Bromley ready for Wembley visit
Bromley ready for Wembley visit

After almost two months of waiting since the semi final Bromley finally make their way to Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon where they meet Brackley Town in the FA Trophy Final.

As well as in this competition Kevin Wilkin’s Brackley team have also had a very successful season in National League North finishing third and only missing out on promotion in the Play Off Final last Sunday losing 3-0 to Harrogate Town.

The Saints, formed in 1890, had never been further than the quarter final of the trophy before this campaign, but on this historic run they have seen off some impressive opposition including two National League sides.

The full run of eight games taking in Salford City 4-0, Braintree Town 2-0 after a replay, Barrow 2-0 after a replay, Sutton United 3-1 and Stockport County in the two legged semi final 1-1 and 2-1.

Bromley’s route to the final is one of the longest in the competitions history in terms of travelling, covering 3,346 miles and eight games.

It all started back in December with a 2-0 win at Hartley Wintney before trips north to Blyth Spartans 4-1 and Workington 1-1, before seeing The Reds off in a replay 7-1.

The quarter final saw a home draw to Spennymoor Town, but after a 0-0 draw and three postponements The Ravens won 2-1 in the replay at Darlington.

This set up a semi final with Gateshead, Bromley winning the first leg at Hayes Lane 3-2 and then holding The Heed to 1-1 at The International Athletics Arena to secure a place in the final.

This is the furthest Bromley have ever gone in this competition since making the switch to the FA Trophy in 1973, although they did win the FA Amateur Cup three times including a 1-0 win at Wembley in 1949 over Romford.

That game was watched by 94,000 fans and although there may only be a third of that crowd in attendance this time, The Ravens have sold more than 15,000 tickets, over ten times their normal gate for home games in the National League.

With Brackley having sold over 5,000, a neutral section and a smattering of fans left from the FA Vase final beforehand the final crowd could well be close to 25,000.

Neil Smith’s side have not have played for three weeks by the weekend after just missing out on the play offs finishing ninth with an impressive 70 point haul, their best finish since promotion to Non League Football’s top flight three seasons ago.

Whether this lay off or Brackley’s continuous run of high pressure games up to last Sunday proves to be the best preparation will remain to be seen on the big day.

Smith will have had plenty of time to ponder his starting eleven, top scorers Louis Dennis and Josh Rees barely featured in the final few weeks of the season, while Omar Bugeil made a real claim for a start with his late run of games. The only loss to the squad was right back Luke Woolfenden who was recalled by Ipswich Town at the end of April.

Bromley are holding an open training session for fans on Saturday morning between 10.30am and 1.00pm at Hayes Lane, this will include a chance to meet the players, wish them well and also for the club’s player of the season awards to be presented.

The FA have decided that both sides can wear their first choice kit for the final with Brackley in red & white stripes and Bromley in white shirts and black shorts, which will have gone down well the traditionalists rather than either side having to go for their yellow kit option.

It looks to be set to be a very close run thing for what colour ribbons appear on the famous trophy on Sunday evening as these two sides look to win the competition for the first time.

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