5 December 2023
The Lilywhites were on the road again to The Hive on Tuesday night, in the hope of getting back to winning ways following two consecutive defeats. A win for the Bees would mean that they would tighten their grip on the play-off places and move to within two points of the visitors. Whereas, for the Ravens three points would mean they could apply pressure on table topping Halifax Town.
The first meaningful chance of the game came from Michael Cheek’s persistence, as he broke away down the right hand side, pulling it back to Billy Bingham just outside the area but he could only drag his shot wide of the upright. Barnet’s first opportunity of the game came from dispossessing Bromley in the centre of the park, Mauro Vilhete drove at the Bromley defence but Chris Bush did well to block the effort with nothing coming from the resulting corner as it was headed high over the bar.
The home side where rewarded for there energetic start to the game as they took the lead through Josh Walker ten minutes into the game. Following the initial cross that hadn’t been fully cleared, there was a neat setback from the right flank to the edge of the Bromley penalty area where Walker coolly stroked the ball home past a helpless Ryan Huddart.
Bromley looked to show a reaction to going a goal behind which nearly happened just minutes after, as Cheek connected sweetly with a deep Luke Coulson corner but he could only strike his volley against the side netting of The Bees goal. Soon after, there was a scare for The Ravens as a menacing ball came in from the Barnet left hand side and sparked some confusion between Bush and Ryan Huddart which very nearly proved costly as Vilhete got in between them but could only guide his header over the bar.
Barnet were beginning to look as though they were dictating the pace of the game and the visitors were struggling to make any inroads into the home side’s back line, who were looking comfortable.
A quarter of an hour after falling behind the visitors got the equaliser they were looking for. After Frankie Raymond took a central free kick around 40 yards out, which was delivered towards Jack Holland at the back post who nodded the ball back across goal into a dangerous area where Bush rose highest and directed his header into the ground and it subsequently nestled in the bottom right hand corner of Scott Loach’s net.
Following there equaliser Bromley were looking to mount even more pressure onto the home side, but after the ball had been worked wide by Barnet following a well constructed breakaway a looping ball was sent into the box, with Alfie Pavey meeting it in the air and sending a header towards what looked like the top corner, Huddart made a superb save to tip the ball over the bar and keep the game level at 1-1.
The end to the first half saw both sides come close to taking the lead before the break, Bromley came within inches as Joe Kizzi, Coulson and Reeco Hackett-Fairchild combined well resulting in Hackett-Fairchild shifting the ball onto his left foot and swinging a ball towards the back post, which avoided everyone and shaved the post, leaving Scott Loach stranded. With half time on the horizon their was still time for a remarkable left handed save from Huddart to deny a deflection from close range.
Neil Smith made one change at the break with Alfie Doughty being replaced by fellow loanee Michael Klass. Bromley got off to a quick start in the second half, with Cheek getting onto the end of the loose ball and striking at goal forcing Loach to produce a smart save down to his right. A good spell of Ravens pressure followed as Klass who made a good start to the game delivered two well directed crosses into the Barnet box.
The visitors began the second period the better of the two sides which was justified in the 57thminute when Joe Kizzi rose highest and glanced a header into the bottom corner of the Barnet net, having latched onto a pinpoint inswinging free kick provided by Raymond from the wide right position, which meant Bromley took the lead with just over a third of the game remaining.
With little over a quarter of the game remaining Bromley were under some serious sustained pressure from the home side lasting for just over a minute with no rest bite but the resolute backline were able to clear in the shape of Sam Wood. This resolute defending was once again epitomised by Cheek throwing his body at a deep cross that seemed destined for the spare man at the back post.
Although the home side were having much of the possession in pursuit of an equalising goal, they were being restricted to no meaningful chances of note.
With five minutes left to play of regular play Adrian Clifton was introduced in the place of Michael Cheek who had put in an outstanding shift upfront. The fourth indicated three additional minutes, which The Ravens saw out. The three points saw them move into second and only behind leaders Halifax Town due to their superior goal difference.
Bromley XI: Huddart, Kizzi, Holland (C), Bush, Wood, Bingham, Raymond, Hackett-Fairchild, Coulson, Doughty (Klass), Cheek (Clifton)
Unused subs: Mekki, Dunne, Rees.
Attendance: 1083 (171 away supporters)
Report by Lewis Knox