by Callum Nixon
NATIONAL League side Bromley earned themselves a replay after securing a late draw with League One Bristol Rovers in the first round of the FA Cup.
The visitors almost had themselves a perfect start as a result of confusion in the Rovers defence with defender Alfie Kilgour’s back-pass putting keeper Anssi Jakkola under early pressure. However, the ball rolled harmlessly out of play for a goal kick.
This was a first half of few chances with only two notable attacks before half time. Bromley right-back Joe Kizzi’s floated ball did well to find forward Adam Mekki, who was unable to direct his header towards goal. Rovers themselves had their chance of the half with striker Victor Adeboyejo finding himself on the wing picked out Ed Upson just outside of the area where his shot ballooned over the crossbar.
Towards the end of the first half Bromley’s Luke Coulson was forced off due to an injury to his left calf. He was replaced by Midfielder Josh Rees.
The start of the second half made for better viewing for both sets of fans. It also brought the first caution of the game with Joe Kizzi going into the referee’s book for purposely halting a Rovers counter attack in full flow.
Shortly after, Rovers had the ball in the Bromley net. A low shot from Liam Sercombe was saved by Bromley’s Ryan Huddart, however, moments after coming onto the pitch, substitute Luke Leahy was on hand to turn the rebound into the empty net for his first goal for Bristol Rovers.
This was the catalyst that Bromley needed late in the game as they increased the pressure in order to force a replay at Hayes Lane. Their pressure paid off when Chris Bush got the ball into the net after a goal mouth scramble to level the scores. It resulted in wild celebrations from the traveling Ravens fans going into the last five minutes of the game.
The home crowd cheered their team on when seven minutes of added time was announced. The late pressure was all being put on Bromley with the National League leaders managing to secure a replay at the full time whistle, which was no less then they deserved on the day.
With a replay on the cards, Bromley will be hoping for a sell out crowd at Hayes Lane where Rovers will face a different kind of test in South-East London. The prospect of playing on an artificial pitch, coupled with the potential sell out crowd, could prove to be a difficult away fixture for Graham Coughlan and his players.
Scenes in the Bromley end! pic.twitter.com/ZdcvqNsA2L
— Callum Nixon (@CallumUSWsports) November 10, 2019