Bromley 4-3 Aldershot Town - I want to take this club as far as I can in The FA Cup and I want to get into the play-off's, says Bromley boss Neil Smith

Saturday 19th October 2019
Bromley 4 – 3 Aldershot Town
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 19/10/2019 15:00

The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round
Saturday 19 October 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says he wants to guide his club to The FA Cup Second Round for the first time since 1945.


The Lillywhites went into this Fourth Qualifying Round tie against their Vanarama National League rivals Aldershot Town with a record of three defeats in their last four games but in second-place in the table with 32 points from 17 games.

Smith’s men are level on points with leaders FC Halifax Town, who come to Hayes Lane in seven days’ time.

Danny Searle’s side – who lost 1-0 at home to Bromley on matchday four in August – were in the bottom six with 18 points on the board and they bank £6,250 in losing prize money, while Bromley bank £18,750 and a place in the First Round for the eighth time in the last 13 years.

Bromley raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 12 minutes when right-back Joe Kizzi and striker Michael Cheek finished off two Frankie Raymond free-kicks.

Aldershot Town pulled a goal back through Mohamed Bettamer’s first goal for the club, before Bromley captain Jack Holland headed in to give Bromley a two-goal lead going into half-time.

Shamir Mullings’ drilled finish brought The Shots back into the game just before the hour-mark and Cheek swept home his tenth goal of the season.

Bromley sat back and put 10 men behind the ball and Aldershot’s right-back Robbie Tinkler scored with a free-header inside the box to make it a nervy ending for the home fans in the 1,408 crowd inside Hayes Lane.

“I won’t class it as a thriller, there were some really, really good things and some really, really bad things, obviously the goals against,” said Smith, after his side’s 10th win in 18 games in all competitions this season.

“We made it hard for ourselves, you score four at home, you shouldn’t be panicking with five minutes to go like we were.  That game should be buried and we had an one-on-one and we had a goal disallowed and you’re like…

“I had a go at the boys for not creating enough last week (during our 2-1 defeat at Solihull Moors).  We created but every time they (Aldershot Town) had an attempt at goal, it went in!

“It was nervy. I put pressure on them a little bit. I know how important it is for this club to earn some money out of The FA Cup. It is big. It’s always going to be a difficult game against a team in your division. They’ve got nothing to lose. It doesn’t matter if they lose today, it’s not like they lose three points but we’re in the next round, in the hat and that’s the only thing that’s come out of it.”

Clinical Bromley took the lead with their first effort on goal, which was timed at six minutes and 49 seconds.

Raymond’s trademark left-footed free-kick some 35-yards from goal was on the money for Kizzi to guide his far post header across the keeper into the far corner from eight-yards.

“We knew what we wanted to do, our set-plays have been phenomenal,” said Smith.

“I’ve got two of the best deliveries in the game so I’m not surprised that we score from there but Kizzi’s done well. We won every ball, I think, that went into the box from free-kicks so it was a good to score.”

Tinkler floated in a cross from the right towards the near post where Bettamer’s free header crept under a diving Ryan Huddard and crept inside the bottom right-hand corner but Christopher Myatt raised his offside flag.

“I spoke to the referee and it was, it was well offside so the boys have kept their line well. It’s something that we work on a lot.  That’s your warning sign for later on in that game,” added Smith.

Bromley almost raced into a 2-0 lead when Cheek’s quickly-taken throw down the right bounced off Josh Rees’ left-shoulder and Cheek whipped in a cross from the left-touchline for Raymond to steer his header just past the far right-hand post from a yard in front of the penalty spot.

Bromley were two-goals in front with only 11 minutes and 40 seconds into the game and Raymond’s magical left-wand was involved again.

Raymond delivered another quality delivery, this time from the right and Holland rose above his man to guide his header across Mitch Walker towards the far post and poacher Cheek steered the ball over the line from inches away from the goal-line at the back stick.

“Look, he’s a sniffer around the box Cheeky. He worked his socks off today. I thought he was outstanding and probably needed a little bit more help but he’s scored two today, fantastic, I’m so pleased for him,” said Smith, who knows a 2-0 lead so early in the game is a dangerous scoreline.

“That’s what we said!  In any team whoever you play against, that gives them a licence to go for it. They’ve got nothing to lose. It’s just sucking it up and then hopefully getting that killer.”

Raymond floated in a free-kick close to the centre-circle and Cheek’s header on the edge of the box in a central position was blocked by Aldershot Town centre-half Kodi Lyons-Foster.  The ball was worked out to Coulson, who played Kizzi in behind left-back Lewis Kinsella and his teasing cross was palmed away by Walker, diving to his right.

Aldershot Town pulled a goal back with 21 minutes and 19 seconds when the Bromley defence switched off from within a crowded penalty area.

Central midfielder Jack Powell whipped in a free-kick from the right and the ball wasn’t cleared and fell at Bettamer at the far post and he spun on a six-pence to stroke his right-footed shot on the turn from 17-yards, which trickled across Huddart and nestled into the bottom far corner.

Smith said: “We were just saying, it was a miss-kicked free-kick. We’ve all dropped back too deep, it’s gone in front of them and then we’ve allowed the guy to have a free-shot without getting up high enough but you can’t get Shamir and Bettamer space.  That’s what they do in the box and we’ve been really good up until then and I don’t know where that’s come from!”

Bromley wasted a glorious chance to increase their lead in the 27th minute when Coulson floated in a free-kick, Tinkler headed the ball down and Kizzi and Rees got in each other’s way on the corner of the box and Kizzi recovered from that set-back to float in a cross from within the right-channel to put it on a plate for Cheek, who rose on the edge of the six-yard box to plant his header straight at Walker.

Aldershot Town then enjoyed a spell of pressure as the game ticked towards the half-an-hour mark.

Lyons-Foster played the ball out of defence and Bromley centre-half Chris Bush’s poor pass out of defence was intercepted by Mullings, who cut in before drilling his left-footed shot across Huddard and flashing past the far post from 30-yards.

“Look, Shamir’s a grafter, he works his socks off.  It’s a shot from distance but I rather that than getting in and around the box.  That’s what I’m saying, in the second half they were getting in to our box too often,” admitted Smith.

With Aldershot playing on the front foot, Bromley snatched a vital third goal with 35 minutes and 5 seconds on the clock, a goal from open play too.

Sam Wood played the ball down the line and Aldershot centre-half Max Hunt came across to commit a needless foul on Cheek close to the corner flag.

Coulson swung in the resulting free-kick which was punched down and back to Coulson by Walker and Coulson floated in his second cross towards the far post which was met by a towering Holland header, who buried the header down and in off the former Dover Athletic goalkeeper from inside the six-yard box.

“I think he heads it against the keepers hands and I think he tries to parry it and it goes through off his hands and we’re going in 3-1 up,” said Smith. 

“That should be, against any team, that’s it, we’ve done the job in respect of we don’t have to go and chase it.  Just be solid of doing all the stuff that’s got you to 3-1. I think we went off and thought we’d go and get four, five, six, seven and we didn’t need to!”

Quiet Aldershot Town left-winger Jacob Berkley-Ageypong played the ball into Mullings and as Bush pressed him his shot on the turn from the edge of the box went harmlessly wide of the Bromley goal.

Aldershot Town had the last chance of the half when Powell drilled a crossfield pass towards Bettamer, who knocked the ball down from just inside the box only for Brazilian Alefe Santos D’Abadia to smash his first time volley over the crossbar from 18-yards.

At half-time, Smith said: “I’m disappointed with the goals. We showed them the goal. It was a disappointing goal but other than that we’ve created enough chances to be on top and have the confidence.”

Searle made a tactical substitution at the break by bringing on Dean Rance for Berkley-Ageypong so Rance slotted in to the middle of the park while Ethan Chislett moved from a number 10 position behind the front two to the left-flank.

Lino Christopher Myatt chalked off his second goal for offside, this time for Bromley in the 12th minute.

Coulson walked away and let Raymond whip in another high-quality free-kick from the right, which appeared to be curing into the far corner, but Rees deft flick was from an offside position as the ball kissed the back of the net.

Smith added:  “I spoke to the linesman just literally shoulder width so the edge of his shoulder so well spotted the linesman.  I think that kills the game”

Bromley squandered a glorious chance to kill the game off at 4-1 – only to concede their second goal just 28 seconds later.

Cheek flicked the ball on and last defender Hunt slipped and this put Adam Mekki through on goal but he dragged his shot across Walker and past the far post when he only had the keeper to beat.

“We have the one-on-one, that kills the game 4-1.  They ain’t coming back from that either,” insisted Smith.

“Mekki’s through on goal and he’s just dragged it and all he has to do is hit the target or take it a little bit closer but that’s someone, to be fair to him, that’s his first start of a game for a long time and I thought he was outstanding first half and second half his legs went and that’s the confidence he’ll gain from having that start today.”

Aldershot Town immediately went up the other end and scored their second goal of the game, which was timed at 13 minutes and 20 seconds on the clock.

Walker’s goal-kick eventually found its way to Mullings, who got in between Wood and Bush inside the Bromley penalty area and he drilled his right-footed shot from 15-yards across the keeper, who should have done better than dive to his right and let the ball bounce once into the bottom far corner.

Smith admitted he wasn’t pleased with the way that Mullings scored his second goal of the season.

“So, we backed off him when we’ve got to close him down because if you back off him you leave him more space to hit the target and even then, I haven’t seen it, but it looked like an easy goal. It didn’t look like, I don’t know whether Ryan could get his hands to it or something like that but he struck it well but he shouldn’t be scoring from there!”

With Chislett down on the flank, he often linked up with overlapping left-back Lewis Kinsella and the pair put several crosses into the Bromley box, where Huddart was slow to come off his line to pluck the ball out of the air, giving the Bromley defence and uneasy time.

Kinsella rolled the ball inside to Bettamer, who unleashed a low angled drive through a crowd of players, forcing Huddart to stoop down to push the ball away low to his left.

“He pulled off a great save – I’m just concerned with the goals,” admitted Smith, whose side have leaked 24 goals in 18 games in all competitions this season.

“I know Ryan can do that, Ryan’s been brilliant. He come out and took a couple, his kicks are affective. I’m just worried about those shots. We’re either not getting there or we’re giving him too much to do.”

Bromley snatched a vital match winning fourth goal, which was timed at 21 minutes and 40 seconds on the clock.

Wood played the ball inside to Raymond, who released Alfie Doughty down the left and he easily skipped past Hunt to reach the penalty area. He played in a low cross, which should have been cleared by Lyons-Foster and wasn’t and Cheek pounced on the sloppy defending by sweeping the ball past Walker from eight-yards out.

“That’s what Cheeky does, Cheeky comes alive in the 18-yard box,” warns Smith, who signed the striker from troubled Ebbsfleet United during the summer.

“There were a couple of times where he could’ve had another shot and he didn’t but he’s got two today and I think fully deserved the way he’s been playing this season.  Ten goals, I don’t think I can ask for anymore!”

The rest of the game saw Aldershot Town playing on the front foot, keeping the ball on the deck as Bromley kept 10 men behind the ball, leaving Cheek isolated up front on his own.

Powell’s free-kick was cleared out to Kinsella, who was in space some 35-yards from goal and the left-back chested the ball down before hitting a left-footed half-volley which screamed just past the left-hand post.

With 15 minutes left, Doughty had a chance to seal the victory when he was played in by Cheek’s hooked pass but the winger opted to cross the ball towards the far post rather than having the confidence to find the bottom far corner of the goal.

Bromley were punished by their sitting back tactics as Aldershot Town deservedly scored their third goal of the game, which arrived with 34 minutes and 7 seconds on the clock.

Chislett collected the ball on the halfway line and drove down the line before cutting the ball back to an unmarked Kinsella, who took a touch and floated in a great cross towards Tinkler’s head and he buried a downward header past the diving keeper to find the bottom left-hand corner from eight-yards.

“He’s the full-back! The full-back’s in the box. I’ve got to go and look at it so I can’t give an opinion but it looked too easy and that’s very unlike us this season so far. We’ve got to make sure we get better at that,” admitted Smith.

The longer the game went on and Bromley were hanging on as Aldershot Town kept pressing for an equaliser and banging on the door.

Bromley centre-halves Holland Bush withstood the pressure and Aldershot Town missed their last chance inside the final three minutes.

Chislett and Kinsella linked up down the left again, Rance played the ball over to substitute winger Harry Panayiotou who teed up Lyons-Foster, who was in space some 25-yards from goal but it fell to the wrong man as the centre-half dragged his shot well wide of the goal from 25-yards.

Bromley held on, however, creating the final chance with the last kick of the game.

Coulson’s hooked pass released Doughty down the line and he played the ball in to the centre of the pitch for substitute striker Adrian Clifton, whose low right-footed drive from 25-yards was comfortably smothered by Walker, low to his left.

“We shouldn’t be panicking! If we score four goals at home that should be game over but like I said to the boys I’m not going to gloss it over. We are in the next round, first round proper, anything can happen.

“But I’m looking at the bigger picture. We’ve got Halifax (at home) next week and then Stockport County (at home on Tuesday 29 October) and then Wrexham (away, 2 November).  If we defend like that we’re going to find it very difficult.”

The First Round Draw takes place on Monday evening and Bromley are ball number 67.

However, with Bury being kicked out of League One and The FA Cup, there are only 79 teams in the draw and the last ball out of the hat will receive a bye into the Second Round and with £36,000 in prize money in the bank.

Bromley’s last win in The FA Cup First Round came back in 1945 and Smith is keen to bring some much-awaited FA Cup glory to his home-town.

“I want to do it! I’ve told you since I’ve come to this club I want to achieve stuff that somebody else might not have done. I’ve got to Wembley, I want to take this club as far as I can in The FA Cup.  I want to get into the play-off's. I want to be the best at everything and I know the boys all want that as well.

“They’re sitting in there and we’ve just got through to the next round disappointed so we’ll reflect on it. It’s a massive achievement for this club. It brings money into this club. Hopefully we pull out a home draw on Monday or be the last ball in there.  Hopefully they make us the cold ball and they leave it alone and we get a free bye, which will be nice. Does that ever happen to people like myself or Bromley? Not normally but there you go!”

Bromley: Ryan Huddart, Joe Kizzi, Sam Wood, Frankie Raymond (Adrian Clifton 74), Chris Bush, Jack Holland, Alfie Doughty, Josh Rees, Michael Cheek, Adam Mekki (Jordan Higgs 65), Luke Coulson.
Subs: Marc-Anthony Okoye, Alan Dunne, Ollie Tanner, Korrey Henry, Tarek Najia

Goals: Joe Kizzi 7, Michael Cheek 12, 68, Jack Holland 36

Booked: Frankie Raymond 71, Michael Cheek 85, Chris Bush 86

Aldershot Town: Mitch Walker, Robbie Tinkler (Connor Shields 89), Lewis Kinsella, Jack Powell, Max Hunt, Kodi Lyons-Foster, Alefe Santos D’Abadia (Harry Panayiotou 69), Ethan Chislett, Shamir Mullings, Mohamed Bettamer, Jacob Berkley-Ageypong (Dean Rance 46).
Subs: Alfy Whittingham, Aaron Eyoma, Alex Finney, George Fowler

Goals: Mohamed Bettamer 22, Shamir Mullings 58, Robbie Tinkler 80

Booked: Jack Powell 26, Lewis Kinsella 64, Shamir Mullings 71

Attendance: 1,408 (229 away)
Referee: Mr Elliott Swallow (Blackpool, Lancashire)
Assistants: Mr Christopher Myatt (Dartford) & Mr Craig Green (Mytchett, Hampshire)
Fourth Official: Ms Kirsty Dowle (Ashford)