St Albans City 2-2 Bromley - We're behind target at the moment, admits Bromley boss Mark Goldberg

Monday 08th September 2014

Vanarama Conference South
Monday 8th September 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Clarence Park

BROMLEY manager Mark Goldberg admits his side have dropped too many points already this season.

The Ravens twice threw away leads against a St Albans City side that went into the game on the back of three defeats on the spin and sat in 12th place with nine points from seven games in Vanarama Conference South.

Bromley, who were in fourth-place with 13 points from seven games, took the lead through striker Louis Dennis but direct St Albans City levelled just before half-time through James Kaloczi’s header.

Bromley skipper Danny Waldren, who missed a penalty during Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to struggling Chelmsford City, made amends when he headed his side into the lead in the second half.

But their lead was short-lived as St Albans City levelled for a second time with another headed goal, this time from former Welling United central defender Ben Martin.

“In some respects, it’s important that we come away from home and we grind out draws,” said Goldberg.

“Probably before the game I would have said look if we get a draw today we make sure that we respond from the loss on Saturday and we dug out a point but we were good enough to get all three today.

“I thought we were excellent in all departments other than defending set-pieces.

“We should never be that vulnerable defending set-pieces so we need to look at the video evidence where we went wrong.

“I think certain players, instead of being responsible for their men, they’re all trying to attack the ball, instead of just making sure that they look after the man their supposed to be defending against.  That causes holes in our defence.”

St Albans City lined up with a 4-3-3 formation, and their direct approach bypassed their three-man midfield, while Bromley maintained their usual 4-4-2 set-up as they maintained their unbeaten record after four league games on the road.

The Ravens started the game on the front foot, going close inside the opening four minutes.

Winger Harry Grant whipped in a cross from the left towards the far post where Pierre Joseph-Dubois sent his looping header comfortably into the hands of former Bromley keeper Joe Welch.

Grant was getting the better of St Albans’ right-back John Kyriacou during the first half and Bromley were to be denied again after seven minutes.

Grant swung in a corner from the left towards the near post where Joseph-Dubois got across his man to head the ball across goal and Kyriacou was on hand to head the ball off the line.

St Albans City’s opening chance of the game arrived just four minutes later.

Striker John Frendo picked the ball up inside Bromley’s half and cut across the field before cutting the ball back to left-back Lee Chappell, who whipped in a cross towards the edge of the penalty area which was brought down under control by Loick Pires and the former Welling United attacker turned to loop his right-footed shot over.

Grant swung in another corner from the left, which was flicked on by Waldren at the near post and Jack Holland came up from the back to plant his header over.

Bromley’s holding midfielder Ali Fuseini drilled a low right-footed drive flashing wide from 30-yards before Joseph-Dubois ghosted in at the far post to steer his shot across the keeper and past the far post after meeting Ugo Udoji’s cross from the right.

But Bromley rode their luck in the 27th minute when Geoff Mitchell drilled a left-footed shot from 35-yards, which curled over Seb Brown’s left shoulder and cannoned off the crossbar.

“That was a bit of a freak situation,” said the Bromley boss.

“If that goes in that’s a worldy isn’t it? There’s not a lot we can do about that! We take the fact that it hit the bar!”

Mitchell turned provider with Saints’ best chance when he flicked the ball on to release Frendo through on goal but his left-footed shot from 16-yards was blocked by the advancing Brown and Pires swept his first time shot harmlessly wide as the ball came out to him.

It was the only clear cut chance that the prolific striker had all night.

Goldberg said: “They got in behind us once in the first half which John Frendo had a one-on-one and Seb’s pulled off the magnificent save, which was a bit of a turning point for the game.”

The save from the former AFC Wimbledon stopper proved vital as Bromley opened the scoring after 34 minutes.

Moses Ademola danced his way towards the Saints back four before his progress was blocked by a sea of yellow shirts.

The ball came out to Fuseini who slipped a low pass towards the edge of the box and Dennis took the ball in his stride and bent his left-footed shot around Welch to find the left-hand corner from 12-yards.

Goldberg said: “We had some great attacking play and we created a lot of chances and to be fair we scored two good goals and how many off the line? Three or four maybe chances off the line!

“We started well but you’ve got to take advantage of your chances. It was a great relief when Louis tapped his away.

“Louis’ got that in his locker. It was tremendous, a great finish.”

Bromley were to be thwarted again when Adam Bailey-Dennis clipped a long ball out of defence to release Ademola, who played the ball to Dennis, who swept the ball out to the left for Grant to drill a curling low shot across Welch, for the ball to be cleared away.

But Goldberg’s half-time team-talk was changed as St Albans City levelled with 43:16 on the clock.

Long-throw specialist Chappell hurled the ball into the penalty area, which was flicked on by Pires in the middle and no one in a red shirt had picked up central midfielder Kaloczi at the far post, who headed the ball into the right-hand corner from eight-yards.

“Straight away we allowed them back in the game before the half-time whistle,” said Goldberg.

“We’ve got to learn to see games out but more importantly it was all about set-pieces today.

“We should have allowed Jack (Holland) to head the ball. It was his man to mark and Adam (Bailey-Dennis) came from nowhere to try to win it and missed it and their player got a flick on and then Adam’s man managed to finish it off so it was a defensive error.”

When asked what he said to his troops at the break, Goldberg replied: “Having done it before the half and having talked about it at half-time in a rather stern fashion to go and do exactly the same in the second half, defensively, was very poor.

“We concentrated on how we were going to defend set-pieces, but it didn’t seem to work too well!”

With Goldberg’s words still ringing in his players’ ears, Bromley were to be denied the lead again within two and a half minutes.

Grant whipped in another excellent cross from the left towards the far post, which was headed across goal by Joseph-Dubois and Welch scrambled the ball away to his right to deny Ademola.

Goldberg said he is giving the former Dover Athletic attacker a more attacking role.

“We’re playing him in a slightly advanced role tonight. He’s traditionally a winger and we’re allowing him more flexibility and I think he’s enjoying it at our club. We’re able to play him either up front or on the wing so it’s useful for us.”

Frendo whipped in a corner into the middle of the Bromley penalty area and Martin rose to plant his header over the bar.

But Bromley regained the lead in the 52nd minute through Waldren’s third goal of the season.

Fuseini played the ball into Joseph-Dubois, whose right-footed shot deflected off Saints’ central defender Tom Ward.

Bromley played the resulting corner short and Grant whipped in another excellent delivery towards the far post for a stretching Waldren to head down into the right-hand corner from eight-yards.

“Great cross. Great header and again we deserved to be ahead and we should have gone on and won it,” said Goldberg.

Brown made a comfortable save as Pires hit a speculative left-footed drive towards the Bromley goal from 35-yards.

Bromley right-back Udoji produced an excellent cross from the right which sailed over the Saints’ back line but Ademola failed to hit the target, poking his shot past the near post.

Goldberg admitted he missed Rob Swaine at the heart of his defence after the central defender was ruled out for three weeks after rupturing his shoulder ligaments on Saturday.

However, you should never make a substitution when you’re defending a set-piece and Goldberg subbed Dennis to bring on Jamie Slabber, immediately before St Albans City equalised again after 58 minutes from the resulting free-kick.

Chappell swung in a left-footed free-kick from the right and Martin rose to hang his header across goal and into the far corner.

Goldberg said: “It was always a set-piece wasn’t it? It wasn’t from open play. That’s what I mean, they were very good from set-pieces.

“Again, we’ve got to look into who’s responsible for that, but again, bad defending.”

Speaking about Swaine, Goldberg said: “He’s three weeks away from starting, or being available for selection shall we say.

“We missed him tonight. I really think him going off on Saturday at the time when Chelmsford scored and him not being available today has hurt us already.

“Last year we were lucky with injuries up until we lost all four (defenders) in March.  This time we’ve been a bit unfortunate losing Sam Long, who is out for the season with a cruciate ligament in his knee and Rob Swaine.”

When asked about making the substitution immediately before conceding their 11th goal of the season, Goldberg explained: “We’ve got a big squad. I heard a few reports of people being upset when certain players come off. I think the fans must be understanding that players don’t come off because they play badly. They come off because of tactical reasons and because we’ve got a strong squad and we want to refresh things and we know when players are tired and when they are not.

“Everybody is playing their part – the fans – not just the eleven that start but everybody on the bench is so important. The squad is very important.”

Despite their set-back, Bromley pressed for a winner and Lee Clarke, who was a box-to-box midfielder during his time at Welling United, hardly got on the ball as the home side bypassed the middle of the park.

Brown plucked Chappell’s cross out of the air and pumped the ball long for Fuseini who played the ball inside to Grant, who cracked a first time drive over the bar with his left-foot from 12-yards.

Kyriacou played the ball forward from right-back for physically strong attacker Mitchell to unleash a left-footed drive from 35-yards, which sailed just over the Bromley crossbar.

Bromley’s left-back Joe Anderson, who was a lot more quiet during the second half, progressed up the pitch at the halfway mark before playing the ball inside to Waldren, who was given time and space to drill a right-footed shot towards goal from 30-yards, which Welch, his former team-mate at Hayes Lane, dived low to his right to make a smart low save.

Both sides could have claimed all three points in what was to be an exciting game for the loyal 403 fans.

Frendo swung in another corner from the left and Kaloczi sent his header sailing towards the far post, which was headed off the line by Anderson.

Bromley were also denied when Grant’s corner from the right came out to Waldren, whose right-footed shot was cleared off the line by Chappell.

Bromley climbed up one place to third-place in the Vanarama Conference South table tonight, two points behind new leaders Boreham Wood, who defeated fellow high-flyers Eastbourne Borough 5-2 at Meadow Park.

“It’s early doors, isn’t it? But I’m not going to get carried away at the moment,” said Goldberg.

“We haven’t quite got the points that we need. We should be averaging two points a game. We’re behind target at the moment but we are still in the position to be where we want to be.

“I’m satisfied but I’m not pleased. I think if we were on 16 points now with eight games gone then I’ll be pleased but we’re a little bit behind target but I’m not panicking about the situation.”

Local press confirmed Bromley brought the most away fans to Clarence Park – a 120-mile round trip on a Monday night on the same night that England got their European Championship qualifying campaign off to a good start with a 2-0 win in Switzerland.

Goldberg added: “Great support and I really appreciate their support.”

Goldberg, meanwhile, revealed he will unveil a new striker on Thursday in time for Saturday’s visit to Farnborough.

“We’re bringing in a new forward to replace Sam Higgins, who I’ve been waiting on to get fit before I’ve brought him into the squad and he joins us on Thursday night.

“I think it’s important you get it out there that I have been waiting to sign a forward who had a hip strain as to why I didn’t sign him as soon as Sam left.

“I think it’s important for people to know its Sam out, one in because that was always going to be the case. We are lacking one extra striker since Sam’s gone and I have had replacement and he’s going to be signing on Thursday night and available for selection on Saturday.”

Goldberg, meanwhile, gave a vote of confidence to former Gillingham striker Adam Birchall, who hasn’t scored for Bromley yet.

He said: “No but he will! He’s done everything else that we’ve could have asked for him. He’s given a great performance for every minute that he’s played other than score and even tonight he looks after the ball so well and I trust him.”

St Albans City: Joe Welch, John Kyriacou, Lee Chappell, James Kaloczi, Ben Martin, Tom Ward, Charlie Gorman, Lee Clarke, John Frendo, Loick Pires (Sean Shields 76), Geoff Mitchell (Steve Wales 85).
Subs: David Keenleyside, Danny Green, Kayode Bola

Goals: James Kaloczi 44, Ben Martin 59

Bromley:  Seb Brown, Ugo Udoji, Joe Anderson, Ali Fuseini, Jack Holland, Adam Bailey-Dennis, Pierre Joseph-Dubois, Danny Waldren, Louis Dennis (Jamie Slabber 58), Moses Ademola (Adam Birchall 75), Harry Grant.
Subs: CJ Williams, Paul Agu, Damian Scannell

Goals: Louis Dennis 34, Danny Waldren 52

Booked: Harry Grant 38

Attendance: 403
Referee: Mr Neil Hair (Peterborough, Cambridgeshire)
Assistants: Mr Mark Chalkley (King’s Lynn, Norfolk) & Mr Phil Crossland (Somersham, Cambridgeshire)