8 December 2023
The high flying Ravens welcomed Stockport County to Hayes Lane, with the away side looking to stretch their winning run to four following back to back victories. Whilst Bromley were looking to build on a five star performance against Halifax Town and remain at the summit of the table.
In the opening few minutes the home side had a spell of pressure as Luke Coulson and Sam Wood delivered dangerous balls into the box but are well dealt with by the Stockport back line. Bromley were having the majority of possession in the early stages of play.
Reeco Hackett-Fairchild did well to carry the ball down the left flank from the half way line and crossed a teasing ball into the heart of the Stockport penalty area ,but they were clear through an acrobatic defensive effort.
Tom Walker from the left hand side delivered a ball into the Bromley six yard box and Jack Holland did well to head clear, with Chris Bush making sure the ball posed no further danger to the Ravens net.
In the first fifteen minutes neither side managed to manufacture any clear chances.
The first clear chance of the game was when Hackett-Fairchild drove through the centre of the park and played the ball out to Coulson on the right flank who cut inside onto his left foot but could only guide his shot into the grateful arms of Ben Hinchliffe.
Bromley broke the deadlock in the nineteenth minute when Coulson dispossessed a Stockport player inside his own half and drove towards the box and unleashed a menacing shot low to the keeper’s right and he couldn’t do anything other than parry Coulson’s effort directly into the path of Hackett-Fairchild who tucked the rebound into the bottom right hand corner.
When the ball wasn’t cleared by the Stockport defenders Mekki pounced onto the loose ball striking at goal but the keeper did well to get his body behind the ball and keep it at 1-0.
In the twenty third minute and against the run of play Elliot Osborne broke free from the Bromley shackles and fired a shot at goal from an incredibly tight angle past Ryan Huddart, who was unable to stop the strike from squirming past him at the near post, Osborne netted for the fourth time this season and was his first goal since August.
In the thirty fourth minute following the visitors getting more of a foothold in the game two crosses came into the box from both Walker and the Stockport right back Bromley failed to clear their lines and following Sam Wood failing to deal with the second ball into the box, Walker snuck in at the back post unmarked and stabbed home past a helpless Huddart.
Almost immediately after in thirty seventh minute the Ravens responded when Michael Cheek capitalised on some poor defending and looked to square the ball to Hackett-Fairchild but the ball was diverted into his own net by a Stockport defender to ensure Bromley drew level and they looked to kick on and get a third with some sustained pressure after the goal but it comes to nothing.
Chris Bush stepped out of defence and passed a ball into Adam Mekki who had his shot deflected over the bar, from the resulting corner the referee waves away claims for a potential handball.
In the dying moments of the first half Cheek and the Ravens had a goal ruled out by the assistant’s flag after some neat work from Mekki put Cheek one on one with the goal keeper and poked his effort home but is denied by the offside flag.
Bromley began the second half the brighter of the two sides as an excellent ball in from Sam Wood found the head of Cheek who’s effort deflected against the head of the defender dropping at Cheek’s feet who could only guide his effort against the right hand upright.
Josh Rees showed some outstanding close control to flick the ball over two defenders in the six yard box and managed to get a good shot off at goal but the keeper stood tall to deny Rees a second goal in as many games.
The Whites continued to build on their positive start to the second half as Cheek had an effort saved and Mekki shot narrowly wide, both chances coming in quick succession with the home side really beginning to mount some pressure on the Hatters.
The Ravens very nearly wrestled back the advantage as Hackett-Fairchild saw his free kick hit the bar from around twenty yards out as he beat the wall and the goalkeeper was left stranded.
Stockport came within inches away from taking the lead as Bromley failed to get the ball clear the Stockport forward latched onto the lose ball delayed the effort and once he finally got his shot away Bush was on hand to provide a spectacular last ditch block to deflect the shot onto the crossbar.
Midway through the second half the game became scrappy with neither side able to create anything meaningful, with the next ten minutes in the half becoming crucial if either side wanted to walk away with all three points.
The Ravens once again from a central free kick this time courtesy of Bush managed to hit the crossbar. Five minutes later from a pin point delivery from Frankie Raymond corner it landed in the head of Hackett-Fairchild who from six yards out could only send his header over the bar.
As the game went into four minutes of stoppage time Raymond angled a ball into Rarmani Edmonds-Green but with only the keeper to beat he could only put his header over the bar.
The game was the tale of two halves with the home side being poor in defence in the first period with individual errors leading to goals leaving them with a tougher task to grab all three points, but in the second half a much more resolute display coupled with direct and dynamic attacking play left the Ravens pondering as to how they didn’t leave with the win after hitting the woodwork three times. Bromley remain at the top of the table one point clear but with Yeovil within striking distance and a game in hand.
Bromley XI: Huddart, Kizzi, Wood, Holland (C), Coulson, Cheek, Mekki (Edmonds-Green), Bush, Klass (Clifton), Hackett-Fairchild, Rees (Raymond)
Attendance: 2205 (197 away)
Report by Lewis Knox