8 December 2023
Andy Woodman’s Bromley hosted Crystal Palace for one last pre-season encounter, with both sides fielding a plethora of young players. The Ravens entered the fixture off the back of a narrow 2-1 loss to well-oiled League Two side Crawley Town, their only loss in an otherwise unbeaten pre-season.
Crystal Palace kickstarted the game, but it was the boys in black and white who had an early scare, after a clumsy error from Trialist B culminated in pacy attacker Adler Nascimento latching onto the misplaced back pass; Teddy Sharman-Lowe was quick off his line to smother.
Minutes later, Nascimento proved to be hot on his heels once more, as a lofting through ball soared towards him in the penalty area; the daintiness of the pass juxtaposed the rash finish, as the number 11 blazed over the crossbar.
Bromley’s first chance of the game came in the form of a Marcus Sablier free kick, but the curling ball failed to be converted by anyone in the box. At the other end, Crystal Palace danger man Danny Imray teased his way through the Bromley backline, before cutting inside and unleashing a rocket that narrowly cleared the crossbar.
The Eagles’ number three was not dangerous for much longer, however, after a heated confrontation 28 minutes in with Sam Woods saw both the wing back and the Bromley captain sent to the dressing rooms early.
Play resumed with both sides now having ten men, and the Ravens very nearly took the lead through George Alexander – the frontman jinked past his marker, but his effort was met by the gloves of Joe Whitworth.
The referee certainly had no qualms about dishing out the bookings, and he issued yet another one 42 minutes in, this time to Palace’s Nascimento. The winger re-offended minutes later, and saw himself on the wrong end of a stern caution.
It was the boys in blue and red who finally broke the deadlock against the run of play, on the stroke of half time – deft interplay between the Palace players allowed Caleb Kporha to be slipped inside the Bromley backline. The number two seized the opportunity with both hands, chopping inside and firing past a defenceless Sharman-Lowe.
Ben Krauhaus got the second half underway, and it wasn’t long before another chance arose for the hosts – an Alexander cross found itself recycled to Trialist C on the edge of the area; the number eight could not quite direct his effort goalbound.
Palace doubled their lead 54 minutes in, after a picturesque diagonal ball from Joe Sheridan picked out Jadan Raymond, who unleashed a torrent of stepovers, before finding Jack Wells-Morrison – the midfielder struck forcefully towards goal, his shot shuddering against the post before hitting the back of the net.
Trialist B nearly etched his name into the game, with the number five skillfully navigating his way around any obstacles; his eventual shot was comfortably stopped in its tracks by the Palace number one.
Following a series of substitutions, the visitors continued to probe – Nascimento nearly added a second to his tally, but a lunging tackle from Bromley number 19 Charlie Bower quelled any danger.
One of the Ravens’ many substitutions was involved minutes later – Noah Joyce’s free kick led to a clumsy challenge in the penalty area, granting Soul Kader the chance to fire home from 12 yards; the number 11’s attempt was thwarted by Whitworth, sprinkling the icing onto an overall impressive display from the Palace shotstopper.
Just as he had played a part in winning one for Bromley, Joyce conceded a penalty at the other end, 80 minutes in. Up stepped Wells-Morrison, hoping to notch his second of the night; the midfielder oozed composure as he stepped up to take, and he calmy rolled into the bottom left-hand corner, sending Kaper Orlowski the wrong way.
Nascimento proved a problem down the right hand side once more, flashing a ball across the face of goal, narrowly evading a lurking Victor Akinwale. A promising free kick from Palace substitute Chima Eze came close to rubbing salt in the wounds of the hosts; his effort would have sailed in, if it had not been met by the much-needed outstretched glove of Orlowski.
The referee’s whistle marked a 3-0 win for the Eagles, a disappointing scoreline for the Ravens, but one that many would argue flattered the visitors. Next up, the Ravens face Halifax Town away on Saturday, for a return to National League football.
Written by Daniel Catlin