Maidstone United Ambers 2-2 Bromley Reds
Leyton O’Connor, Rhys Bartlett (pen)
It was honours even again as Maidstone United Ambers and Bromley Reds played out another highly competitive 2-2 draw as they did earlier in the season, writes Adrian Swan.
The point meant that the Ambers remain top of the league but their closest challengers Dover Athletic are now level on points with a game in hand.
The Ambers went close to opening the scoring almost straight from kick off when Darren Cooper hit a speculative 30 yard shot that bounced narrowly wide.
After this the visitors had a good chance on eight minutes when Janiah Boyd’s through ball found the run into the box of Tahjae Anderson but his shot on the turn from wide right of the area flew straight at Ambers keeper Tommy Taylor.
On 15 minutes Tahjae made space well some 35 yards from goal before hitting a curling shot that drifted just wide.
Minutes later for the Ambers Dave Smith made a strong run down the right before cutting into the box and hitting a low shot that forced Reds keeper Kris Burba into a good save low to his right.
Then the hosts went close again shortly afterwards when Charlie Owen’s free kick from the edge of the box curled around the Bromley defensive wall but Burba was alert and made another good save low to his left.
On 28 minutes Elliot Capel’s near post cross from the right found Smith whose close range volley flew over.
Just after the half hour mark though the Ambers finally made the breakthrough when a Lewis Chambers long throw into the Bromley area was flicked on by Smith to Cooper who then found Rhys Bartlett who fired home low to the left of Burba.
On 41 minutes it was nearly two when Bartlett’s left wing cross found Smith whose clever chest trap laid the ball back to Lewis Scotter whose powerful shot was deflected over for a corner off a visiting defender.
Bromley then went close to drawing level when Aiden Enver’s clipped free kick found Tahjae pulling away at the far post but his glancing header flew wide.
The Ambers had the last chance of the first half when Josh Dorling did well to win the ball on the edge of the Bromley box but his low shot was saved by Burba down at his left hand post.
It was the visitors who started the second half well with Boyd’s deep left wing cross finding Dexter Lovely at the far post but his downward header flew straight at Taylor.
However on 55 minutes the visitors drew level when Tahjae’s powerful free kick from the edge of the box beat Taylor high to his left but crashed against the bar with the ball flying out to where Donell Anderson reacting quickest scored with a towering close range header.
The Ambers almost regained the lead immediately when another Chambers long throw into the box was headed on at the near post by Scotter to Smith who had his close range shot well blocked by Burba low at his right hand post.
On the hour mark another excellent cross from Bartlett picked out the run of Dorling to the far post but his header flew over.
Two minutes later the visitors took the lead when Lovely’s drilled shot was well parried by Taylor diving high to his right but the loose ball fell to Ashan Jones who scored with a low shot on the turn to the right of the Ambers keeper.
On 67 minutes the Ambers missed a good chance to equalise when Taylor’s free kick from the half way line was not dealt with by the Bromley defence who allowed the ball to bounce into the box where Scotter got free but directed his header straight at Burba.
On 71 minutes a strong challenge by Enver on O’Connor saw both sides reduced to 10 men with Enver, who had been cautioned in the first half, receiving a second yellow and therefore a red and O’Connor being forced to limp off injured with the Ambers having used all their permitted substitutions.
Smith then had a shot from wide left fly just over before on 79 minutes they went close again when Josh Stirman’s right wing cross picked out the run into the box of Smith but his header flew over.
On 87 minutes Bromley almost got a third when Lovely’s right wing corner found Tahjae at the far post but he headed wide.
Then deep in stoppage time the Ambers were awarded a penalty after Bartlett’s whipped in corner saw the ball fly through the box to the far post where Scotter was adjudged to have been fouled by Guy Baskerville.
Bartlett took the spot kick firing home low to the left of Burba who dived right to salvage a point for the Ambers at the death.