The Ravens entertained fellow National League side Aldershot Town on Saturday afternoon, with a prize of the FA Cup First Round proper at stake. The home side sit joint top in the league with their visitors in the lower half of the table, sitting just outside the relegation zone in 19th. The Ravens beat the Shots away from home 1-0 when the sides met back in August at the start of the season.
The deadlock was broken in the 7thminute as a free kick centre of the goal, around 30 yards out was swung towards the back post by Frankie Raymond. An unmarked Joe Kizzi was able to guide his header back across goal and beyond Shots keeper Mitch Walker.
Minutes later and the visitors thought they had snatched an equaliser, only for the flag to be raised. Like the home side’s goal, a ball was crossed in dangerously, but Mohamed Bettamer had his header chalked off.
A chance for Bromley to double their lead came soon after. Sam Wood broke down the left and managed to find a now fully fit Adam Mekki, but he wasn’t able to keep his header on target.
12minutes in and this time Bromley did double their lead. Again, it was all down to a Raymond free kick, this time out on the left. The ball was floated towards the back post and Ravens long serving skipper Jack Holland rose above the rest to head across goal. An easy finish for in form striker Michael Cheek awaited, and he couldn’t miss.
A free kick broke for Luke Coulson out on the right and a through ball for Kizzi saw him break into the box, his cross-cum-shot was palmed away by Walker in the visitor’s goal. No one in a white shirt was able to follow up.
For the third time in the game a goal was scored via a free kick. An outswinging ball towards the edge of the area wasn’t cleared by the home side, the ball dropped to Bettamer who swivelled to allow himself the shot, which deflected heavily off a Bromley body and beat Ryan Huddart. 22 minutes in and 3 goals had already been scored at Hayes Lane.
Bromley almost restored their two-goal lead a few minutes later. A good ball to the back post allowed Cheek a header, but it was saved by Walker low down at his near post.
Chris Bush cleared the ball straight to shots striker Shamir Mullings who gave himself the extra yard to get the shot away but his left footed strike was wide of Huddart’s far post.
10 minutes before the break and Bromley did restore their two-goal lead. Another goal in the Bromley defence this time for Holland who got his second of the season against this opposition. A Coulson free kick wasn’t cleared properly by Town’s keeper Walker and Coulson dinked the ball back into the danger area where Holland rose above 3 defenders to nod home Bromley’s third of the game. The goal being given by the linesman after Walker wasn’t able to keep it past the line.
Shortly before the break good build up play saw Lewis Kinsella break down the left for the visitors. Again, Bush is the man who was unable to clear his lines but luckily for the hosts Mullings couldn’t sort his feet out and Bromley eventually won a free kick to ease the pressure.
A brilliant switch of play from Kodi Lyons-Foster saw Bettamer in acres of space on the edge of the box, good control allowed him to lay the ball back to Alefe Santos but the attacking midfielder couldn’t keep his shot down.
Almost an hour gone and Cheek thought he had grabbed his second of the game but this time the Ravens have a goal disallowed for offside. Raymond’s free kick was put into a dangerous area and Cheek, again, unmarked slotted the ball home.
A crazy few moments began with Shots centre half Max Hunt slipping and Mekki having maybe too much time to pick his spot as he went through on goal, however, he dragged his effort wide of the left-hand post. Aldershot went straight down the other end and pulled a goal back once again. Mullings’ low drive caught Huddart off guard and unsighted, the ball fizzed into the far bottom corner. Bromley looking like going 4-1 up but instead have their deficit cut back to one.
For the third time in the game the hosts regained a two-goal advantage. Santos was dispossessed of possession and Bromley worked the ball out to the left, Alfie Doughty easily got past his man and drove a low cross towards the 6 yards box. The away side couldn’t clear and the ball fell to Cheek who found the back of the net from close range for his 10thof the season.
The ball dropped nicely following a free kick to the away side for Kinsella on the halfway line, his 35-yard strike was just wide of the post.
With ten minutes left of normal time Aldershot were able to get themselves back in to the game for a third time. A cross came in towards the back post and right back Robbie Tinkler ound space and headed in from 12 yards. An interesting final ten minutes plus stoppage time was in store.
An entertaining game sees the home side progress to the first round of the FA Cup. The score line not telling full story in a game where the home side dominated the ball and won their individual battles when needed. A valiant effort from the visitors to keep themselves in the game but the Ravens go through here at the Westminster Waste Stadium.
Bromley XI: Huddart, Kizzi, Wood, Holland (C), Coulson, Raymond (Clifton), Cheek, Mekki (Higgs), Bush, Rees, Doughty
Unused subs: Okoye, Dunne, Tanner, Henry, Najia (GK)
Attendance: 1408 (229 away supporters)
Report by Dan Bentley