Bromley 5 v 1 Grays

Grays found themselves with lots to think about on the eve of the new season as they were humbled 5-1 by Conf South Bromley

In early exchanges the trio of Long, Davis and Taylor were playing some neat triangles on the right without ever really threatening.

Bromley produced the first real chance as a McBean strike hit the woodwork abnd once again even with a new combination of Colin Miles and Gavin Hoyte.

Vernazza looked a lot sharper. In the 11th minute he dispossesed on the halfway line, passed through to Harley Dean, then received again on the edge, slipped it through to Jamie Slabber who then dived theatrically in the box.

Defence was immediately being turned into attack in what was a very bright start.

Graham produced some fine work to get to the dead ball line but his drag back was weak. He did it again five minutes later. The ball fell to Sam Long but his blasted the ball wildly over the bar.

Bromley sprung the offside trap in the 20th minute and earned a series of corners but the weak execution illustrated the level of their play.

From out of nowhere they produced a sizzling opener as a series of long elegant passes down the right saw a cross whipped in from the right and a sprinting McBean whipped it in.

Long continued to threaten down the right but at the other end the formidable Jacob Erskine appeared as if he could score at will.

The first half was  petering out for Grays as for all the neat interchanges they could not produce a meaningful attack but Bromley weren’t done. A needless free kick was conceded by Miles. The kick was floated across the area and Dolby sneaked around the back to put the South London team further ahead.

It was good to see Glenn Poole back in a Grays shirt as Grays looked to get back in the game in the second half.

Taylor continued to struggle and looked every part a player who had struggled two leagues down.

Players started to run into cul-de-sacs and again for all the width and possession, they couldn’t carve out decent chances.

Grays kept the pressure up. A corner in the 51st minute saw a lovely half volley by Shane Mangodza just flash over the bar.

In the 55th minute, Slabber made something out of nothing, taking the ball on the edge of the area and worming it past the Bromley keeper.

Another clumsy defensive challenge gave Bromley a free kick on the edge of the area. Jacob Erskine produced another fine curling ball that went close.

Stray balls and mis-placed passes littered their game. You could see what you get with the Bromley team but with Grays everything was too vague. Perhaps they need a real talisman in central midfield.

Warren McBean wrapped up proceedings as Bromley cantered up the pitch playing one two’s as the Grays midfield went missing in action. Mcbean in acres of space picked his spot from just inside the area

Watching the team in a timeout with ten minutes to go, there should have been some form of last ten minute rally call. Instead they stood in silence.

Glenn Poole was patently unfit and started to walk towards the end. A 45 minute run out for an unfit former player was hardly what a team needs seven days before the start of the season.

Bromley keeper Williams made a good save in the 8oth minute from a Taylor close range header and again from a 20 yard Richard Graham strike.

Garry Braham-Barrett produced some magic on the left flank but once again the cross was woeful.

The humiliation is complete as Warren McBean put away two free headers in injury time to make it four for himself and five for an impressive, imaginative, instinctive Bromley.

Preston Edwards Kenny Davis Billy Franks Harley Dean Colin Miles Gavin Hoyte Sam Long Paulo Vernazza Charlie Taylor Jamie Slabber Richard Graham

Subs: Lee Butcher, Shayne Mangodza Serge Mafoko Peggy Lokando Garry Braham-Barrett Glenn Poole


The question of whether Grays can survive the Blue Square Premier depends on the standard of the other teams. There is no doubt that this team would have struggled had they been in last years league.

Lets make no mistake, Grays in every friendly look like a struggling Conf South team at best. Pre-season form can usually be discounted but there are serious deficencies here that suggest that you really do hope those “four teams worse” do actually exist.

There is no captain and no leader. The team seem like a bunch of triallists who don’t know each other well enough to shout at.

A deeper problem may be that the team do not know who they are. This doesn’t look like a winning ugly team that will fight and scrap and upset a few people on the way to surviving in the Blue Square Premier.

It looks like a neat, tidy, lightweight team that made Bromley at times look like Arsenal as they simply by-passed Grays.

The centre of midfield remains a problem. Vernazza started brightly with a delicate touch, early balls and great vision but faded. The game passed by former Dagger Harley Dean totally. Richard Graham and Sam Long impressed on the flank.

Upfront Jamie Slabber has had a very good pre-season but he does not have a partner to match. Charlie Taylor looked woefully out of his depth for much of the game.

Last year Grays impressed in the pre-season and went to Weymouth believing they were play off contenders. The rest is history.

This season they have struggled past lowly opposition as dozens of players have been tried.

Seven days before the start of the season, they are now near to the final squad but the eleven that come out at Chester may have never played together. Of course, that is if Chester are there. Chester are not the worry, Histon will be three days later.

The central defenders continue to be a real concern. They will counter that they are not being given adequate cover.

Kenny Davis is once again being totally underused at right back. Someone should hand him the armband, put him in defensive midfield and say: “Kenny, protect your defenders, work sideways and link up the midfield and attack.”

There were hairdryers after the game but this may not totally have been the players fault.

Preston Edwards Kenny Davis Billy Franks Harley Dean Colin Miles Gavin Hoyte Sam Long Paulo Vernazza Charlie Taylor Jamie Slabber Richard Graham

Subs: Lee Butcher, Shayne Mangodza Serge Mafoko Peggy Lokando Garry Braham-Barrett Glenn Poole

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