News News

Bromley: Traveller’s Tales

Posted by Rob Brown
Posted on Sun 3 Mar 2024
Posted in News

If was a filthy morning, visibility was poor with a cocktail of constant drizzle and fog. There were puddles and potholes everywhere too, as the shadowy figure of Pete appeared at the gates of his mansion. In spite of the weather, there was a grand day out to look forward to, and we had the company of the enigmatic Denzil. If we win, he’ll sing, ‘We’re the best team in England without any doubt’, if we lose it’s ‘All over England we’ll all hear him shout’. He’s entertaining and to his credit will always go where the Shaymen go.

Our 247-mile journey south was dominated by talk of the weather. Bromley’s Hayes Lane ground is the only stadium in the league that does not routinely provide cover for travelling fans. We had constant updates from the back seat of an improving forecast down south as the rain continued to clatter the car. Pete was deliberately more pessimistic, perhaps because the wonderful people at Bromley had sorted him and I out with covered seating in the home end.  It wasn’t that we wanted all the travelling Shaymen to get wet, just Denzil would be entertaining.

After another healthy breakfast we crossed the river Thames at Dartford whilst waving off a car with a Rochdale scarf across the back window as we passed their turn off for Ebbsfleet. It was the same car we’d spotted on the M62 three hour earlier, then had leapfrogged each other down the A1. The strange thing was, we’d stopped for breakfast for a random amount of time and still managed to share the last few miles with them.  It’s a good job Denzil didn’t constantly wind down the back window and give them any directions on the way down.  For all we knew they may have even stopped at the same place as us, image the embarrassment with them on the next table!

As the rain stopped and the skies brightened with wintery sunshine, we arrived at Bromley’s ground. The home end has a modern all-seater stand with excellent facilities beneath. It includes a club shop, bar area, food outlets, and plenty of places to sit and watch the early kick-offs on many of the large screen televisions. It was already busy more than 90 minutes before our game. The seats had a good, elevated view across the plastic pitch. The far end still has the partially covered terrace for the home fans, and the small main stand on halfway has been modernised and is now only available for press, club officials and hospitality guests.  The other side is open, two thirds for the home fans with the rest taken by any hardy travelling fans.

The local Bromley fans next to us were cautious of their chances of victory, they had intermittent home form and weren’t confident of a win. The first five minutes of the half was all Bromley.  A few corners and an opportunity of a strike at goal from inside the six-yard box. As everyone around us jumped to their feet to celebrate the opener, there were groans as it was somehow put wide of the far post. From that point onwards, the Shaymen looked comfortable attacking the far end where the 100 or so travelling fans were gathered. Out of the blue, Bromley took the lead just before the break, it was one of the few times they’d been in our box since the opening minutes. It was a good hit, from outside the area and into the back of the net.

Within minutes of the second half starting Bromley scored again, this time at the far end with another decent strike. There was a relaxed atmosphere with the Bromley fans around us, they felt comfortable that the game was won. The Shaymen created one or two opportunities, the best a header from a free kick that went just wide. Bromley could have had more too, one clattered our crossbar and bounced down just back in play. The last moments of the game were dominated by a double red card, one for each team that followed a corner. The Bromley fans around us spotted their player throwing a punch but like us, had not seen anything else.

Driving back and we reflected on one of those days. Bromley deserved their win and had revenge for our 2-0 win at the start of the season. Like us last week, Bromley scored a good goal from outside the box, it’s a good foundation, then they added another, game over. Denzil had only complained of one brief rain shower on the open terrace, and that made us chuckle as we hadn’t noticed. We’re still in a decent position, and it’s on to the next one.

Next up we’re on the telly with a Sunday lunchtime visit to Oxford, can’t wait. C’mon Shaymen

Miles on the road 5980, goals on the road 21

Read more posts by Rob Brown