Bromley sealed a dream trip to Wembley on Sunday 20th May, as a 1-1 draw was enough to seal a 4-3 aggregate victory across the two legs of the semi-final.
After a lively start to proceedings at the Gateshead International Stadium, it was Bromley who would make a dream start.
Just five minutes in, a sublime through ball from Louis Dennis was met by the run of Brandon Hanlan, and he surged at goal with the beating of his man. As he drew closer, his low shot was parried back towards him by James Montgomery, and after a ricochet off the unfortunate Fraser Kerr, the ball looped over Montgomery and into the net, sending the 242 strong away support into raptures.
The fast paced start to the game continued after the goal, and rather than sit back, Bromley kept pushing. After some good passing play, Frankie Sutherland was presented with time and space 25 yards from goal, and produced a low shot, but it was easily gathered by Montgomery. Almost immediately after, the Heed’s Richard Peniket embarked on a strong run and shot fiercely at goal, only to see it skim the roof of David Gregory’s net.
Gateshead continued to pressure Bromley, and Paddy McLaughlin saw the ball drop nicely into his path just outside the box, allowing him to volley at goal, just about hitting his effort over the bar.
After some good runs from Hanlan down the right, Bromley would fashion their next chance of note from a Sutherland corner. The outswinger was met by the foot of Frankie Raymond, but his volley into the ground was cleared from the six yard box by Jamal Fyfield.
Gateshead had time for two more half chances before half time, with Jack Holland bravely blocking a stinging drive from Scott Barrow with his head. Not long after, Danny Johnson struck a powerful volley, which took a big deflection and fell kindly for Gregory.
In the second half, the Ravens went close twice in the opening five minutes. Firstly, great play between Dennis and Sutherland played Jordan Higgs in down the right wing, and his pinpoint cross was inches away from being met by Dennis for a certain goal.
Two minutes after that, down the other flank, more good play, this time between Raymond, Dennis and Mekki, saw the latter play a delightful cross towards the six yard box, where the onrushing Hanlan, under pressure from two challenges, slotted just wide.
Straight away, at the other end, Wes York tucked a deep cross back across the face of goal for the waiting Johnson, only for the latter to take a heavy touch and inadvertently put it out for a goal kick.
Following this early drama, there would be almost a twenty minute period of the sides cancelling each other out, before the second goal of the game arrived in style on 69 minutes.
Barrow, who had been a potent attacking force all game, picked up a clearance from Dennis around 30 yards out from goal in a central position, took a touch and lashed an absolute thunderbolt of a volley past the diving Gregory to ensure a nervy final twenty minutes.
Bromley nearly responded three minutes later, but after Hanlan directed a low Tyrone Sterling cross towards the back post, the lurking Higgs, who poked the ball at goal, was denied by a brave block from Montgomery. Moments later, substitute Josh Rees cut out a loose pass in midfield and threaded a pass through to Hanlan, who placed a curled effort just wide after going one on one with Montgomery.
A golden chance for Bromley to extend their lead came on 82 minutes. George Porter rose highest to flick a header into the path of Dennis, who surged at goal, beat two defenders and forced an excellent one handed save from Montgomery with a low drive.
Rees could have practically sealed the result late on, but after receiving a low ball from Higgs in the box, he took a touch and saw his curling effort quite stunningly denied by Montgomery, who was keeping his side in the tie. A trio of chances would be complete shortly after, as more nice interplay between Dennis and Rees saw the former shoot straight at Montgomery from just outside the box.
However, despite some nervy moments, and four minutes of injury time, the Ravens held on for a truly historic result, and will play out the final of the Buildbase FA Trophy at Wembley on 20th May, against Brackley Town.
Ticket information will be announced by the club on Monday.
Bromley XI: Gregory, Holland (C), Raymond (D.Johnson), Hanlan (Porter), Dennis, Mekki (Rees), Higgs, Sterling, R.Johnson, Sutherland, Woolfenden.
Unused substitutes: Chorley, Wanadio.
Attendance: 2264 (242 Bromley supporters)