9 December 2023
Bromley made another trip North on Saturday afternoon, facing fellow playoff chasers FC Halifax Town in glorious sunshine at the Shay Stadium.
The opening ten minutes were a cagey affair, with Martin Woods’ tame effort the closest either side would come, but his strike was easily saved by Mark Cousins.
However, on 13 minutes, came the first goal. Bromley top scorer Michael Cheek picked up possession on the edge of the box before darting into it, weaving in and out of challenges before going down under one, prompting referee Scott Simpson to point to the spot.
Cheek dusted himself down and stepped up to take the penalty. In typical fashion, he dispatched his effort with power, going straight down the middle and beating the dive of Sam Johnson.
Jude Arthurs, who earned another starting spot in Andy Woodman’s XI, sensed an opportunity as he won possession in the middle of the park and broke forwards, before unleashing a low effort, which was deflected wide.
Cousins was called into action on 25 minutes, as Jeff King cut inside from the right and unleashed a well struck curling shot, but the Bromley stopper was equal to it and made a smart save.
Arthurs would go close again after Halifax failed to deal with Bromley’s high press, which saw Johnson present the ball straight to Arthurs, who cut into the box and shot, only to see it blocked.
King would again be the creative force for the hosts five minutes before the break, as he twisted and turned in the penalty area before shooting low. Luckily for Bromley, Chris Bush was in the middle of the six yard box and on hand to make a vital block.
The hosts started the second half on the front foot as they searched for a route back into the game. Early on, Danny Williams had a shot blocked, before Billy Chadwick forced Cousins into a save with the rebound.
After 58 minutes, some magic from Jack Bridge almost presented Luke Coulson with a chance to make it two, but the formers ball into the box evaded everyone, including the red shirts flooding into it. It was frustrating for Bromley, who had played some excellent football throughout.
Just after the hour mark, Halifax began to settle into the game more and were putting Bromley under some consistent pressure. A quickly taken free kick almost caught the Ravens out, but after an initial shot was blocked by a crowd of bodies, Bush was again there to make a vital interception from the rebound.
With 15 minutes remaining on the clock, Neill Byrne could and perhaps should have levelled things up. Following a succession of corners, the defender smashed a loose ball into the side netting from close range.
Jake Hyde was another who should have done better when presented with the opportunity to equalise, as he received the ball in the box and held off a challenge, before dragging his shot wide from right in front of goal.
Not long after, Bromley substitute James Alabi went close to scoring another spectacular goal, but saw his thumping effort fumbled by Johnson, who did just enough to prevent the goal.
However, Alabi would get his goal as five minutes of additional time were signalled. Fantastic work from Ben Williamson saw him find debutant Tate Campbell in space, and the on-loan Birmingham City man took the ball to the byeline, before pulling it back across for Alabi, who took a touch and fired beyond Johnson.
Things would be made a little nervy for Bromley, as three minutes into injury time, Byrne was presented with a similar opportunity to the one he had earlier and made no mistake this time, lifting the ball into the roof of the net.
The hosts threw everything they had at Bromley in the remaining moments of additional time, but the Ravens did enough to hold on for another valuable three points, in a reversal of the scoreline when the sides met at Hayes Lane earlier on in the season.
Bromley XI: Cousins, Kizzi, Fox, Bingham, Bush (C), Coulson, Cheek (Alabi), Williamson, Arthurs (Campbell), Bridge (Trotter), Mitchell
Unused substitutes: Raymond, Vincent