’s they’ve signed. We haven’t got that luxury but we have to go in their faces.”
Bromley can climb two places if they win but Justin Edinburgh's side have the incentive of going into second place - three points behind Braintree Town - if they win their 16th game of the season.
Wakeling takes his side to relegation threatened Maldon Town next Saturday - a perfect opportunity to pull well clear of the bottom four.
Bromley v Fisher Athletic
Ryman Premier League
Tuesday 17th January 2006
Kick Off 7:45pm
at The Courage Stadium, Hayes Lane, Bromley