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Bromley bow out after spirited display

Total Football has been following non-league Bromley's fortunes in the FA Cup this season - and they made it all the way to the first round before bowing out to Leyton Orient.

Matt Spring’s well taken opener followed by two second half strikes were enough for the hosts to seal their place in the second round.

Backed by a travelling support of well over 1,600, the Lilywhites courageous display kept them well within a shout going into the second period, but in the end they succumbed to the superiority of their Football league opponents.

After a bright opening from the Blue Square bet South side, Orient grabbed the lead when Spring unleashed a 20 yard drive which sailed out of reach of Bromley goalkeeper Tommy Forecast.

This early strike seemed to settle the League One side as they began to dominate possession, Dean Cox fired just over and then moments later drilled a low shot wide of the far post to give the visitors valid cause for concern.

Causing problems

Despite playing three levels below their opponents, Bromley began to find their feet and started causing problems of their own.

Gareth Williams, the eventual match winner in the previous rounds victory at Dartford, was denied by Ben Alnwick in the Orient goal after Hakeem Araba’s flick on, to demonstrate that the Kent based side were still firmly in the match.

The visitors' best chance of the opening half an hour should have yielded a well deserved equaliser, Williams’ corner wasn’t properly cleared and landed at the feet of Rory Hill, but the midfielder could only send his shot high over the bar to disappoint an encouraged Bromley support.

Things were beginning to turn the way of the Lilywhites, influential midfielder Cox, was unable to shake off an earlier injury forcing him to be replaced by Jamie Cureton.

Bromley’s front pairing were causing the hosts complications, the powerful Araba again flicked on in the direction of Williams but the striker was unable to capitalise and subsequently the chance was lost. 

Set up

The first half had flown by and with Bromley still within a shout the second period was perfectly set up for one of those moments that only the FA Cup can bring.

Before the match, Bromley manager Mark Goldberg had insisted that his side had to stay within touching distance to have any chance of claiming a miraculous result.

The storming start the visitor’s made to the second half indicated that they were still firmly in the game, Danny Waldren fired wide outlining Bromley’s intent straight from the restart.

However, their purposeful opening to the second period left them vulnerable to the counter attack, resulting in the hosts doubling their advantage.

Williams swung over a corner which untroubled the Os defence. A quick breakaway then saw George Porter stride tenaciously into the Bromley half and the former Cray Wanderers man, who had been the subject of booing throughout, fired a low shot past Forecast silencing the travelling support and sending a dagger into the hearts of the Bromley players.

Contention

The visitors' refusal to relinquish authority still gave them a chance of getting back into contention, Williams’ attempt to audaciously chip Alnwick was a sign that the Blue Square Bet South side still posed the confidence and ability to stage a fight back.

However, with 25 minutes remaining, any hope that Bromley had of mounting an almighty comeback disappeared.

Porter’s lunge at Aaron Rhule didn’t improve his popularity amongst the Bromley ranks, but left Rhule with far worse consequences as the red mist descended.

The Bromley winger appeared to stamp on Porter earning him a red card and leaving his defiant team-mates numerically disadvantaged.

Despite Goldberg’s aggressive triple substitution, the Os were beginning to stamp their superiority on proceedings, Cureton struck the outside of the post as a third goal looked ominous.

Sure enough, with 10 minutes remaining Jimmy Smith rubber stamped the East Londoners place in the second round after reacting first to Moses Odubajo’s drive which cannoned back off the post.

There was to be no consolation for the visitor’s which their performance merited, despite losing a man the Lilywhite’s bravely, battled on and earned a commendable s
tanding ovation from both sets of supporters.

On reflection, the score line does flatter the hosts but in the end class shone through on a day to remember for all Bromley supporters.

By Daniel Ludlam         


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