Lockdown Football on the TV: Bromley 2-0 Aldershot Town - We know our home form hasn’t been good enough, so it was nice to get three points at home, says Bromley striker Michael Cheek

Saturday 30th January 2021
Bromley 2 – 0 Aldershot Town
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 30/01/2021 17:20

Vanarama National League
Saturday 30 January 2021
Stephen McCartney reports (watching on TV)

BROMLEY kick-started their push towards the Vanarama National League play-offs with a resilient and clinical 2-0 win over Aldershot Town at a wet and windy Hayes Lane.

Former Concord Rangers midfielder Jack Bridge, 25, scored his first goal for the club as the Lillywhites opened the scoring against the run of play in the first-half, before striker Michael Cheek rose to the top of the National League goalscoring charts by sealing the victory late on.

Bromley’s first home league win since beating newly-promoted side Weymouth 3-2 on Tuesday 27 October 2020 sees them climb five places into the top ten with 26 points from 17 games.

Bromley manager Neil Smith told BT Sport: “I’ve said to the boys we’ve been very close. There’s games where we’ve probably drawn where we should’ve won and there’s games where we’ve lost.  We’ve just had that luck against us. Today, we’ve had it with us.

“Very early on they put us under a bit of pressure, a couple of good chances for them. We rode our luck a little but then once we got into the game we grew in confidence. I thought there was only one winner.

“The winger, Joel Nouble was getting on the ball and causing a lot of problems. It was one of them, just ride it out and once we got ourselves into the game, I thought we were strong and we were determined to come away with a win.”

Darren Searle’s men started the game sitting a place above Bromley with 24 points from their 18 league outings and began the game on the front foot but have now dropped a place after suffering back-to-back 2-0 defeats, having lost to Weymouth in midweek.

Wideman Joel Nouble was causing Bromley’s left-back Frankie Raymond all sorts of problems with his pace and he was the catalyst of the away side starting well.

The 25-year-old drove into the Bromley penalty before floating in a cross towards the penalty spot where striker Harrison Panayiotou sent his diving header straight into the hands of Bromley goalkeeper Mark Cousins.

Jermaine Anderson then put a free-kick into the Bromley penalty area where Nouble’s audacious back-heeled effort went through a crowd of players and was grasped by Cousins.

The Shots created a third decent opening when central midfielder Toby Edser whipped in a free-kick from the left which saw Cheek inside his own six-yard box and his sliced clearance bounced off the foot of the far post.

However, Bromley withstood all of that early pressure and went close to scoring when Charlie Wakefield played a low pass in from the right for Billy Bingham to unleash a first-time left-footed drive flashing just past the foot of the near post from 30-yards.

Bromley grabbed the lead against the run of play in the 21st minute.

Cousins launched a big kick upfield, Cheek flicked the ball on and the otherwise quiet Wakefield sprung into life by cutting towards the edge of the D before spreading the play over to Bridge.

Bridge cut inside Aldershot right-back Alfy Whittingham and drilled a right-footed shot through a crowd of players to find the bottom far corner with an angled drive from 15-yards.

The goal snuffed out Aldershot’s attacks for the remainder of the first-half but they went close to equalising just 46 seconds into the second half.

Panayiotou latched onto a long ball out of defence and his right-footed half-volley from the edge of the D – with Bromley’s centre-halves Byron Webster and Kory Roberts closing him down – was comfortably gathered by Cousins, who was the busier of the two goalkeepers.

Bromley missed a great chance to seal the victory shortly afterwards following a set-piece.

Raymond floated the free-kick from the edge of the centre-circle with his left-foot and Webster rose with the flapping goalkeeper Brad James and flicked his header on and right-back Joe Kizzi steered his header past the right-hand post from the corner of the six-yard box.

Searle introduced striker Ricky Miller from the subs bench and the 31-year-old added fresh impetus into Aldershot Town’s attack and they were to be denied a deserved equaliser in the 62nd minute.

Miller stroked a right-footed angled drive from 30-yards, which was pushed away by Cousins, diving to his left to prevent the ball from finding the far corner. 

The ball then fell to Nouble, whose right-footed drive flashed just past the foot of the far post from just inside the penalty area.

Just 33 seconds later, following a quickly-taken corner, Anderson slipped the ball into Miller’s path and he drilled his shot high into the side netting from a narrow angle.

Jack Holland came off the bench for Bromley with 23 minutes remaining as the home side switched to three centre-halves, with Holland playing on the right, with Webster in the centre and Roberts on the left, with Wakefield (left) and Kizzi (right) playing as wing-backs.

This tactical switch shut the door in Aldershot’s faces – Nouble was much more quiet during the second half and was withdrawn with 15 minutes remaining and all of this helped Bromley maintain their first clean-sheet in the league since their last win in the league, a 1-0 win at Solihull Moors, like this game, was screened live on BT Sport, on 12 December.

Clinical Bromley sealed the deal with Cheek scoring his 13th goal of the season with 11 minutes remaining.

Substitute striker James Alabi won a free-kick by the corner flag down the right-hand side and Raymond cut the free-kick back to central midfielder Bingham, who drilled a low left-footed dive into a crowded goal-mouth from 25-yards and the ball bounced off Cheek’s calf some eight-yards from goal and nestled into the bottom left-hand corner, leaving deceived goalkeeper James well beaten.

When asked what part of his body his goal came off, Cheek told BT Sport: “I don’t know myself to be fair. I just run across the line and luckily it just got a little nick and Billy was unlucky.”

Bromley have suffered five league defeats here at Hayes Lane but go into February unbeaten on their travels.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game, especially in these conditions as well,” added Cheek, 29.

“We know our home form hasn’t been good enough, so it was nice to get three points at home.  If we can improve on that, our away form is keeping us up there at the moment.”

Raymond floated a free-kick into the Aldershot box and Holland rose to loop his header into the hands of the 21-year-old goalkeeper as the home side saw out the remainder of the game in a comfortable manner.

Smith, meanwhile, takes his side to Notts County on Tuesday night, with his side closing the gap to seventh-place to just four points, with three games in hand on Altrincham.

Fifth-placed Notts County are also only four points clear of Bromley after claiming a 1-0 win at Weymouth today.

“I’ve got players in the stand that are not even out there, Chris Bush and Liam Trotter so we have got a good squad and I’ve told them we’ve got to believe in ourselves.  They’ve got to believe that they are a good squad,” added Smith, who wants to finish the campaign, with uncertainty over funding in the National League, National League North and National League South due to games being played behind closed doors because of the current Covid-19 health pandemic.

“We want to finish the season, of course we do, but we understand every problem every club have, individual clubs. We have to make sure we give it our best chance to make sure we’re in there for hopefully the end of the season but we’ll take whatever comes.”

Bromley: Mark Cousins, Joe Kizzi, Frankie Raymond, Billy Bingham, Kory Roberts, Byron Webster, Charlie Wakefield, Jack Bridge (Jack Holland 67), Michael Cheek (Courtney Duffus 84), Ben Williamson (James Alabi 77), Taylor Maloney.
Subs: Tom Purrington, Jude Arthurs

Goals:  Jack Bridge 21, Michael Cheek 79

Booked: Frankie Raymond 34, Billy Bingham 69, James Alabi 90

Aldershot Town: Brad James, Alfy Whittingham, Shadrach Ogie, Josh Rees, Alex Finney, Kodi Lyons-Foster, Toby Edser (James Rowe 82), Jermaine Anderson, Mo Battamer (Ricky Miller 57), Harrison Panayiotou, Joel Nouble (Chike Kandi 75).
Subs: Jamie Sendles-White, Ryan Hall

Booked: Shadrach Ogie 6, Ricky Miller 71

Attendance:  0
Referee:  Mr James Durkin
Assistants:  Mr Ayrton Hursey & Mr Declan O’Shea
Fourth Official:  Mr Paul Johnson

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