Opponent Insight: Bromley
Bromley's Hayes Lane
For the third time in the space of eight days, York City head back down south, and it is potentially the trickiest test of the lot, when Bromley pose as hosts for this National League fixture on Tuesday.
Despite valiant efforts in both games, at Eastleigh and Dagenham, Michael Morton’s relegation-threatened side failed to pick up points in either, rather unluckily to say the least.
Some Minstermen players will be familiar with Bromley’s Hayes Lane, having been beaten 3-1 there in last season’s FA Trophy semi-final.
In order to gain some extra insight into City’s next opponents, I spoke to Ravens fan and journalist Machel St Patrick Hewitt (@MashStPaddy/Twitter):
1. We are getting down to the business end of the season now, and Bromley, sitting 9th, are seeking a playoff spot. How has it gone for you so far?
“Given Andy Woodman's successful tenure as Bromley manager, any astute Bromley fan would have known that they would be there or thereabouts this season.
“The mantra at the club has always been that they wanted to be in or around the playoffs going into the last 10 games and so it has come to pass.
“Bromley do appear to be draw merchants this season (13 no less) and that may well be what keeps the Ravens out of the post-season, but if at the start of the season you had said Bromley would only have lost 9 of their first 35 games, I suspect most would have been happy with that.”
2. A solid point earned in your last outing, against title hopefuls Notts County, but do you think you were slightly unlucky not to get all three?
“Notts County dominated all but five minutes of the second half so in that sense, a draw probably was a fair result on the balance of play but there is no getting away from the fact that Bromley should have had a third penalty and Notts County should have had a man sent off.
“The officiating incompetence in the National League is the only guarantee from match to match.”
3. The Ravens rocked up at York earlier in the season, and despite a valiant effort, came away with nothing. How do you see this game going?
“On paper, York appear to have lost their identity and direction, and bizarrely it was all self-inflicted. That doesn't mean I expect York to roll over and hand Bromley three points but certainly Bromley go into the game as favourites.
“That said, York need points - they aren't out of danger and could yet end up going down. Form be damned.
“The best bet for York is to score first and make Bromley have to chase the game. However if Bromley score first then I only see one winner in the game.”
4. Unbeaten in three, Bromley face a Minstermen side that haven’t won on the road in the league since early December. Do you see this as the perfect time to play York, and potentially take a step closer to the top seven?
“As above - this can swing either way. At some point York have to buck the trend surely? However, this will be three on the spin away from home for them. Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday may well take its toll particularly when the team is searching for points.
“There is also the FA Trophy factor - how much will York players be thinking about the Quarter Final on Saturday?
“Bromley will certainly hope so.”
5. What kind of football does the manager, Andy Woodman, like to play?
“Andy prides himself on the Bromley DNA. That being a tough, percentages-focused, uncompromising team to play against. Testament to the 13 draws is his sides unwillingness to give in and chase games until the last kick.
“Do Bromley have a specific style of play? I wouldn't say so or certainly not one that a neutral would easily identify. They can be ugly but very efficient with the ugliness.
“The shape at the moment is generally 3-5-2 with the wingbacks encouraged to get forward and make the pitch big and get crosses in.
“However, a lot of the creativity depends on who holds the #10 shirt and plays in the hole. As of late that is Louis Dennis - If he plays well, Bromley win.”
6. What are the Ravens’ strengths and weaknesses, and who are the ones to watch?
“If everyone is fit then the spine of the team is very strong.
“Omar Sowunmi is the stand-out CB. Ryan Stirk is too good for this level in CM and Michael Cheek needs no introduction.
“Weaknesses can be the low tempo at times. There is always a sense that if Bromley can't get control of the tempo of a game, they struggle to find a different way to get back into games. That is not to suggest Bromley are a possession dependent side but they can run out of ideas if they lose the attacking initiative.”
“If York force Bromley to have to go long then they will lose their way pretty quickly.”
7. Score prediction?
“Bromley 3-0 or Bromley 2-1.”