Bromley FC PA Announcer Matt Hall (@bfc_announcer) shares his top 5 moments of the 15/16 season…
It’s said so much around these parts that it’s become a cliche, but our inaugural season in the National League has been an emotional rollercoaster, albeit an enjoyable ride for the most part.
I thought I’d offer my top 5 ‘moments’ of the season, some of which have been games, goals or other events which have made this campaign so special.
5. Non League Day (vs Barrow) – 10/10/2015
Non league day is something which I always find myself looking forward to. It gives non-league teams like ourselves the opportunity to showcase not only our football, but our capabilities behind the scenes and off the field to a much wider audience. It also gives non-league football the recognition it deserves, and it’s always fantastic to see so many people, particularly Football/Premier League fans put their faith in grass roots football, even if it’s just for that day. Some people have a negative perception of football at this level, having not been to a non-league match before, and it’s incredible to hear these people’s views change after 90 minutes watching their local side for the first time. We’ve had it at Hayes Lane, and I’ve spoken to a number of fans post non league day who can’t wait for their next visit, despite the views they held before entering the turnstiles.
As much as we always perform off the pitch on non league day, we’ve somehow found it difficult to perform on it in recent years. Our previous two years had seen us lose 2-1 away at Eastleigh, before slumping to a 1-0 defeat at home to Chelmsford in our title winning season. Could this year be different? We were on something of a high, having won 7 of our last 8 games, and playing some cracking football to boot. Well, in front of the near 2,500 crowd, we put in a clinical showing to match the scorching weather. A 5-0 victory with goals from Jack Holland, Anthony Cook, Reece Prestedge, Moses Emmanuel and a late sunner from Louis Dennis sealed the rout, and sent many a football fan home satisfied and looking forward to their next visit.
4. Dover Athletic 2-3 Bromley – 28/12/2015
You’ve got to love an away day with Bromley. The fans, the banter, the football and the chance to visit new grounds or perhaps re-visit some old favourites. I’ve always enjoyed visits to Crabble, partly because I like the ground, but mainly because we seem to have a pretty good record there in recent times. We headed down to Dover in poor form, having not won in the league for nearly two months, but an encouraging 2-2 draw against high-flyers Eastleigh on Boxing Day gave us a bit more optimism going into this Kent Derby. The two sides had met at Hayes Lane back in August and each took a point in a 1-1 draw, thanks to a late Bradley Goldberg equaliser.
One thing was for sure, things would be entertaining in the stands, and we hoped the football being played would match this. We were in luck. All throughout the game, fans of both sides traded chants and shall we say, ‘words’ (all in good humour of course!) and both sides on the pitch stuck with the theme, sharing 5 goals. Luckily, three of them were ours. After Ricky Miller had given Dover an early lead following a defensive error, Adam Cunnington scored his first goal in a Bromley shirt to level things up after Stefan Payne had been sent off for the hosts. Jack Holland put us in front, before Miller equalised, unfortunately right in front of where the Bromley fans were based. However, the drama wasn’t over there. Moments after he came on as a substitute, Reece Prestedge won it for Bromley with a close range finish following a corner. Delerium in the Bromley end, despair in the Dover end. It had been an entertaining game between two well supported sides, where both teams had played some excellent football. It was a turning point for Bromley, and surely a confidence boost following recent form.
3. Torquay 3-7 Bromley – 19/9/2015
Well, the scoreline says it all, doesn’t it? Condemning Torquay, an ex-League club, to their heaviest defeat at home in nearly 20 years, and that’s after going 1-0 down! We were in some form that month, but I’ll get on to that a bit later. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make this game as I was unwell on the day. How gutted was I? You can probably imagine. Despite being thumped 4-0, I enjoyed our visit to Torquay the season before in the FA Trophy, Plainmoor is a wonderful ground at this level.
As I’ve said, I wasn’t able to make the match, so a combination of Gillette Soccer Saturday and the commentary provided by Dave and Jeff was the order of the day. Going 1-0 down so early on, I feared the worst. But what was about to happen was truly astonishing in any Bromley fan’s wildest imagination. A Moses Emmanuel hat-trick within half an hour of the match starting put us into a 3-1 lead. I’m proud to say I now own the shirt that hat trick was scored in, having sponsored Moses this season. Must be a good luck charm! Tyrone Marsh got one back for Torquay just before the half time whistle, and being the worrier that I am, I could see them turning things around once again. Never in my right mind did I expect us to add four goals to our tally in the second half, with just one reply. Further strikes from Holland, Dennis, a penalty from Cook and an Ali Fuseini cracker rendered Marsh’s second goal of the game a mere consolation for the Gulls. What an incredible treat for the fantastic bunch of supporters who’d travelled all that way to support the lads. They deserved it.
2. The month of September
I know it’s not exactly a moment, but how could I possibly leave out this period of time! What an incredible month this was. After the euphoria of our first month in the National League came to an end and people were expecting things to die down, they didn’t.
Six wins from six matches in September really put Bromley on the lips of fans around the country. Not to mention the fact that during the course of the month, we’d scored 20 goals and conceded just seven. At one point, I believe we were the top scorers in the country. This was the time when friends, who knew of my involvement with the club but perhaps weren’t Bromley fans as such, began talking about the club and mentioning the incredible statistics they’d heard. I had one thing to say to them – “come and see it for yourself!”. We ended that month as not only the in form-side of not just the National League, but one of the best form sides in the country. What a phenomenal achievement for our fantastic football club, and I’m hopeful and confident we’ll have plenty of times like this ahead of us. ‘Little old Bromley’ were the team to beat at the time, and that’s credit to everyone at the club and the hard work they put in. Of course, the famous 7-3 victory at Torquay came during September, accompanied by victories over Gateshead, Macclesfield, Boreham Wood, Kidderminster and Chester. Some unbelievable goals were scored during that time too, which I’m sure many of you enjoy watching over again! For me, this month made the season for us. Looking back, it could have been the difference between safety and relegation. It’s always a pleasure to watch my team play but in this month, it was just that little more exciting.
1. Moses Emmanuel’s goal vs Wrexham – 8th August 2015
When I heard our first league opposition of the season would be Wrexham, and that we’d be at home, I was incredibly excited. They’re a big club with a fantastic following, many of whom, I was sure, would make the trip to Bromley. Not only that, but this was the moment it really sunk in for me, these were the sorts of teams we’d be playing week in, week out – in the league, not the cup! Surely it’d be too much to ask for a win, or would it…?
Having gone 1-0 down relatively early on, I feared the worst, and I was still thinking about the possibility of losing 3 or 4-0 when Sean Francis belted in the equaliser just minutes later. Up in the PA area, we were all overcome with emotion and I let mine out over the mic after the goal! Truth is, I’d have settled for the draw there and then. And I’d have been happy too. But no, we were going to go for it.
Soon after, Alex Wall put us 2-1 up and the main feeling at the top of the main stand was disbelief. We all looked at each other wondering if it was a dream. Well no, it wasn’t. This was real, this was Bromley. Soon before half time, came my moment of the season. Some of you will disagree with that, I’m sure, but I can’t help but feel nostalgic when I think about this goal. Following a free flowing, sweeping attacking move, Emmanuel put us 3-1 up and for me, it was the point where I fully realised that we could do this, that we were up to the task, that maybe, just maybe, we could claim a historic result. There was no better feeling than belting Moses’ name down the mic after that goal, and I’m hopeful for more of these times to come!
After the match, I remember sitting in the main stand, speechless as to what I’d just seen. People were saying to me, “can you believe it?”, and in all honesty I couldn’t. But then I remember thinking there’s no limit to what this team can do. My response to one person was, “This is Bromley, we should expect the unexpected!”, and in retrospect, maybe I should have!
What were your top 5 moments this season? Wish to contribute to the new site? Drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!