Sending off ends Ravens’ FA Cup dreams

Johnson 40
Godden 45, 56 Ward 84


The potential for a real FA Cup upset seemed to be brewing as Bromley approached half-time of their first round tie against Peterborough United.

All the ingredients were there. The National League hosts, having an indifferent season in non-league’s top-flight, had just taken the lead as they won the battle at a set-piece.

The goal came through defender Roger Johnson, a veteran with plenty of Football League experience seeing out the rest of his playing days at a lower level.

He had beaten goalkeeper Aaron Chapman to a deep ball and looped a header into the now unguarded net five minutes before the break.

The bumper 3,107 crowd, packed tightly into a drizzly, three-sided Hayes Lane, were on the backs of their Football League visitors.

They’re Posh, they are, but their players were running out on the sort of surface they aren’t accustomed to in the bright lights of League One – albeit a modern 3G plastic pitch rather than the uncouth mud baths that would have traditionally graced the early rounds of the FA Cup in days gone by.

But it all came crashing down in the final minute of added-time before the interval. Frankie Raymond, who was having a solid game in the hard-working Bromley engine room, tussled with George Cooper in-front of the visiting supporters.

It was hardly Norman Hunter and Franny Lee going toe-to-toe from the 1970s. It was barely a tussle at all. The Bromley boy looked to brush his foe away as he tried to stroll away from the epicentre.

His arm was raised, but Cooper went down in a manner that suggests he’d be hospitalised by a disarming glance from either Hunter or Lee. But it was enough.

Referee Kevin Johnson was given a decision to make and he made it without hesitation. “I was disappointed,” admitted Ravens boss Neil Smith – who had seen his game-plan for the second-half wiped out before the break.

“Frankie didn’t need to do what he did. Whether he makes a meal of it or not, you’re giving an opportunity to a player to do something.

You’re giving an opportunity for a ref to make a decision. It was a needless sending-off and all of a sudden, we’re put under pressure with 10 men against a League One side who are sitting third. It was always going to be difficult after that.”

Bromley v Peterborough United, Emirates FA Cup 1st Round proper, Westminster Waste Stadium, 10 November 2018.

And it was difficult. Matt Godden shovelled salt into the fresh Bromley wounds by volleying home a leveller from the second-phase of the free-kick that Raymond had conceded. Something to defend with 11 in the second-period had become something to cling onto with 10.

Godden added his second 10 minutes after the break as he swept Jason Naismith’s centre home and the writing was on the wall from then on.

Bromley haven’t won a first-round proper tie in the FA Cup for 73 years, since they beat Slough United 6-2 on aggregate in 1945. Any hope that record would be changed on Saturday diminished long before Joe Ward sealed Peterborough’s deal five minutes from the end.

Appearances in the ‘proper’ stages of the FA Cup used to be rare – the Lillywhites only made one in the 30 years between 1976 and 2006. They’ve made seven in the 12 years since. One of those was a 3-0 loss at then League One Leyton Orient, Bromley’s opponents in the National League this weekend.

Last season ended with an appearance at Wembley in the FA Trophy Final. “That’s how times have changed,” explained Smith. “Where we’ve come as a club. We’re disappointed that we’ve just lost to a League One side.

That’s a great credit to the directions, the board for supplying us with everything that we’ve got. The facilities that we’ve got. Hopefully we gave them something back with a performance like that.”

Bromley are adapting to life as non-league club of note. A fourth season at National League, becoming accustomed to mixing it with some big boys, confirms that. And who knows, maybe an FA Cup giant-killing will follow.

There’s always next year.

Dulwich Hamlet will make a second visit to Welling United for the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy on November 24. The Park View Road outfit are second in Vanarama National League South – and will be looking for revenge following an opening day 2-0 defeat at the same venue.

Dulwich levelled from a two-goal deficit at Truro City on Saturday – but then conceded from a defensive mistake to gift the hosts the points.

They were exposed in only the second minute when River Allen drilled past Preston Edwards to open the scoring. The hosts’ second, in the 14th minute, came when Jon-Paul Pittman’s shot was saved by Edwards but the rebound hit the striker and the ball trickled over the line.

Ashley Carew pulled a goal back before half-time, gathering his own cleared corner, skipping around a challenge and stroking the ball past the keeper from the left.

Dulwich equalised in the 55th minute as Nathan Ferguson lofted a pass out to Nyren Clunis on the left and he cut in before driving low and hard into the far corner. But the hosts played on after one of their players was fouled while Hamlet’s defence stopped.

Leigh-Gilchrist fired home. Dulwich sit 15th place in the National League South table, the four points off a play-off spot and a healthy 11 points clear of the relegation zone.

Tooting host Harrow Borough in the London Senior Cup tonight looking to put a stuttering display against Ware behind them.

Both sides had players sent off as Ware tried to defend a first minute lead. Sol Patterson-Bohner was dismissed for an off-the-ball retaliation in the 16th minute.

The Terrors managed to stay in it, and with 15 minutes to go, Ware were down to 10 men when Harrow Norman was shown a straight red card for bringing down the outstanding Isaiah Jones.

Peter Wedgeworth fired home a free-kick in the last minute of added time to give the hosts a share of the points. Tooting are seventh in the Ryman League Southern Division table. Colliers Wood travel to Abbey Rangers for a Combined Counties League Premier Division match tonight.

Their home game against Hanworth Villa on Saturday was abandoned in the 13th minute due a waterlogged pitch. Raynes Park Vale’s home game against Camberley Town on Saturday was also rained off.

They play Hanworth Villa on Saturday.

Fisher sit second in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table after beating Deal Town 2-0.


Photographs: Keith Gillard

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