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Bromley 0-3 York City
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
On Tuesday night, a goalkeeper-less Bromley were picked apart in the second half to hand them a deserved loss at home to York City.
As far as defeats go, this 0-3 defeat was only the Ravens’ second big defeat of the season (in late August an injury-hit side lost 4-1 at Dagenham).
For some, this may signal an end to Bromley’s play-off bid. For me, however, that would be emotional hyperbole at best. With ten games remaining, Bromley are just five points outside the play-off spots. I think it’s safe to say there will be plenty more twists and turns to come.
As ever, I reflect on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from Bromley’s 0-3 home defeat against York City.
Have a read and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
The Line-up vs York City
The best thing about this game was the focus on International Women’s Day and more importantly #HerGameToo.
It was great to see the focus on the many women and girls that make up Bromley FC and credit must go to the work Andrea Ellis has done since taking on the role of Women & Girls Development Officer.
It is our job as men to be good allies and promote and support #HerGameToo. It’s not enough to clap politely we should amplify and celebrate - be the change.
More power to the work the club continue to do to make the game truly inclusive.
On the pitch it was a night where very little went right, I won’t patronise anyone by claiming some good stuff happened. It really didn’t. Did we throw in the towel despite being up against it? No. But when you lose 0-3, that’s not something anyone really notices or cares about.
If I had to pick a stand-out player, I think Omar Sowunmi led from the front on a night to forget. With Byron Webster out injured, Omar is the nominated captain and I think it’s a responsibility he’s growing into.
Another vague positive was that a lot of the teams around Bromley also lost on Tuesday. Dagenham & Redbridge, Barnet, Southend United, and Eastleigh all dropped points. This is why I believe it’s impossible to predict who will end up in the playoffs. You can bet your bottom dollar this won't be the last time multiple play-off-chasing sides drop points.
Finally, in my initial game notes, I applauded the atmosphere from the fans behind the goal in the first half. On the whole, I felt they got behind the team well and provided notable support on a bitterly cold night. Alas, that was as good as it got (more on that later).
Even before we get to the major incident that decided the match, we have to be honest and say that Bromley were already struggling on the stroke of half time.
York City were set up in a 3-4-2-1, but, more importantly, a 5-4-1 without the ball. Try as they might, Bromley couldn’t find a way through as York’s defensive shape was watertight.
We’ve seen this kind of situation before and it speaks to the biggest flaw in Bromley’s squad. There is no genuine creative outlet or goal-scoring threat in the middle of the park.
The only Bromley player who even comes close to meeting that requirement is Louis Dennis, and there didn’t seem to be any way that Bromley were going to score if he didn’t magic something up.
It’s a game of fine margins, and there is definitely a sense that this is the fine margin that Bromley lack.
Pre-game, I provided some words for The Yorkshire Times. One of the points I made was that Bromley have a habit of losing their way if they don’t have control over the tempo of the game. Tuesday night was a case in point. In the face of a well-drilled side, the Ravens ran out of ideas as the first half progressed. As a result, they played side-to-side in front of York without any real idea of how to get beyond their low block.
Bromley’s solid, uncompromising nature is both their strength and their weakness. In the main, they are a difficult side to beat, but a lack of attacking guile leaves a permanent handbrake on the side.
The DNA is the DNA and it serves Bromley well. However, there are clearly aspects of it that could do with an upgrade.
I also saw a few comments about poor second-half substitution selection but I don’t really buy that criticism. When your side loses, there is a natural inclination to look for a reason to explain the defeat. Here, that search should start and stop at the sending-off.
When your left-back has to go in goal, who looked about as good as me in the same position, subs or no subs, you are going to lose the game. Once York got some shots on target they scored.
What exactly did people expect to happen with any second-half substitutions?
I’m pretty clear on this: Corey Whitely was at fault for Reice Charles-Cook’s sending-off. This isn’t an attempt to throw Corey under the bus, but he had plenty of time to decide what he was going to do with the clearance. Not only did he take too long, he made the wrong choice entirely.
Reice’s bodycheck foul on Mitch Hancox was reckless but I can forgive him. He had a split second to decide what to do and ultimately choose the worst option.
Some have said that Reice should have let Hancox round him to score. In that scenario, Bromley would still have eleven players on the pitch and would only be a goal down. I can only assume those people have never played football.
Can you imagine the conversation?
“Gaffer, I let him score so I wouldn’t give the referee a decision to make.”
A goalkeeper would get slaughtered for that, particularly if your manager happens to be an old-school goalkeeper themselves.
However, you could make an argument that RCC should have made a nominal dive to get the ball and risk a yellow card rather than a red for a more cynical challenge. But that argument hinges on whether you think he had enough time to make the right decision.
Goalkeepers’ Union? Get at me.
Either way, from the minute RCC was sent off and the resultant penalty was scored, the game was done. This segues nicely to whether Woodman should take the blame for not having a goalkeeper on the bench.
The easy answer is yes. But did the lack of a substitute goalkeeper really cost us the game?
Would we have got some points with a ‘proper’ goalkeeper replacing Charles-Cook? I think that’s debatable because no goalkeeper would have saved either the first or third goal and you could even argue they might not have saved the second.
Bromley have suffered the curse of having no substitute goalkeeper twice. They won one and lost the other. Hardly the biggest disaster in the world.
Do we know how many times we’ve got points because AW has benefitted from having five outfield subs on the bench and a wider range of options? Who knows how to extract that data, but it’s likely that we’ve gained more from the extra outfield sub than we’ve lost.
Finally, we must address the elephant in the room: The new fans behind the goal.
As much as I thought the first half was positive in terms of fans getting behind the team, the second half turned into an embarrassment off the pitch.
I warned about this in my last match report and I say it again (with ample time to get our act together before Wrexham at home).
The new element are currently defining what it means to support Bromley behind the goal at the car park end. For all of the anger directed at Robin Stanton Gleaves for the Wrexham ticketing arrangements, maybe the best thing would be taking our own fans away from that terrace for this game.
Does anyone really expect them to behave before, during, and after?
Whilst it’s still a minority, there’s no doubt that this minority aren’t really interested in supporting Bromley and are more interested in being a nuisance.
Singing songs like: “If you wear a yellow jacket you’re a c*nt” to our own stewards and the police beggars belief. Gallows terrace humour I get, but this lacks any kind of ingenuity and is just abuse for the sake of abuse.
From my vantage point in the press area, I noticed some families with kids walking away from the terrace. I don’t believe that was a coincidence.
Both the real fans and the football club hierarchy have a decision to make before the Wrexham game. Sticking the proverbial head in the sand is not going to cut it.
A perfect storm is building just as our biggest game, and attendance, of the season is upon us.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Get at me in the comments below.
Reice Charles-Cook (5)
Kellen Fisher (6)
Callum Reynolds (6)
Omar Sowunmi (7)
Besart Topalloj (6)
Ryan Stirk (6)
James Vennings (5)
Harry Forster (6)
Louis Dennis (6)
Corey Whitely (5)
Adam Mariott (5)
Deji Elerewe for Corey Whitely 80 (6)
Ben Krauhaus for Louis Dennis 46 (6)
Michael Cheek for Harry Forster 63 (6)
As I’ve said in a previous footnote, the new atmosphere behind the goal is great and something I love being part of. But the childishness and tawdry baiting need to stop. It’s deeply cringe-worthy and it just makes you look rattled.
As Machel says, it’s a minority. I’ve seen a lot of sensible passion from the bouncy youngsters behind the goal and I ask them to keep it going. But, lads and lasses, if your mates start acting the cock, set them straight. Bromley is more Football Cottage Industry than Football Factory.
And in answer to Machel’s shout-out for members of the Goalkeepers’ Union: As a retired member, albeit the scruffy Sunday League chapter, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. BUT it’s best to try and stay on the pitch, even if you get a bollocking.
Goalkeeping isn’t just shot-stopping, it’s a highly specialised role that requires detailed knowledge of positioning and reading of the game, along with an innate sense of timing. The vast majority of a goalkeeper’s work on a football pitch goes unnoticed by the uninitiated.
Besart Topalloj might fancy himself in nets for a training ground kick-about, and props to him for stepping up, but putting RCC’s gloves on doesn’t magically bestow you with a lifetime of goalkeeping nous. Just like putting Besart’s boots on wouldn’t make you a dynamite left-back. Ergo, stay on the pitch and take the bollocking.
I assume Sam Long will fill in for RCC during his suspension. Apparently, some Lincoln fans were hoping Sam would be their #1 this season. High praise. Good luck to him.
Thanks for taking the time to read the match synopsis above.
Please note all photographs in this article are by Martin Greig - please follow him on Twitter here
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