Posted by sean on September 10, 2012 at 8:08 pm in Bath City, Ventures Outside Of Bath with No Comments

Bromley 1-0 Bath City
Conference South
Saturday 8th September 2012 – 15:00

All thoughts of the depressing 2-1 defeat at Dorchester Town were put to bed a few days later, when a home win against a very physical Billericay Town side saw Bath City maintain their one hundred percent record Twerton Park, leaving us top of the table. Things were looking good, although a growing injury list began to give cause for concern. A midweek trip to local rivals and fellow table-toppers, Salisbury City, saw another defeat on the road and probably confirmed what we all knew – Bath City are not quite good enough to challenge for the league title.

Having missed the Tuesday night trip, my third away game of the season was on Saturday. Another trip east, another visit to Reading services and another chance to say “I’ve been to Kent”. This week’s coach trip took us to Bromley FC, who play at Hayes Lane.

I have made many trips to Hayes Lane during our previous stay in the Conference South and it is one of my favourite grounds. A traditional venue, with large terracing, an attractive main stand and delightful wooden benches behind one goal. If you get bored of the football, you can even watch a spot of cricket while enjoying a Cornetto from the ice cream van which is situated inside the ground. All very proper and English.

Legendary fan, Brian York, enjoying a pasty

I always liked Bromley. They remind me a lot of Bath City. A similar sized club, nice ground, friendly supporters. We both won promotion to Step 2 in 2007 and our first match of the new campaign was against each other – when Chris Holland scored a late, late equaliser.

Like the trip to Welling a few weeks back, Bromley was unbelievably hot. Does Kent have its own climate unique to anywhere else in the UK? Something available in Bromley that wasn’t in Welling, was the very welcoming sight of Thatchers Gold cider on tap. To make things even better was the fact we were served our drinks in plastic glasses and allowed to take them outside. The bar manager at Hayes Lane, obviously doing his research and checking this blog for my demands. Needless to say, nearly all Bath City supporters ordered cider. It was surely to be expected with us being from the West Country.

Cider in the sun

As we drank cider, we watched our players jump up and down, run around, warm up and, in the case of Kerry Mogan, fall to the ground in agony. Another injury and a last minute change to the team sheet.

The less said about the game, the better in all honesty. Bromley took an early lead. A header, scored by a totally unmarked player, from absolutely nothing. City tried to respond, but never really got going. The linesman in Bromley’s half of the pitch didn’t help much, repeatedly ignoring fouls on Kurtis Guthrie, yet ever ready to alert the referee to anything favouring the home side. To blame the officiating would be a poor excuse, though.

The steps remind us, you’re not too big to go down

The only thing to cause a slight smile during the game was an announcement over the tannoy asking for the parents to come and collect their lost child, before minutes later asking a fan to visit the lost property department to pick up their belongings. Either the residents of Bromley are very careless and keep losing things, or they put missing children in the lost property bin.

Note to Bath City players: This message does not apply on the pitch

At half time, I made my way to the very plush upstairs bar. It was air conditioned, comfortable and had an excellent view of the entire pitch. I only went in to get a burger, but was tempted to watch the entire second half from up there. I almost did. The man cooking my burger forgot he had taken my order. It wasn’t until 20 minutes into the second half, with the score still 1-0 to Bromley and not a lot else happening besides the home side missing chance after chance, that he remembered me. I got a free drink for my troubles and was eventually handed my food.

Bromley FC. Safety first. Burgers second.

Burger in one hand, complementary bottle of Lucozade Sport in another, I walked round to where the Bath City fans were stood, sat on one of the wooden benches and watched, depressingly, as Bromley battered us. They didn’t score a second, but it was clear they would win. To use the old phrase, we couldn’t score in a brothel.

Wooden benches. I like.

The “wooden bench stand” was primarily full of away fans during the second half, all in a state of despair. Amongst us poor travellers sat two home supporters, presumably either because they loved their wooden seats or took a thrill out of winding-up the opposition. They were very vocal and in thick London accents would yell out encouragement to their home team and berate the referee for not awarding a red card for a petty challenge on their centre forward, which wouldn’t even warrant a booking, let alone a sending off. I don’t know what they would have done had we scored, as they would have been rather outnumbered, but like me, they could see that was never going to happen.

The Bromley Firm. ‘Propa Nawty’.

The referee blew his whistle for fulltime. The home supporters celebrated. Some away fans jeered, calling for manager, Adie Britton’s resignation, while others, myself included, applauded the team. Was the applause deserved? Probably not. Do I love my team, appreciate them and want to show my support regardless of the result? Absolutely.

As we walked out the ground, a home supporter commiserated us, although followed up his sympathy with “you got lucky”. Yup, cheers for that. “… you could have lost 5 or 6 today” Thank you very much… “… if we had been able to score…” OK, OK, that’s enough, now. The sad thing is – he was right.

The customary inquest into the defeat began the second we stepped foot onto the coach. A well-renowned moaner, elderly, accusing all supporters who defend Adie of not having played football in their lives. This is the same fan who, after the Dorchester defeat, claimed that the players did not want to win promotion.

Yes, I’ll admit it, we were outfought, outrun, outthought, outchased, outtackled and outheaded. I was very disappointed. The overreaction by some sections of the supporters though was a bigger embarrassment than the performance on the pitch. I don’t claim to be a football expert. As you can probably tell from reading this blog, my knowledge of the game is up there with Mark Lawrenson’s (zilch). What I do know, however, is that we have a very small squad, seven of our players are injured, we have a new team which is still getting used to playing together AND we have an excellent home record (until Dover beat us next week).

Expect another blog in a fortnight. An FA Cup special when Bath City visit either Buckland or Plymouth Parkway (a football club, not a railway station). Green army!


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