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Bromley suffer defeat at home to Barnet – with Andy Woodman’s side yet to pick up a point in their opening National League outings

By Jack Burgess at Hayes Lane

Bromley recorded back-to-back defeats to start the 2023/24 National League campaign after falling to a 2-0 home defeat to Barnet.

It was a largely uneventful opening 20 minutes of the game, with neither side able to impose any real control on the game.

The first real opportunity of the game fell to Bromley with Callum Reynolds swinging in a ball from the left-hand side, but Michael Cheek was able to make a meaningful connection with the ball as it skimmed his head and went out for a goal kick.

Barnet took the lead in the 24th minute when Ben Coker’s ball in from a free-kick wasn’t cleared and fell to Daniel Collinge, who slotted home.

‘The Bees’ were able to assert a level of dominance on the match after taking the lead and almost doubled their lead just five minutes later when, in the 29th minute, Kabamba was able to find room in the box after confusion in the Bromley defence, but debutant Grant Smith produced a great save to keep it at 1-0.

After a period of sustained Barnet pressure, ‘The Ravens’ came close with the final chance of the half when Whitely brought the ball down from Webster’s throw-in and rattled the bar from distance.

Both sides went into the second half unchanged.

Bees captain Dale Gorman had the first chance of the second half, controlling a bouncing ball and striking just wide of the Bromley goal.

Barnet doubled their lead on 64 minutes after Zak Brunt played through Nicke Kabamba, who finished calmly past Grant Smith.

Smith almost presented Barnet with a third when misjudging a long ball over the top of his defence, with Marvin Armstrong unable to convert into an empty net.

After struggling to create chances throughout, Bromley produced a late flurry of chances. The first fell to Michael Cheek, who failed to convert an inviting Jude Arthurs cross.

Just two minutes later, substitute Louis Dennis sent Barnet stopper Laurie Walker scrambling as he fired wide from just outside the box.

The final opportunity of the game fell to Billy Bingham, who produced an audacious half-volley from 30 yards, forcing Walker into a fine save.

Bromley boss Andy Woodman bemoaned his side’s defensive struggles, which has seen them lose their first two games of the season.

“It was patchy,” said the former Crystal Palace goalkeeper coach.

“I just don’t think we look quite right yet; the balance of the team doesn’t look quite right. We can take some plusses out of it, but we’ve got to get some clean sheets in the building, which is what ultimately brings you success”.

Woodman’s side have failed to find the back of the net in the opening two games of the season. When asked by the South London Press, he said;

“We haven’t created too many chances. Although we had a few today. Cheek at the end. I don’t think you’re going to create a lot of chances against a team like Barnet. You’ve got to work hard to get those chances. You’re going to have an uphill struggle if you keep giving the team goals.”

After Barnet’s first goal, Woodman was booked by referee Ruebyn Ricardo. When pressed on what was behind the booking, he said;

“I spoke to him at half-time. We’re at the stage now where you can’t appeal a free kick, and because I put my arms out and asked for a free-kick, he booked me for it.”

“So that’s where we are in the game now. You have to stand with your hands in your pocket and show no emotion. The flip side of that is the supporters thinking I don’t care.”

“We’re in a bad place with referees at the moment, and I feel sorry for them. We can’t appeal anything because they’re told to book us. It’s crazy, but it’s the people above who make those decisions”.

Bromley play Wealdstone on Tuesday at Hayes Lane with a 19:45 kick-off. The attendance on the day was 2086.

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