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Match Report

Saturday 13th November 2010

AFC Bromley
1 - 0
Fourth XI

By Colin Brazier

A Defeat, but...

AFC Bromley are lodging in a new home this season: Ex Blues’ place in Park Langley. Now the last time I played there – just over two years ago – we were thrashed 12-0 by the Ex Blues reserve side, a total embarrassment despite the fact we had been reduced to 10 men with the score at 2-0. Anyway, when you couple memories of that with more bad vibes from our season opener against today’s opponents (0-8), you can understand why I felt the need for a few beers and a Ruby Murray on the eve of the game. One of the effects of that was to be feeling in less than peak condition prior to kick off; another was to have to use the small room in the gents, not such a bad thing in itself until you find that Matt Gardiner had occupied that same space just ten minutes prior.

So, moving on…

After shipping eighteen goals in our last four games, and missing the prolific goalscoring form of both Mantas AND Todd(!), I suspected that The Management (Des and Mark) might come up with a change to our usual 4-4-2, probably playing five at the back. Well I was half right – we did change but played five in midfield instead, with Connor drawing the short straw of being our lone striker, and Neil the even shorter one of a place on the bench, more than a tad unlucky given his form for us this season.

Our line up, then, was…

Jez Allen – GK
Steve Blanchard jnr - RB
Mark Edwards – CB
Steve Blanchard snr – CB
Colin Brazier – LB
Luke Allen – RM
James Foyle – CM
Matt Gardiner – CM
Tom Smart – CM
Scott Barnes – LM
Connor Barclay – CF

Neil Barnes - Sub.

Well, the tactics worked a treat right from the off. Bromley’s midfielders were harried and hassled (what the difference between those is I’m not sure) and their forwards were starved of any service. When they went over the top to try to bypass the midfield, our back line stood firm, with Jez having little to do. It became clear that some of the home side’s players had remembered that opening encounter too, and were not ready for such resistance from the visitors. The Bromley skipper was loudly urging his players to be patient, which was music to our ears. No, we weren’t making many chances of our own, but we had our share of possession, and Connor was putting everything into the cause, as were all of his team mates.

With the game going so well, it was doubly disappointing that around the half hour mark, Bromley should break through from which initially seemed an individual mistake in midfield. Look - and listen - more closely though, and it was interesting to hear FOUR players admitting a part in the goal, which illustrates the tremendous team spirit we have built up. The four didn’t include Jez, not because he should have owned up to anything, but because the clinical close range finish gave him no chance.

After this Bromley settled down and started to put some very dangerous crosses across the face of our goal from both flanks. On a wider pitch one of their forwards may have profited, but here the ball just sped on towards the far side and out of danger before they could react.

At the half we were upbeat at the way things were going and resolved to keep playing as we had done. AFC continued to have most of the play and came very close to scoring on a couple of occasions, but we battled away and almost equalised with a good move from Jez’s throw, through Matt Gardiner and on to James, whose shot stung the hands of the home keeper. Neil came on for the tiring Luke with 20 minutes to go, and despite all our efforts, we couldn’t quite find the all important goal.

The game was played in good spirit by both sides and excellently refereed by Mr. Hilden.

Everyone was pleased with our display, but I must admit it is with a tinge of guilt that we felt happy with a defeat. It shows how far we have come since that sunny September day when alot of us met each other for the first time and suffered at the hands of this opposition. Also softening the blow is the thought of Todd being relegated to the flag this week in the face of Mark’s MoM performance at the back, an accolade deserved not only for his display but for masterminding the tactical plan.

Well done all.

Man of the match: Mark Edwards