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Bromley 3-0 Oldham Athletic
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Let Andy Woodman cook?
When Bromley were struggling at the start of the season, it was easy to panic and claim the side were in trouble. But ever since Andy Woodman walked through the door, patience has been a worthwhile virtue.
On Saturday, Bromley cruised to a 3-0 win against Oldham Athletic to make it seven games unbeaten, moving them up to fourth in the National League in the process.
As ever, I reflect on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from the victory at home to Oldham Athletic.
Have a read and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
The Line-up vs Oldham Athletic
I don’t know if we put much stock in the size of the clubs Bromley beat these days, but this 3-0 win against Oldham felt very routine.
Of more interest to me was my absolute certainty that Bromley would turn Oldham Athletic over. The reality is, when at full strength, Bromley are now a top-seven side in the National League. Oldham, despite their lavish spending, aren’t. Not yet, anyway.
While Bromley don’t have the brand value that comes with time spent in the EFL, they’ve earned their stripes and deserve to be seen as a heavy hitter in this league.
From the minute goal one went in, Oldham hardly got a sniff. Truth be told, the Ravens won the game at a canter.
In his post-match remarks, Andy Woodman alluded to his side playing with supreme confidence. This was evident on the pitch.
There was no obvious weakness in the side and every single player played a pivotal role in making Bromley difficult to beat.
When you consider that none of the four talented new loanees have played a single minute, the strength of Bromley’s squad becomes very apparent.
Corey Whitely won the sponsor’s man of the match and I have no issue with that. Corey has been on a really good run of form and is playing like a man with a point to prove. More power to him, and long may that continue.
When writing my report for the Non-League Paper, I gave Player of the Match to Byron Webster. As mentioned in previous Deep Dive episodes, Byron divides the fanbase a little. Some feel that at 36 years old, his days are numbered. But Byron has eluded Father Time this season.
His run of form, and more importantly leadership and authority, has played a key role in the unbeaten streak. From holding on for a point at Kidderminster and Rochdale to achieving four straight wins, the thread at the centre of the run has been a better-drilled defence.
I’ve yet to speak to Chin Okoli, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he feels his game has grown leaps and bounds since partnering with Byron Webster and Callum Reynolds. Learning his trade from two very experienced pros can only be a good thing.
Another integral factor is that Bromley may well have the best goalkeeper in the National League.
The lazy thing to do is to look at Andy Woodman and say that he was a keeper by trade so he knows the position inside out. Thing is, there’s probably a lot of truth to it. The performances of the keepers he’s signed in his time as manager are a credit to him and Brannon Daly.
The question is whether Smith is the best Bromley have ever seen at the club. Nine games is too small a sample size, but it’s clear that Smith has made numerous point-winning saves. He looks like he could be very important to Bromley’s season.
Is it bad to say the attendance was only 2,571? Oldham brought just shy of 250 fans, which is a healthy away following in the National League, so I’m pointing my fingers at the home supporters here.
The corresponding fixture, almost one year ago to the day, saw an attendance of 3,628. Granted there was a larger turnout from the Oldham faithful as it was David Unsworth’s first game in charge, but that still doesn’t explain where 500+ Bromley fans have gone.
Irrespective of who Bromley are playing, how does a team on a seven-game unbeaten run not bring in close to 3k?
Is that asking too much? Are there mitigating factors I’m missing?
Robin Stanton-Gleaves has stated that he wants Bromley to regularly draw 1% of the Borough of Bromley to home games. That equates to an average crowd of 3k. But if we can’t draw that number against former Football League clubs, when will we do it?
What more can Bromley do to gain support in the borough?
For those that don’t know, I write Bromley’s match reports for the Non-League Paper. More often than not, the report you read on a Sunday morning comes from yours truly. Feel free to share your righteous anger in the comments below.
Part of the role is interviewing both managers at the end of the game to gather their thoughts for the report.
After this game, for the first time ever, a manager refused to talk to me. I’ve been writing reports for five seasons and, win or lose, almost every manager that has coached a game in the National League has made time to talk to me. No one has ever made it clear that I should piss off.
The joke is, I get it. I knew Unsworth would be reluctant to talk given the mountain of pressure he was under, even pre-match, never mind post-match. But refusing to talk to the media in that scenario just makes you appear even more out of your depth than your results suggest.
Bad runs happen, but fans are more likely to cut slack for a manager who fronts up and outlines what’s going wrong and how it can be fixed. Fans smell weakness and bullshit, and this was a weasel move.
Unsworth had every opportunity to front up, but he chose to fob off the NLP and do his own thing. Let me state clearly that this had nothing to do with me personally. However, it had everything to do with the message he wanted to send his club and its fans.
That’s why I felt no shame in writing in the match report that he refused to talk to the press. He felt he didn’t owe the NLP anything and I afforded him the same lack of respect.
On Sunday morning, I woke up to the news that Oldham had sacked David Unsworth. Life comes at you fast.
Let me know what you think about the above by getting at me in the comments below.
Grant Smith (9)
Josh Passley (9)
Chinn Okoli (7)
Byron Webster (9)
Callum Reynolds (8)
Besart Topalloj (9)
Sam Woods (9)
Corey Whitley (9)
Ben Krauhaus (7)
Louis Dennis (7)
Michael Cheek (7)
James Vennings for Josh Passley 70’ (7)
Jude Arthurs for Ben Krauhaus 64’ (7)
Todd Miller for Corey Whitely 77’ (6)
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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