Despite going toe to toe with the league leaders, Orpington were unfortunate to lose their match against FC United of Bromley.
Orpington have been in good form recently and manager Matt Utton has been fortunate to have a relatively consistent team to call upon each week. New father Anthony Knott was available for selection in an unchanged back four and Downs was once again deployed as the lone striker. The midfield seems greatly interchangeable, but each player who comes in does the work asked of them.
Against harsh conditions, Orpington began the first half playing against strong winds and the opposition were clearly determined to use the weather to their advantage, firing off shots from multiple areas of the pitch. Orpington set out to absorb the pressure and they succeeded in stifling the constant attack from Bromley. Only once did the ball find its way into the back of the Orpington net, but the goal was correctly ruled out by the referee as offside following a goalmouth scramble. Orpington had one or two chances to break on the counter, but to no avail and they saw the half through, both teams going in goalless at half time.
The second half saw one change as Haden came on to replace Sims, who had been firm and precise in the tackle throughout the first half. The plan was clearly to use the weather and begin attacking the opposition. But Orpington were undone on the hour mark when a Bromley corner was turned to his own goal by the chest of Knott, his body facing the wrong way in order to clear the ball.
Orpington have learned in the past months to dig in and battle when they have fallen behind and the goal did not demoralise them. Attacks were forged and Downs was unlucky to be called offside when a rash challenge brought him down in the penalty area. Bromley were keen to attack on the break and the Utton brothers at centre back were quick to retreat and make multiple blocks to prevent clear opportunities. Harry Utton and Haden both had to clear chances off the goal line to keep the score at 1-0.
However, it was Bromley who attacked successfully for the second time. Knott scuffed a clearance which fell to the feet of Bromley’s pacey number 11 who surged towards the goal and shot past ‘keeper Matt Utton who, despite a string of great saves throughout the match, was unable to prevent the ball hitting the back of the net.
Orpington managed a final push in the final minutes, but were not rewarded for their efforts and the game was won by Bromley by two goals.
A good performance but, nonetheless another defeat, leaves Orpington 1 point from the bottom of Division 5. However, with the unpredictability of the other teams in the league, Orpington seem calmly consistent and results will soon undoubtedly help move them up the table before the season ends.
Orpington’s next match is at home against Reifield Vipers on Sunday 6th December, kick off 10:30. Tickets on general sale.