Bromley Reds 2-2 Maidstone United Ambers
Lewis Wood (2)
Report by Adrian Swan
This was an interesting contest between two of the better teams in the league.
If you had asked the Reds before the game they would probably have been happy to take a point from perennial champions Maidstone United Ambers but here the visitors had to play for some 68 minutes with only 10 men after Josh Dorling was rightly dismissed for a professional foul in the box.
However rather than spur the Reds on it was the depleted visitors who had marginally the better of things afterwards and fully merited taking at least a point from the match.
After an even start it was the Reds who took the lead on eight minutes when Tahjae Anderson raced down the right to the bye line before whipping over a low cross that was slightly behind Antonio Gordon. He however controlled the ball well before quickly turning and firing home low to the left of Ambers keeper Tommy Taylor.
On 16 minutes the visitors went close to drawing level when a speculative cross from wide right from Frankie Kennedy deceived Reds keeper Kris Burpa, who stretching high to his left, missed the ball which fortunately for him hit the bar before flying out to safety.
Minutes later though the Ambers did equalise when James Nurden’s left wing cross found centre forward Lewis Wood near the penalty spot and he scored with a powerful well directed header that beat Burpa low to his left.
Then on 22 minutes Dorling made a defensive error on the edge of his area when he allowed the ball to slip under his foot as he was challenged by Tahjae, who then raced into the box and was about to shoot when he was hauled down by the Ambers defender resulting in his dismissal and the award of a penalty.
Aiden Enver took the spot kick hitting a firm shot that was well saved by Taylor diving high to his right for a corner. From this corner the ball was cleared out to Guy Baskerville some 25 yards from goal and he hit a low first time drive that forced Taylor into another good save diving full length to right.
The Reds then took the lead when a superb cross field pass from Gordon picked out the run of Enver down the right and he in turn sent over a precise cross that Kenneth Roberts turned home from close range.
So the stage was now set for the Reds to take control of the game having gone ahead against the 10 men. However the opposite happened as a re-organised Ambers took the game to the Reds and just before half time they had good chances to equalise.
On 41 minutes Darren Cooper’s left wing cross found Victor Sodeinde at the far post but his diving header flew straight at Burpa and then a neat throughball from Cooper put Wood in on goal but Burpa, spotting the danger, was quickly off his line to make a brave close range block on the edge of his area.
It was then the turn of the Reds to go close when Enver made a good driving run at the heart of the Ambers defence before hitting a low shot that Taylor save with his trailing leg for a corner.
The final action of an exciting first half saw the visitors Sodeinde test Burpa with a fierce drive from the edge of the box that the Reds keeper saved diving high to his left for a corner.
The Ambers then drew level early in the second half when Sodeinde’s right wing cross found Wood free in the area and he scored with a well placed shot high to the right of Burpa. Wood then hit a free kick from edge of the box that struck the Reds wall and sent the ball flying up to where Sodeinde smashed a first time volley that flew straight at Burpa.
The action then quickly switched to the other end where Tahjae made a powerful forward run down the left before cutting inside and hitting a low shot that Taylor held at his right hand post. A minute later Gordon had a similar run and shot which also brought a good save from Taylor low to his right.
Sodeinde then went close for the Ambers when he made a good run down the left before cutting into the box and firing in a low shot that Burpa saved moving to his left.
On 65 minutes Ambers substitute David Smith had a shot deflect narrowly over the bar before minutes later he hit a dipping 30 yard shot that Burpa gathered at the second attempt.
Then on 72 minutes the visitors missed a glorious chance to take the lead when Lewis Scotter made a strong run from the back down the left before cutting the ball back to substitute Richard Frempong whose shot was blocked but the loose ball fell to Smith who fired over from close range.
On 81 minutes Smith turned provider sending over a low left wing cross that found Elliot Capel whose close range shot flew straight at Burpa. Minutes later it was another Ambers substitute who tested Burpa with a 25 yard rising drive that the Reds keeper saved superbly diving high to his left.
Then deep in stoppage time the Reds went close to snatching the points when Ola Williams made a good run down the left into the box before cutting along the bye line but his close range shot from an acute angle flew into the side netting.
So it was honours even at the end but you cannot help feeling that the Reds missed an opportunity to take all three points against their depleted visitors. For their part the Ambers re-organised their side superbly and at times it wasn’t clear to those watching which side had the extra man.