The adage, a staple of all good coach and managers’ standard clichés to be used about an inconsistent performance of their team, of a “game of two halves” springs to mind about Charlton’s performance last Saturday against Bromley.With the match, having been postponed, due to a frozen pitch, a couple of weeks ago both teams were now missing several players but luckily this did not seem to effect Charlton through the opening exchanges of the match.
Bromley started the game at a furious rate but in their efforts, they conceded a penalty, duly kicked by Alan Knuckey, after two minutes to give Charlton the lead which he doubled some ten minutes later with a second successful penalty kick.
Bromley, initially had enjoyed limited success in tight play but with a lead Charlton’s efforts in this aspect improved markedly and they began to utilise a supply of good quality possession to run the ball at every opportunity. They went close to scoring the first try on several occasions but were thwarted by solid defence from Bromley, and although they crossed the line halfway through the half live wire backrow forward Renaud Van Neel attempt was adjudged to have seen him knocking the ball on.
Van Neel’s effort created the attacking platform however for Charlton scoring the opening try of the game as Bromley were at the ensuing scrum were driven off the ball and Rob Saunderson picked up from the base drove for the line where good work by Charlton saw the ball being taken through a series of phases before Sean Galloway finished the move off by touching the ball down.
Bromley in their efforts had players on two occasions sinned binned but Charlton were unable to convert their numerical advantage into points as they squandered several chances with unenforced errors including kicking the ball dead when trying to gain territory.
With both sides becoming edgy the game becoming scrappy and it was not until injury time at the end of the half that Charlton finally were rewarded for their efforts. Through the first half Jeremy Montes had been running strongly and following him breaking through the Bromley hitherto good defence into open space and when he was tackled the move was continued by Knuckey and the whole sixty metre move was concluded when Saunderson touched the ball down for a try.
From the restart kick Charlton were quick to pressurise Bromley deep into the home side’s half of the pitch and with only seconds remaining they were awarded a penalty. With Bromley still trying to re-organise quick thinking by Ross McManus saw him take the decision to take a quick tapped penalty and with Bromley still in disarray he proceeded to show his speed of foot to dart over twenty metres to touch the ball down for Charlton’s second try in injury time. Knuckey had added three conversions to give Charlton a comfortable 25-point lead at half time.
The second half started in a similar mode as the first half ended with Charlton causing problems with their strong running back three of Montes, Reion Raybe and Tshepo Mooki. Through the first half Raybe had made forays into the line breaks and It was he has started in motion a move that began when he fielded a Bromley clearance kick and when his strong run was stopped his pass found Mooki, running in support, who proceeded to finish the move off when he touched the ball down under the goal posts to assist Knuckey with his fourth conversion of the match. With a bonus point secured Charlton then scored a fifth try through Mooki who finished off a flowing handling move that saw the ball being run out of Charlton’s half of the pitch and seemingly secured a certain win.
In the first half Charlton, had been unable to exploit a numerical advantage when their opponents had a player sin-binned whereas Bromley were the opposite when Charlton lost a player to the sinbin. Bromley used the resulting penalty to set up field position close to the Charlton goal line. A well-executed rolling maul saw Bromley posted their first points of the game with a converted try and three minutes scored a second try to begin to give them respectability.
Charlton, having had two rapid tries scored against them seemed to have a slight wobble and their previously strong scrum faltered and Bromley took the advantage to put themselves on the front foot. A third try from Bromley gave them the opportunity to gain at least one point and with only five minutes of time left a fourth try, after a series of drives, gave them some recompense for their second half play.
With Charlton on the back foot a losing bonus point was possible for Bromley and they continued to press and deep into injury time, in trying to run the ball deep in their own half, they lost control of the ball and Montes was rewarded for his efforts throughout the match when he pounced on the loose ball and sauntered in to score Charlton’s sixth try of the game which Knuckey duly converted with the last kick of the match.
Despite Charlton having to hang on the last twenty minutes of the game they secured their fourth win of 2017 and in doing so narrow the gap to one point behind near neighbours and old rivals Dartfordians, who they play next Saturday at Broadwalk kick-off 2.30pm.