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Bromley: Traveller’s Tales

Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Sun 31 Oct 2021
Posted in News

If it had been any other away game, we’d have been worried.  The rain was lashing down, it was still dark, very dark and the windscreen wipers were going twenty to the dozen. The car blowers were on full blast sounding like a cheap hairdryer, struggling to keep up with the build-up of condensation as everyone was talking at once. Tuesday’s home win against Dagenham had us all fired up. We were heading out on a 500-mile round trip, and we didn’t care about the rain, Bromley have an artificial pitch, nothing was going to stop the game going ahead.

The journey south down the M1 was horrible, night became day, but visibility was just as bad with all the spray. The Satnav suggested that we took the A1 but with warnings of a new £2 toll somewhere near the A14, we thought it would be wise to drive the extra 30 miles around the M25.  You can never be sure, and at least we got to visit our favourite Northamptonshire breakfast stop.

By late morning the rain had ceased, traffic was good, and the sun was out. The only hiccup was a ten-minute wait in standing traffic in sight of Canary Wharf, but in no time at all we were rolling up the driveway to Bromley’s Hayes Lane ground. We’d scanned our electronic tickets at the turnstiles, entered the ground next to the revamped main stand on the halfway line and were promptly informed we were in the home end. Using our charm and wit, we managed to blag ourselves a few seats in the impressive new stand behind the goal which, with nearly 1500 seats, has replaced the old benches that had stood at that end for years.

The rest of the ground has had a gradual upgrade over recent years. There are more supporter facilities for the home fans, and the far goal sits in front of a part covered terrace. The Travelling 121 Shaymen were given half of the open terrace down the side of the pitch. The grass pitch was replaced four years ago with a 3G surface, and the stadium now also hosts Cray Wanderers and Crystal Palace Ladies as well as being a community venue.

At half time it was goalless. Bromley threw everything into the box at every opportunity, they have a big side and some players that can launch a throw-in into the area from anywhere inside the M25. The Shaymen stood firm though and had some decent possession at times without creating any serious attempts on goal.

The second half was similar, but the Shaymen had more possession and looked comfortable. The only real chance of the game came from the penalty spot at the far end. The referee spotted a hand ball much to the delight of the majority of the 2000 or so fans in the ground. Much to our delight, the ball wacked off the outside of the post for a goal kick. We’re sure Johnson had it covered regardless of the accuracy. It was in truth the least we deserved from a close contest.

Travelling back and it was soon dark again. Tesco Pete had managed to pay for a meal deal with a £10 note in the service station only to be given £12 change with his carrier bag of goodies. No wonder he got back in the car completely out of breath shouting ‘drive, drive, drive’. It’s not often you manage to get the better of service station on the motorway, I’m sure Pete will reflect on this today though and write them a nice letter with the correct remittance…

With the big FA Cup game against Maidenhead on the horizon and a free weekend the week after, our next scheduled away game is three weeks away at Dover. We’re going to take the opportunity in the meantime of visit the Isle of Man for some North West Counties action. Other than initially booking the return ferry before the game is due to kick off, what else could possibly go wrong?

Goals on the road 6, Miles 3078, C’mon Shaymen!

Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist