It’s not as easy as usual to know what to expect from our opponents tomorrow, as Bromley’s form has fluctuated wildly in recent games. They made a subtle alteration to their formation in their last game, but a home defeat means manager Neil Smith might have spent this week planning another reorganisation.
Bromley had a strong start to the season, but a disastrous 5-1 defeat at Dagenham appears to have provoked a change of approach. However, they may revert back to the formation which, before the Dagenham match, had earned some good results, as their subsequent defeat to Sutton was rather tame.
The Dagenham match was a turning point in their form. They went into it using the 4-2-3-1 formation which had served them well up to that point, and were able to offer some threat going forward, but their two central midfielders found themselves with too much ground to cover and were overwhelmed as Dagenham’s worked space around the area and down the flanks which they exploited in full.
With Dagenham’s players allowed time to set themselves before delivering, Bromley’s defence were vulnerable to crosses and set pieces, and were punished by an impressive Dagenham performance.
For their next game, at home to Sutton on Monday, Bromley made a small alteration to their shape, withdrawing the man off the lone striker and switching to a 4-3-3, and a major overhaul of their personnel, making five changes.
The outcome was a 1-0 defeat to the league leaders, but in the first half they did little to cause problems for Sutton. They lacked pace across the team, and when the centre backs tried to step out to meet players they left space behind them. In midfield, as at Dagenham, they struggled to get close to their opponents.
In the second half they altered things, switching to a 4-4-2 with George Porter coming central from the right flank to support Brett Williams. Bromley increased their tempo to get the ball to the forwards earlier, but still didn’t pose enough of a threat and ended the game playing 4-2-3-1 in an attempt to pose a threat.
However, they still didn’t look like getting an equaliser, the only half chance they created in the last half hour coming from a midfield free kick, leading to a header from the edge of the area which was easily saved.
Bromley found themselves playing long balls, but are not really a side set up to play that way. Williams is an experienced target and strong in the air, but was withdrawn early in the first half. In general he has been competing with Porter for the lone striker role, and the latter has been more effective thus far this season. He is physical but also more mobile, which was perhaps why Smith moved him over to the right, allowing him to field both players. However, the change didn’t yield results.
Another change saw Kristian Campbell come in at left back, and Bromley looked to use his long, looping throws as an attacking option without success. Campbell will have been disappointed to have been dragged wide for the decisive goal, leaving a gap between him and the left-sided centre back which a runner from deep exploited.
These performances have been a massive down-turn in form compared to their 6-1 win over Leyton Orient, in which they surely showed what Neil Smith is looking to achieve. They played with a better tempo and energy and unsettled Orient from the outset.
Perhaps significantly, Luke Wanadio started on the right flank in that match, but played on the opposite wing in the subsequent, disappointing games. Very right-footed, he used his pace to deliver a number of crosses against Orient, but against Dagenham and Sutton he regularly cut in onto his right foot and found himself running out of space.
Also, Louis Dennis was effective, playing behind the main striker and breaking into advanced positions. This was a role which didn’t really exist against Sutton until Smith reshuffled his shape, but Porter’s movement creates spaces which Dennis could exploit.
Frankie Sutherland, who did not play against Sutton, provided drive through the middle against Orient, and showed versatility with three assists from the left wing, one with his left foot and two corners with his right.