Bristol Rovers 1-1 Bromley
Bristol Rovers 1-1 Bromley

Despite playing with ten men for the final 20 minutes Bromley secured a replay with Bristol Rovers in a dramatic FA Cup First Round match at the Memorial Stadium on Sunday lunchtime thanks to a late Chris Bush equaliser.

The game got off to an open start with both teams looking to get the ball forward early and play from there. The Ravens best chance coming  when Joe Kizzi crossed for Adam Mekki who headed over at the far post.

As the half went on Bromley sat deeper, but kept Rovers at bay and still posed a real threat from set plays, with Frankie Raymond’s free kicks and Chris Bush’s long throws causing The Gas problems. Late in the half Bromley lost Luke Coulson to injury and Rovers had another good spell, but still Bromley held out.

The second half saw Bromley start well, Josh Rees played in Mekki who fired over and Joe Kizzi had a header saved from a Raymond free kick. On the hour Neil Smith made his final two subs with Rarmani Edmonds-Green injured and Mekki exhausted, but then suffered a blow when Adrian Clifton had to go off with a knee injury only minutes later despite his best efforts to carry on.

Michael Cheek and Jack Holland went close, but the Home side then had a strong spell and they went in front on 78 minutes when Liam Sercombe’s low drive was parried by Ryan Huddart and Luke Leahy was on hand to crash the rebound home for 1-0.

Rovers lead would not last that long though, as Bromley rallied and inevitably it was a set piece that The Ravens would equalise from. A deep corner from the right caused chaos in the six yard box and Bush hooked the ball across goal at the far post over Keeper Anssi Jaakkola and into the net with Cheek following up to make sure, to the absolute delirium of the 500+ travelling support behind that goal.

With the next attack Bromley almost went in front when Raymond’s cross was headed across goal and just wide by Kizzi.

From there though it was all Bristol Rovers. The Pirates piled on the pressure during seven minutes of injury time, but the defence and Huddart stood up to the intensity and held out for a well deserved replay at Hayes Lane.

This was the best showing and result Bromley have managed in the FA Cup First Round in many years and they are in the hat for the draw on Monday night. 

Rovers: Anssi Jaakkola, Mark Little, Tony Craig (C), Alfie Kilgour, Michael Kelly, Abu Ogogo, Ed Upson,  Alex Rodman ( Luke Leahy, 77), Liam Sercombe, Tyler Smith (Jonson Clarke-Harris, 56), Victor Adeboyejo (Tom Nichols, 56).

Subs not used: Jordi Van Stappershoef, Rollin Menayese, Kyle Bennett, Ollie Clarke.

Bromley: Ryan Huddart, Joe Kizzi, Jack Holland (C), Luke Coulson (Josh Rees, 44), Frankie Raymond, Michael Cheek, Billy Bingham, Adam Mekki (Adrian Cliffton, 61), Chris Bush, Recco Hackett-Fairchild, Rarmani Edmonds-Green (Sam Wood, 60).

Subs: Tarek Najia, Alan Dunne, Ollie Tanner, Michael Klass.

Goals: Rovers: Leahy 78mins.  Bromley: Bush 83mins.

Ref: Daniel Middleton.

HT 0-0 FT 1-1.

Att: 3,469. 521 away.