2 March 2024
Bromley welcomed National League top scorers Gateshead to Hayes Lane on Saturday, with the Heed fresh from beating York City 6-1 on Tuesday night.
After Bromley had an early penalty shout turned down when Louis Dennis tumbled in the box, it was the visitors who took the lead with their first attack, James Bolton volleying home expertly from the edge of the box. However, just a minute later, Bromley were level. Good link up play between Alfie Pavey and Tobi Sho-Silva allowed the latter to control the ball well on the edge of the box and fire home a low shot past Sam Johnson into the bottom corner.
Just five minutes after that, Bromley were ahead. After the Heed defence failed to clear Joe Anderson’s volley, a scramble in the box ensued, but Sho-Silva was in the right place at the right time, and on hand to poke home the loose ball for a real poacher’s finish.
The returning Louis Dennis was a continual threat for Bromley, and after having a cross headed away, controlled the ball well before turning and shooting wide, before Rob Swaine headed over the bar from Dave Martin’s floated free kick.
Gateshead inadvertently went close just after the half hour mark, as Liam Hogan’s long free kick from just inside the Bromley half was carried towards goal, but sailed just wide of the post.
But it was Bromley who extended their lead on 36 minutes, through Joe Anderson. Blair Turgott’s persistence saw him steal the ball from Hogan, before feeding Martin, whose low cross was set by Sho-Silva into the path of Anderson, and the former Fulham man converted with a low shot from the centre of the box.
Ryan Bowman could have reduced the arrears soon after, but after being presented with an unexpected chance courtesy of a mistake in the Bromley defence, he could only shoot straight into the arms of the diving Alan Julian when through on goal, and Bowman repeated this process five minutes before half time.
Dennis nearly made it 4-1 to Bromley just before half time, but after Gateshead failed to clear the ball, his dipping goalbound volley was well headed over by a defender.
After half time, it was the Heed who came close early on. After Dennis was penalised for a foul not far from the box, substitute Toby Ajala stepped up and put a curling effort narrowly wide. Pat McLaughlin also fired over for the visitors as the wind continued to have a significant bearing on proceedings.
Tempers began to flare, and Gateshead’s Manny Smith was sent off for two bookings in a matter of minutes, having initially been booked for a bizarre handball, before receiving his marching orders for a trip on Connor Dymond. Turgott went close for Bromley, but after good work from substitute Reece Prestedge, he saw his powerful drive hit the side netting. Sho-Silva was then sent off after receiving a second booking, after he was adjudged to have kicked the ball away following an offside decision.
Ajala then had Julian at full stretch, after a long range effort bounced awkwardly in front of the Bromley stopper, but he was able to parry it away, allowing the defence to clear.
Gateshead were awarded a penalty in the 81st minute following a foul by Dymond just inside the box, and Danny Johnson stepped up and converted the spot kick confidently, sending Julian the wrong way. In the dying moments of four additional minutes, Turgott forced a good save from Johnson after beating his man and shooting from an angle.
However, Bromley managed to weather the Gateshead storm in the final moments of the game, and went on to claim a valuable three points.
Bromley XI: Julian, Chorley, Swaine, Holland (C), Martin (Prestedge), Dennis (Johnson), Anderson, Turgott, M.Porter (Dymond), Sho-Silva, Pavey
Subs: Howe, Johnson, Dymond, Prestedge, Goldberg