Neil Smith’s men came into the match after a hugely convincing win at the H2T Group Stadium on Tuesday night. And after booking their place in the Buildbase FA Trophy Quarter Finals the Ravens had to face Jay Saunders’ Maidstone United side on a cold and rainy afternoon in South East London.
The away side got the match underway and within seconds had the first corner of the game. The set-piece forced David Gregory into the air, punching the ball clear and that set the tempo for much of the opening encounters. As, within five minutes, Bromley had their opening goal of the match. Josh Rees was quickest to pounce on a misjudgement in the Maidstone United defence between Jai Reason and Lee Worgan, the latter of whom was left to watch the ball trickle into the back of the net as Rees added to his impressive tally so far this season with a neat shot on the turn.
The home side had the next attempt on target, this time through Louis Dennis. A neat interchange between Dennis and Luke Wanadio gave the former space to curl an effort on goal but Worgan, in the Maidstone goal, was equal to the attempt.
Maidstone weren’t without chances of their own in the first half. New loan signing, Ross Lafayette, had a golden opportunity to level the game up just after the 18-minute mark. Bromley had failed to clear a Stones throw-in and Lafayette was gifted a one-on-one with David Gregory. But, the on-loan Sutton United striker could only lift his effort high over the crossbar from 6-yards out, before breathing a sigh of relief, as the linesman’s flag was raised, saving his blushes.
Maidstone did find their way back into the tie not long after the half hour mark. Raymond had given away a needless foul on Stuart Lewis just outside the box, which Bromley then cleared for a corner. The ball was played short for Anderson who crossed to the back post, the ball was headed across goal by Andre Coker, which gave Jamar Loza the easiest of tap-ins to level the scores.
But that wasn’t to be the final goal of the first half. Bromley pushed right through until the final whistle, with five minutes of added time to be played, and George Porter found himself through on goal thanks to an excellent through ball from Raymond, and held his nerve to chip over the advancing Worgan and into the back of the net to put Bromley ahead at the interval.
Shortly into the second half Tyrone Sterling saw yellow after a flailing arm caught Coker in the face, the resulting free-kick was cleared well by the Ravens. The home side were quick to change the course of events and began to assert their attacking dominance. First, Hanlan went close from just inside the box but he couldn’t hit the target. Porter then crossed into the box for Rees who headed on target but his effort was comfortable for Worgan to claim.
Bromley would be made to rue those missed chances as Blair Turgott latched onto some poor defending in the Bromley backline. Turgott rounded the diving Gregory before slotting the ball through the legs of the recovering Tyrone Sterling on the goal line.
That then set up an action packed finish with Bromley going close from a corner. A well worked routine opened up space for Holland at the back post who hit an effort forcing a very good save out of Worgan, getting down low to his left. Omar Bugiel also went close to giving the Ravens the lead once again, but lost his footing as he shot from a good position near the centre of the box, meaning his effort went wide. There was still time left for another United debutant, Dean Beckwith, to see yellow for a second time in the half after pulling on Hanlan’s shirt and hacking at his legs in the attacking half, where the on-loan Charlton front man would have been through on goal. And his sending off proved to be the last major action of the game with a point a piece going to each side. The two teams will go head to head once more on Tuesday night this time at the Gallagher Stadium in the Semi Finals of the Kent Senior Cup.
Bromley XI: Gregory, Woolfenden (Bugiel), Holland, Chorley, Sterling, Wanadio (Higgs), Raymond, Rees, Porter, Dennis, Hanlan.
Unused subs: D. Johnson, R. Johnson, Sutherland
Attendance: 2,027 (504 away)