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Bromley 2-1 Southend United
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Is it ok to say four games unbeaten? Or should we say one win in six?
Either way, Bromley got their season properly underway with a gutsy 2-1 win at home to Southend United.
This was Bromley’s most complete performance of the season, displaying all of the hallmarks of last season’s hard-to-beat side.
As ever, I reflect on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from the Bank Holiday victory at home to Southend United.
Have a read and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
The Line-up vs Southend United
People think I’m biased when I say this, but the stats don’t lie. When Louis Dennis is A) in the team and B) partnering Michael Cheek, Bromley are a better, more balanced side.
Dennis is a X-factor player because he has the ability to be both a goal scoring threat and a creative force. Of all of the players who’ve been absent this season, Louis left the biggest hole.
Did Louis have his greatest game of all time against Southend? No. Did his presence bring balance to the side from a creative standpoint? Undoubtedly.
Speaking of balance, it was another 90 minutes for Sam Woods, who built on his good work against Rochdale. Woods offers a level of defensive solidity that gives the midfield more structure. I think it’s no coincidence that Krauhaus and Whitely have had their best games of the season with that defensive security to fall back on.
Andy Woodman has hinted that reinforcements will arrive in the coming days, but it will please him no end to see Woods rise to the challenge and prove his worth. In a squad game, strength in depth and competition for places are crucial.
After Rochdale on Friday, I asserted that if Bromley could just keep eleven men on the pitch then there was a good chance that Grant Smith could turn one point into three. And so it came to pass.
When Southend pressed for an equaliser in the final 15 minutes of the game (including injury time), Smith was clutch when it mattered most.
I don’t want to get into the argument of who is better, Grant Smith or Reice Charles-Cook, but you can see why Smith has also played in the EFL and for former EFL clubs in the National League.
Jude Athurs won the sponsor’s Player of the Match and I have no issue with that. I think both he and Corey Whitely were tireless in their running and deserve huge credit for the ground they covered.
It can't be understated that Bromley played over 120 minutes of normal time with 10 men last week, and had back-to-back Bank Holiday games thrown in for good measure.
To find the resolve to dig deep and hold on for the three points is to be commended given the setbacks they’ve had of late.
In general, the performance was the most cohesive Bromley have produced this season and they picked up their first three points as a result.
You don’t always get what you deserve in football, but credit where it’s due. Andy Woodman stated that in the three preceding games he could see the players slowly returning to the Bromley of old; the Bromley he expects. This game backed up that assertion.
In the aftermath, a few people mentioned that they thought Chin Okoli looked a bit ponderous on Saturday. I think there’s some truth to that. He panicked in possession at times and lost a duel or two, but this is all part of the process of Bromley building a new cycle and a new team.
Chin is 19 years old and highly rated at Millwall. Like Alex Mitchell (Millwall) and Deji Elerewe (Charlton) before him, his time at Bromley will be a vital part of his development process.
As others have mentioned, I think Chin is naturally suited to playing in a two. As a result, he’s learning to play in a three while also adapting to the cut-and-thrust of the National League. No mean feat.
For me, he has the raw attributes needed to make the leap, and quickly too. However, as with any young player, teething problems are to be expected. The experience of Byron Webster and Callum Reynolds beside him will be invaluable for his development.
What the more impatient among us have to ask themselves is whether they are prepared to see a young man get the game time he needs to develop, just like those who came before him. I sense a little patience will be well rewarded.
There was nothing I really disliked about the day; no gripes about individual performances or the officials. Yes, I’m aware there was a suspect offside decision, but that alone wasn’t enough to saddle me on my high horse.
Instead, I’ve saved The Ugly for the situation at Southend United Football Club.
I spoke to a few in-the-know Southend fans on Monday and got a stark insight into how perilous things are at Roots Hall.
In just over 30 days, the club may cease to exist. Their results this season would be expunged, and a club with a proud history and a passionate fanbase would suddenly disappear.
I won't attempt to try and explain their history. Instead, I’ll have an expert join me on the YouTube channel for this week’s Deep Dive. Suffice it to say, the club’s owner, Ron Martin, has failed the stewardship test and needs to sell up ASAP.
Southend started the season with a threat of a 10-point deduction if they didn’t get their financial matters in order by the 23rd of August. The fact that this deadline passed and the points were deducted speaks to Martin’s leadership.
Martin continues to claim he has the club’s best interests at heart. But, as this situation has been years in the making, with the club lurching from one crisis to another, you have to question his grasp on reality.
A debt of circa £275k was outstanding at the last court hearing, triggering the points deduction. Interestingly, at the time of the hearing, Martin asserted that he was in talks to sell the club to an Australian consortium.
As I understand it, the Australian consortium exists. However, with just over a month until the next hearing, and a winding up order at stake, time is of the essence.
Bromley have no discernible history or rivalry with Southend United. Even if we did, the sentiment would be the same.
Martin needs to sell the club and leave Roots Hall, never to be seen again.
Football clubs, no matter how big they become, are a representation of their community. Southend fans have made their voices heard persistently and vigorously. With so much on the line, it’s time for Ron Martin to finally heed their call and leave.
If you want to read more about the situation at Southend United, the Shrimpers Trust is a good place to start: www.shrimperstrust.co.uk
Get at me in the comments below.
Grant Smith 9
Jude Arthurs (9)
Chinn Okoli (7)
Byron Webster (8)
Callum Reynolds (8)
Besart Topalloj (8)
Sam Woods (8)
Corey Whitley (9)
Ben Krauhaus (7)
Louis Dennis (7)
Michael Cheek (9)
James Vennings for Ben Krauhaus 65’ (7)
Adam Marriott for Louis Dennis 71’ (6)
I’ve been critical of Jude Arthurs of late, mostly for his persistent fouling, but his work-rate in this game was super-human. He fell to the ground in a heap at the final whistle. There was nothing left. Everything was out there on the pitch.
Jude’s performance had a bit of everything, from neat turns and tackles to lung-busting runs in the dying minutes. He thoroughly deserved his Player of the Match award.
Another player whose role I’ve questioned recently is young Ben Krauhaus. Doubters be damned! His attacking play is marginally improving with each game, but the most impressive aspect of this performance was his defensive work.
He dovetailed expertly with Jude Arthurs in the first half to nullify Southend’s threat on the right flank. Frankly, his two sweeping tackles near Bromley’s corner flag could be put on display in a fancy gallery and I’d pay to go and gawp.
So that’s me shut up. Thanks lads.
Speaking of things that belong in galleries: Michael Cheek’s goal was a spiritual experience. The end.
Thanks for taking the time to read the match synopsis above.
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