Vanarama National League – Hayes Lane – Tuesday 4th September 2018 – KO 19:45
Despite a shaky start to the season, Barnet now find themselves only four points away from the play-off places after picking up their third consecutive victory on Saturday.
John Still’s men travelled to Kent to face league strugglers Dover Athletic and came away with maximum points, clinching a 2-1 victory to lift them up to 13th in the table.
Jack Barham bagged his second goal for the Bees with only four minutes on the clock after cutting inside before unleashing a delicious curling effort which rustled the top right corner of Mitch Walker’s net.
Things got even better for Barnet when Byron Harrison headed in from close range to give the visitors a two-goal advantage going into the break.
Despite Mitch Brundle pulling one back for Dover five minutes after the hour mark, it was the Bees who walked away with all three points.
High on confidence, attentions now turn to tomorrow night’s visit to Bromley as Still’s side aim to clinch their fourth straight win.
Last Time We Met:
Tomorrow’s encounter will mark the first ever competitive meeting between the two sides since our Athenian League days.
Manager: Neil Smith
Neil Smith has occupied the Bromley hot seat for just over two years now but he was no stranger to the club before he was named manager in 2016.
The former midfielder had a brief spell with The Ravens as a player back in 2008 before hanging up his boots for the first time.
Smith then returned to Bromley in 2011 where he became assistant manager before taking up the role as interim boss in February 2016 after Mark Goldberg’s departure. After winning six times and drawing three of his 13 matches in charge, the 46-year-old was given the job on a permanent basis.
After seeing out the remainder of the 2015-16 National League season as boss, Bromley finished in 14th before securing 10th place the following campaign. Last term saw them continue to rise up the standings again, this time clinching ninth, three points adrift of the final play-off spot.
Smith began his playing career at Tottenham as an apprentice but having failed to break into the first team, he made the move to Gillingham. The Lambeth-born manager featured over 200 times in six years for the Gills before going on to play for Reading, Stevenage, Woking and Welling. Despite retiring at the end of his Bromley spell, Smith returned to the field for Maidstone in the same year.
The current Ravens manager embarked on his first stab at management when he became joint caretaker boss at Woking in 2007 alongside Graham Baker in a spell that lasted only two months. Smith was then named manager at former club Welling United shortly after but faced the sack mid-way through the 2007-08 season. He then went on to become part of the coaching staff at Grays Athletic and Croydon Athletic before becoming assistant manager at Lewes, his most recent side before his switch to Bromley.
Ones to Watch: John Goddard and Omar Bugiel
John Goddard arrived at Bromley this summer, signing on loan from League Two side Stevenage.
The attacker flourished in the National League for Woking before he was awarded a move to Swindon in 2016, spending the next three years in the Football League.
The England C international was labelled ‘a very, very good player’ and ‘a very talented lad’ by Smith after signing for The Ravens during the transfer window.
Goddard has a real eye for goal and can link up with the midfield and forwards, creating additional firepower for Bromley in the final third. Yet to get off the mark this season, the loanee will also be eager to bag his first goal for the club when he comes up against Barnet tomorrow.
Another man who could cause the Bees all sorts of problems tomorrow night is forward Omar Bugiel. However, there is a chance he may not be involved in the Bromley side.
That’s because the 24-year-old has been called up on international duty for Lebanon’s upcoming fixtures with Jordan and Oman. With the first game being played on Thursday, it could prove to be a real stretch to play him tomorrow night.
However, if he is to feature for Bromley tomorrow he’ll undoubtedly enter the game aiming to add to his goal tally of the season. Bugiel has two goals to his name so far this season, both coming in a 4-0 win over Havant & Waterlooville last week.
The striker was a prolific goal scorer before he arrived at Bromley, netting just under 50 league goals in 121 appearances for Worthing. His form meant Forest Green were the next side to capture his signature and having failed to replicate similar ability at the New Lawn, he will be fired up to do so at his current club.
Standing at 6’1 tall, the Barnet back-line will undoubtedly have to be wary of his aerial threat if he is to play, preventing as many crosses into the box as possible. Bugiel has a real hunger for goals and will be determined to put the ball past Mark Cousins whenever he can so the Bees will have to be on high alert if they are to keep him at bay.
Sitting one point and one position behind the Bees in the table, a win for Bromley tomorrow will see them leapfrog us in the table.
The Ravens remain unbeaten in their last four games and will go into tomorrow’s encounter off the back of a 2-2 draw away at Maidenhead United. Despite falling two behind, a stoppage time goal from George Porter was quickly followed up by a penalty which was put away by Frankie Sutherland, completing a remarkable comeback.
Bromley have won and drawn twice in their last five matches, losing only once at the hands of Eastleigh. That defeat left them winless before they clinched a 1-0 win over Gateshead four days later. A 2-2 draw away at Wrexham was soon followed by a 4-0 thumping over Havant & Waterlooville five days before their trip to York Road.
With 13 goals to their name so far this season, The Ravens are joint second top scorers in the division and will be looking to add to their tally when they welcome Still’s men tomorrow.
Bromley also go into tomorrow’s game having conceded 10 goals, a stat that is shared by Barnet.
The Bees will also have to be wary that Smith’s side are yet to be beaten on their own turf so far this season.
Last 5 games: LWDWD
Bromley man Kyle De Silva spent a short spell on loan at Barnet from Crystal Palace during the back end of the 2012-13 season. The 24-year-old only made three appearances for the Bees before returning to his parent club at the end of the campaign.
Midfielder Adam Mekki, who joined Barnet in August 2014, featured 11 times for the club but failed to find the net before he was released later that year. The 26-year-old then went on to play for Dover and Tranmere before signing for Bromley ahead of last season.
Off the field, Bromley fitness coach Ben May bagged four goals in 11 appearances for Barnet after joining on loan for the remainder of the 2011-12 season in March 2012 from Stevenage.