Bromley welcomed newly promoted Havant & Waterlooville to Hayes Lane on Saturday afternoon, with the visitors being a familiar opponent from the Ravens’ Conference South days.
And what an afternoon it would be for the Ravens, with a clinical display resulting in a comfortable and well deserved victory.
The Ravens were on the attacking front from the off, and could have gone ahead just six minutes in. George Porter smartly dummied a long throw and fed the ball to Frankie Raymond, who played a beautiful chipped ball into the box, which was just missed by the outstretched Roger Johnson.
However, just two minutes later, it wouldn’t matter, as they would take the lead. The Ravens were awarded a free kick out wide on the left, and up stepped John Goddard. The on-loan Stevenage man floated in an inch perfect delivery, which was met by the well timed run of Omar Bugiel, who flicked a header beyond Ryan Young.
The visitors were restricted to very few chances in the first half, with Alfie Pavey’s tame shot hardly testing David Gregory. Wes Fogden was a lively force for the Hawks though, and sent a number of dangerous crosses into the box, with nobody positioning themselves well enough in the box to take advantage.
However, one of their chances was created inadvertently by Johnson. After a corner was whipped into the six yard box with purpose, the ball deflected off Johnson’s thigh and towards goal, but Gregory was on hand to claim.
And just four minutes after that, Bromley’s lead would be doubled. An almost carbon copy of the first goal, albeit from the other side, was completed by Bugiel nodding in Raymond’s free kick at the far post, after getting just enough room in front of Young to meet the flight of the ball first.
On 39 minutes, Bromley would come within inches of extending their lead, as another sumptuous delivery from Raymond was deflected onto the post by a Havant foot, before rolling away from goal and out for a corner.
After the interval, it was clear Bromley were not done there, and were still very much on the attacking foot. Two minutes in, Goddard, with magical footwork, surged at goal, weaving in and out, but saw a powerful drive blocked at its source.
However, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe would add a third ten minutes later. Bugiel was tackled as he looked for space on the edge of the box, but managed to recover the ball whilst on the floor, prodding it to Ogedi-Uzokwe, who sent a delightful dipping effort just under the crossbar from just outside of the box.
Bugiel had clearly received a boost after his brace, and outmuscled Jordan Rose out wide to run into the box and lob a ball into the onrushing Porter, but he saw his fierce volley bravely blocked by Paul Robinson at close range.
Just after Nicke Kabamba shot high and wide, Bromley added a fourth. On 73 minutes, a fantastic counter attack would see the Ravens extend their lead even further. After Jordan Higgs and then Jake Goodman had won back possession in the middle of the park, the latter fed a ball through to Bugiel, who slotted into the path of Goddard. Unselfishly, Goddard played a cutting pass through to Ogedi-Uzokwe, who finished off the far post from an angle.
Goodman then came close to making it five, but headed wide from a precise free kick delivery courtesy of Raymond, after Bromley were awarded a free kick on the byeline. Hawks’ substitute Theo Lewis then had a stinging drive parried by Gregory, before he smothered a deflected Kabamba effort, before Goodman turned another of his shots over the crossbar.
As five minutes of stoppage time drew on, some brilliance from Porter could have ended in a fifth. After picking up possession well into his own half, he ran at two defenders, selling dummy to one and beating the other with pace, his run down the right wing culminated in a well weighted cross into the box, which was just in front of Bugiel and Bobby-Joe Taylor.
The Ravens travel to York Road to face Maidenhead United on Saturday, before welcoming Barnet to Hayes Lane next Tuesday.
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Bromley XI: Gregory, R.Johnson (C) (D.Johnson), Raymond, Bugiel, Higgs, Okoye (Adebayo-Rowling), Goodman, Porter, Ogedi-Uzokwe, Goddard (Taylor), Wood.
Unused substitutes: Huxter (GK), Meekums
Attendance: 1,413 (121 away)