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Chesterfield 3-2 Bromley (AET)
Chesterfield 3-2 Bromley (AET)

Bromley’s hopes of a first ever promotion to the Football League ended for the season with a dramatic extra time defeat away to Chesterfield in the National League Play Off semi final on Sunday afternoon in a game that saw a late kick off, two delays, a red card and a 98th minute equaliser. 

Andy Woodman’s team went into the game without talisman Louis Dennis, who joined Charlie Kendall and Jame Vennings on the injured list, but Adam Marriott came into the starting line up, while Goerge Alexander returned to the bench from his loan spell at Slough Town. 

Lining up in the usual 5-3-2 formation The Ravens made a good start pressing the home side with set pieces and Omar Sowunmi’s long throws.

As the half progressed the home side started to come into things and they had the first real efforts on goal when Oldaker and King both shot wide from the edge of the area.

Manderville then had a long shot saved by Reice Charles-Cook, before play was broken up for treatment of injuries to Sowunmi & Corey Whitely and also a member of the crowd who was taken ill.

As the game got going again Bromley were denied a clear penalty when Fitzsimmons brought Besart Topalloj down in the area after he had touched the ball past the Chesterfield keeper, but Referee Scott Simpson waved the appeals away.

The Spireites pressed again from there, especially causing problems breaking down their left, but they were also troubled when a Jude Arthurs free kick was headed narrowly wide by Marriott at the front post across goal.

With the game opening up, Colclough had a shot saved by Charles-Cook at one end before King was booked for a foul on Deji Elerewe and only minutes later he was very lucky not to receive a second yellow for a clear dive in the box falling to the ground a yard away from Callum Reynolds.

Deep into ten minutes of injury time Bromley found a way through though, Reynolds played in Michael Cheek down the right and his low powerful cross was spilled by Fitzsimmons into the path of Marriott who tapped in to make it 0-1. 

The second half began with Chesterfield pressing, Colclough & Manderville went close early on, before The Ravens when close when Marriott headed over from a corner.

King had shot saved by Charles-Cook as The Spireites pushed for an equaliser and The Ravens suffered a massive blow when Ryan Stirk had to go off injured just before the hour mark.

Almost immediately Paul Cook’s side drew level when a low cross from the right by Colclough deflected off Elerewe at the front post and beat Charles-Cook to make it 1-1.

Chesterfield sensed the chance to take the lead against ten men, Manderville fired over, before Colclough then had two more chances, hitting the side netting and forcing another save from Charles-Cook.

Kellen Fisher had a shot saved by Fitzsimmons after a strong run down the right on a rare break for Bromley, before the game was delayed again when two drones flew over the ground and the referee had to temporarily halt the match.

Once the game going going again, Chesterfield pressed with Sowunmi and Fisher making vital blocks in the area, Palmer heading wide from the resulting corner.

With Bromley under constant pressure they suffered another blow when Elerewe was sent off for a foul on Manderville that looked far worse than it was on first viewing.

From the Manderville free kick Clements headed over. Four minutes after The Ravens were reduced to ten, they then fell behind for the first time when Billy BIngham was called up for a handball on the edge of the area and from the free kick Oldaker’s powerful shot deflected off Dallas in the wall and flew into the net past the wrong footed Charles-Cook for 2-1.

Charles-Cook made a brave save at the feet of Dallas soon after, but from there the ten men made one final push to keep their hopes of making the final alive.

With the home team seemingly already celebrating their win Cook decided to substitute Dallas and Dobra and it proved to be a premature move. 

After a good spell of pressure in injury tome the resilient Ravens pulled level in the 98th minute, Mitchell Bergkamp played in Whitely on the left and his deep cross found Sowunmi at the far post who headed the ball down to Cheek to smash the ball home from six yards out and take the game to extra time to the delirium of the 700 away fans.  

Extra time started with Chesterfield looking to stretch the ten men and with Whitely injured Byron Webster came on for him to make it five at the back again.

Bromley dug in, but they couldn’t hold on and after a corner was only partially cleared it came to Mandervill just inside the box who crashed the ball high into the far corner of the net for 3-2.

The second half of extra time was almost played at walking pace with numerous players going down with cramp, but Bromley did muster one last spell with Sowunmi pushed up as a striker, but they just couldn’t find a way through again.

Right at the death Quigley had a shot saved by Charles-Cook to keep it at 3-2, before the final whistle signalled the end of the exhausted Bromley side who had given everything on the day and all season. 

Chesterfeld: Fitzsimmons, King,Palmer, Oldaker, Clemenats (Maguire 96), Grimes, Jones, (Quigley 90), Manderville, Dobra (Banks 85), Colcloigh, Dallas (McCallum 85).

Sub Not Used: Covolan. 

Bromley: Charles-Cook, Fisher (Bergkamp 88), Topalloj, Elerewe, Sowunmi, Reynolds, Stirk (Bingahm 56), Arthurs, Whitely (Webster 95), Cheek, Marriott (Forster 64).

Sub Not Used: Alexander.    

Goals: CFC – Elerewe OG 57, Oldaker 79, Manderville 102 mins. BFC – Marriott 45+8, Cheek 90+9mins. 

HT 0-1 FT 2-2 ET 3-2 

Referee: Scott Simpson