The Ravens were back in league action after their resilient display away to Bristol Rovers in the cup. The visitors, Harrogate Town sitting just inside the play off spots, had recently gone on a 10-game unbeaten run but in the last two in all competitions had suffered defeat. The hosts were looking to extend their lead at the top of the table.
The first chance of the game fell to the away side. Romani Edmonds-Green lost possession and the ball fell kindly to Jack Diamond but his effort sailed over the crossbar.
The visitors started the better of the two sides. Town full back Ryan Fallowfield was given space to swing in a cross from the right-hand side but Mark Beck couldn’t direct his header goal-wards.
13 minutes gone and Town had the lead. A Frankie Raymond corner was punched clear by James Belshaw. The ball broke loose to Josh Rees who found himself running towards his own goal with Ryan Huddart being the only option, but Rees’s pass was left short for the Bromley keeper and Jack Emmett rounded him with ease to put the away side one up.
Another chance for Harrogate. A direct long ball was flicked on to Beck but his left footed strike missed the far post. A very bright start from the visitors. Bromley had struggled to get into the game.
Finally, the ravens threatened and it was a long throw by Chris bush which was flicked on by Michael Cheek. A town defender got his foot to the ball but scooped it over his own crossbar. It could have gone anywhere.
Not long after and Hackett-Fairchild was in down the left but his wayward shot was never going to trouble Belshaw. The winger had much more time than he thought but it was a much better spell from Bromley as the home side gained a foothold.
The away side almost grabbed a second just short of the interval. A nice back heel from ex-Bromley player Brendan Kiernan sent Fallowfield to the by line. His low cross was well defended by the ravens skipper Jack Holland. The second ball fell to Beck but he was penalised for a foul on Chris Bush.
A couple of minutes later it was to be the ex-Bromley player who was to put Harrogate two up. A Bromley free kick was cleared and Jack Muldoon was able to drive at the heart of the Bromley defence. Brilliant movement from the winger and Muldoon was able to find him. One on one with the keeper Kiernan slotted the ball in to the far corner. Huddart couldn’t get down quick enough and the league leaders had a mountain to climb.
5 minutes before half time and Town were three goals to the good. Diamond was sent in behind the Bromley defence and he was brought down by Huddart. The keeper deciding to come way out of his goal with the forward heading towards the corner. Referee Thomas Parsons pointed straight to the spot. Muldoon stepped up to slot home the visitors third of the afternoon.
On the stroke of half time the Ravens got themselves on the scoresheet. A Bush free kick was well saved by Belshaw, Holland was then denied from close range by the keeper but Hackett-Fairchild got to the loose ball and finished from close range.
Bromley almost had a second. Persistent play from Joe Kizzi and Adam Mekki down the right hand side and a cross was floated over the defenders heads. The ball fell to Hackett-Fairchild but his shot was well blocked. The ball was then diverted to Bromley left back Sam Wood who struck a left footed half volley onto the crossbar. Half time and the visitors had a two goal advantage at Hayes Lane.
Only a couple of minutes gone in the second half and Bromley pulled another goal back. A Frankie Raymond free kick was floated towards the back post and Holland kept it alive, sending the ball across the box. Edmonds-Green dinked the ball back across the area once more but the Harrogate players through their bodies on the line. The ball broke to Bush who slammed home from just inside the area. Two in two for the centre half. The perfect start to the half for the Ravens.
Bush almost had his second goal of the game and Bromley level. Once again Belshaw was troubled by a Bush free kick as he flung towards his left-hand post. Cheek was unable to follow up from the rebound.
Bromley were almost level as Luke Coulson swung in a cross which Holland got his head too. Belshaw got down low at his near post to parry away. The following corner led to another scramble in the box but Town were able to clear. Bromley really piling on the pressure in search of that equaliser.
The away side had their first shot of the second half as Kiernan went in search of his second of the game. The ball fell kindly for him but his half volley went just wide of Huddart’s goal. Bromley went down the other end and threatened once more from a set piece, a Coulson corner was heading towards the far post but Belshaw was able to get the ball away before the on-rushing Bromley players could react.
Bromley were all square and the comeback was complete in the 73rd minute. Bush with the original free kick was only able to hit the wall. The ball broke loose to Raymond who crossed the ball back in, Bush made his way into the box and headed in off the far post. Two goals for the centre half and the Ravens were now in charge of matters here.
The hosts were almost in front. A perfect corner, Bromley’s eighth of the game, headed towards the back post where Kizzi couldn’t get his header on target from six yards out. The visitor’s were then almost in front. Kiernan got on the end of a loose ball but his left footed strike was well saved by Huddart with his feet.
Into added time and the Ravens almost had the goal they’d been pushing for. A Bush long throw was flicked on by Holland and Cheek found himself in space but he couldn’t turn and volley home. Belshaw was able to get a finger to the ball once more. A draw that Bromley will take considering the score after forty minutes. They may be disappointed they didn’t get the decisive fourth goal which their pressure and persistence deserved. A good away performance from play off chasing Harrogate but the two sides couldn’t be sepearted this afternoon.
Bromley XI: Huddart, Kizzi, Wood, Holland (C), Raymond, Cheek, Mekki (Coulson), Hackett-Fairchild, Rees, Edmonds-Green
Unused subs: Naija, Klass, Bingham, Tanner
Attendance: 2177 (81 away supporters)
Report by Dan Bentley