8 December 2023
The Ravens clinched a play-off spot at the weekend after beating Chesterfield 2-0 at Hayes Lane.
Bromley welcomed third placed Chesterfield this Saturday for an enthralling encounter between two sides gunning for promotion, as Andy Woodman’s side blazed in seventh place, and unbeaten in seven games, with the Spireites unbeaten in their last six away from home and having scored 9 goals in their last three games.
Billy Bingham kick-started the game, with both sides racing out of the blocks, but proceedings were halted after four minutes after a heavy challenge on Ravens warrior Ryan Stirk saw the number 15 require treatment; play resumed after the midfielder was deemed fit to continue.
A deflected Darren Oldaker shot granted the Spireites an early corner, but before it could be taken, Stirk’s unfortunate knock forced the first change of the game, with Jude Arthurs coming on in his place. A passage of domination followed for Chesterfield, and an 11th minute corner nearly saw the Blues take the lead through Ashley Palmer; his effort narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Both sides continued to probe, and the best chance of the game fell in the 25th minute, after Michael Cheek latched onto a through ball, but his square pass to Louis Dennis was expertly cut out.
The home support grew even more vociferous as chances flooded Ross Fitzsimons’ goal, and after a clumsy Laurence Maguire challenge that saw the number six receive the first booking of the game, Bingham’s free kick found itself matched only by the grateful gloves of the Chesterfield ‘keeper.
End to end action ensued, and it was apparent that Bromley had turned the tables on the visitors, with Fitzsimons being kept busy by the men in black and white.
Bromley marked their spell of dominance 35 minutes in – virtuoso Bingham unleashed a goal bound rocket through a raft of bodies, the hurtling strike having too much venom for Fitzsimons to deal with and forcefully smacking into the back of the net off the post.
Neither side relented, and chance after chance flowed for both sides, but it was Bromley once again with the pick of the bunch; a miraculous Corey Whitely run culminated in a clumsy challenge from Oliver Banks, allowing Cheek the chance to double the Ravens lead from the spot; his effort beat Fitzsimons, but thudded off the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
The second half continued in the vein of attack, with a penalty appeal dismissed thirty seconds in for the visitors; as if that wasn’t enough, the Spireites had another waved away by the referee after a dramatic snippet of acting from Paul McCallum.
An opportunity to extend their lead surfaced for the Ravens 47 minutes in, but any hopes were drowned after a Jude Arthurs pass failed to find the feet of any in black and white. Bingham came close to etching his name into the scoresheet again after 56 minutes, but his strike was straight down the throat of Fitzsimons.
Bromley’s second goal fell at the hour mark, as a sublime Louis Dennis cross fired across the six-yard box found itself turned by a disheartened Palmer into his own net, spearheading Bromley’s path to a playoff place.
The visitors failed to give in, however, and danger man Andrew Dallas came close to notching his 18th of the season, but Bromley brick wall Omar Sowunmi quelled any threat with a resounding block, preventing a certain goal.
The Ravens came close to applying the icing on the cake in the 75th minute, after a crucial deflection changed the trajectory of Louis Dennis’ effort, sending the ball out for a corner, subsequently punched away by Fitzsimons.
A Chesterfield free-kick floated in by Palmer 80 minutes in pondered a way back into the game for the Blues, but the safe hands of Reice Charle-Cook cut through any danger. The Bromley backline stood firm for the remaining minutes, adding another clean sheet to the tally.
Away from Hayes Lane, Eastleigh’s 0-0 draw to Solihull Moors culminated in the Spitfires being nudged away from the play-offs and meaning that Andy Woodman’s Bromley side earned a top seven place, after a season of well-earned points, with this spectacular 2-0 win bringing the Ravens to 70 points with one game remaining.
Written by Daniel Catlin