BY MARK DOIG
Bromley bounced back from their defeat at home to Chesterfield with an outstanding 1-0 victory to end Hartlepool United’s 16-match unbeaten run.
Victory for the Ravens put them back into the National League play-off zone and almost ended Pools’ title hopes, leaving them six points behind Torquay United with four games to play.
Ben Williamson might have put the hosts ahead in the opening minutes, doing well to break through two tackles, but with just Henrich Ravas to beat, he shot straight at the Slovakian goalkeeper.
Mark Cousins made his first save at the other end from Ryan Donaldson’s shot before Michael Cheek netted for Bromley. However, his celebrations were curtailed by the offside flag.
Gavan Holohan dragged a shot wide of the near post for Hartlepool then the Ravens twice had opportunities, first when Williamson again shot straight at Ravas and then when Jude Arthurs threw himself at Frankie Raymond’s cross but couldn’t direct his header on target.
Arthurs wasn’t to be denied again and put Bromley ahead four minutes before the break for his second goal in successive games. Raymond found Jack Bridge and his cross picked out Arthurs, who planted his firm header beyond Ravas.
After the interval, the game continued to be end to end but neither goalkeeper was required to save until the hour mark when Cousins dived to beat out a Luke Molyneux shot. He was then called upon to make a brilliant double save. First, he kept out Donaldson’s clever outside of the boot effort. It came out and Luke Armstrong looked certain to score but Cousins recovered well to tip it on to the post and back into his arms.
Liam Trotter replaced Raymond and almost made an immediate impact when a corner caught in the swirling wind and he toe-poked an instinctive effort just over.
As Hartlepool searched for an equaliser the game opened up and Ravas was called upon to make a brilliant save when James Alabi’s close-range header was beaten away at point-blank range. Alabi was again thwarted when Timi Odusina made a brilliant last-ditch tackle.
Any hopes that Hartlepool had of rescuing a point were ended when Gary Liddle was dismissed for a second yellow card offence. There could be no arguments about his first booking but the second was a little harsh when Alabi pushed it past him but could only run into him as he tried to chase it.
Cousins was called upon to make one last save from Donaldson in injury time before Cheek missed a glorious chance to put the icing on the cake with the final chance of the game when Arthurs gave him a clean sight at goal but he fired over.
The Ravens’ next game is away to league leaders Torquay United but they will travel full of confidence in the first of four consecutive away games.
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.