Bromley manager Neil Smith: Teams are starting to respect us but we have to find consistency

BY LOUIS MENDEZ

Bromley manager Neil Smith says teams are starting to take notice of the Hayes Lane outfit after some encouraging performances at the start of this campaign.

The Lilywhites are just two points shy of the National League play-off places with a game in hand or two on the sides above them.

Tuesday evening’s 1-1 draw with last season’s play-off semi-finalists Boreham Wood means it’s just one defeat in five league games for Smith’s side. They followed Saturday’s impressive win at Barnet up with a strong display against the Wood but had to settle for a point after Michael Cheek’s fifth goal in just seven league outings cancelled out a stunning opener from Charlton Athletic transfer target Sorba Thomas in the early stages.

Smith said: “I’ve had a couple of quotes. Fair play to Luke [Garrard, Boreham Wood manager], he said ‘you deserved a win, you were outstanding,’ and Luke has a team that normally gets in and around the play-offs themselves. We’ve had a lot of teams, I think Hartlepool when we played up there said ‘we’ll take a 0-0 result against Bromley because they’re one of the teams we want to strive to be as good as.’

“We’re getting respect now. But what that does, everybody ups their game against us. I think before everyone was coming here expecting to win and us to roll over. We’re not going to do that. We’ve had a couple of late goals against us that have killed us a little bit. Torquay, a prime example in the FA Cup. We’ve just got to make sure, like we did today, that we stay together and keep going.

Michael Cheek celebrates after giving Bromley a first-half lead during the game with Dover earlier in the season. Keith Gillard

“We lost a little bit of momentum [at the start of the season]. We got off to a great start and then we drew, lost, won, lost, so it’s now getting that consistency. Now, we’ve gone one defeat in five games in the league. It’s one of them where we want to get a run going, a little bit of consistency. Hopefully we can keep a settled side for a little while, we haven’t been able to do that too often because we’ve had injuries or suspensions.

“I think it will be [a tight division]. There’s so many games in such a short space of time, there’s going to be injuries, there’s going to be suspensions, you’ve got no time to recover. There’s no overnight stays. You’re travelling on the day everywhere. We’re asking a lot of the boys. But I’d rather be playing than not playing. We missed it when it wasn’t there during lockdown. We’re privileged to be doing what we want to do, to play and train. We’re not going to moan about that.

“I thought we dominated, I’m disappointed we drew. Great goal [from Thomas] by the way, we told the players about his strengths, that he comes inside. But to put it where he put it, [Bromley goalkeeper] Mark Cousins couldn’t get anywhere near it. Other than that, I thought we dictated it. It’s always going to be a physical encounter against a Boreham Wood side. Luke [Garrard] does well with them, gets them organised, but I thought we did really well.

“Defensively on Saturday we were very good against Barnet. To come away having let a goal in I was disappointed. I’ve just asked Mark Cousins what he had to do other than the goal and it’s not a lot.

“I thought Webby [Byron Webster], I thought Kory Roberts, I thought [Joe] Kizzi, even with a slit in his head that’s going to need stitches and Bushy [Chris Bush] were outstanding. The two in front of them, Billy [Bingham] couldn’t get into the game because he had to do a job on Matt Rhead which is always going to be difficult. But I can’t complain, I thought we were good.”


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