Nothing seperated Aldershot and Bromley after 90 minutes at the EBB Stadium, as Lorent Tolaj’s first half effort was cancelled out in the second by former Shot Callum Reynolds to give Tommy Widdrington and Andy Woodman a point each in a 1-1 draw.
The noise ahead of kick off was very Bristol City heavy, as Josh Stokes made the switch from the National League to the Championship on Monday, but returned on loan and kept his place in Tommy Widdrington’s side. Stokes was one of just six to remain, as Jordi Van Stappershoef, Coby Rowe, Aaron Jones, Dejan Tetek and Stuart O’Keefe all returned to the starting eleven, and new man Josh Barrett was on the bench ahead of kick off against Bromley.
When the sides last met in late November Bromley had the ball in the back of the net twice in three minutes, and both sets of fans under the rainy lights of the EBB Stadium would’ve been hoping for just a shot on target in the opening 15, as both sides enjoyed their time on the ball but on a skiddy surface were unable to forge any danger at either goal.
It was Jack Barham who eventually got pulses raising for Shots fans with just over 20 minutes gone, as some lunging tackles in midfield meant the ball found a way to captain Stuart O’Keefe, who clipped a ball into the feet of Jack Barham, who took a good touch and shot wide of Grant Smith’s net.
Bromley sat second in the National League ahead of kick off, but it was Lorent Tolaj and the Shots who landed the first blow with a little over 10 minutes to go to half time. The Swiss striker was found by Bristol City’s newest signing Josh Stokes in a dangerous position inside the Bromley box, and his first effort was blocked low by Grant Smith, but the rebound fell kindly for Tolaj, and with Grant now out of his net Tolaj had a simple task of putting the ball into the empty net to give the Shots the lead.
The visitors were yet to lose since the visit of Aldershot to Hayes Lane, and Andy Woodman went into half time knowing he had a big task on his hands if he was to become just the third manager to beat Aldershot at the EBB Stadium this season.
HALF TIME: Shots 1-0 Bromley
Shooting towards the East Bank for the first time in 2024 the Shots very nearly doubled the lead with just over 3 minutes gone in the second half. Ryan Glover on the left hand side of the back five picked up the ball and turned onto his favoured right foot and fizzed his effort straight at Grant Smith, but with the power behind the effort the Bromley number one was only able to parry to Lorent Tolaj, but Tolaj was unable to get any power behind a header straight at Smith.
A former Shot came back to haunt Tommy Widdrington just before the hour mark, as Callum Reynolds converted from close range to give Bromley a way back into the game. A corner came in and fell to the feet of Louis Dennis, and original good save by Jordi Van Stappershoef fell straight to the feet of Callum Reynolds, and from close range he sent the ball high and into the back of Aldershot’s net to level the game.
Grant Smith was becoming a huge thorne in Aldershot’s side in the second half, first saving a good free kick around the wall from Ryan Glover, and moments later saving a good effort from Jack Barham to deny Aldershot the lead for the second time in the game.
Aldershot had a lot of chances, but Bromley were the ones who came closest to scoring the third goal in the game as the tie ticked over into the final 10 minutes. Off the bench Olufela Olomola fed the ball through to Louis Dennis inside the Shots box, and he fed the ball across the face of goal towards the dangerous Michael Cheek, however a crucial Shots touch took the ball just out of the reach of Cheek who was waiting to convert at the back post.
A solid showing from Dejan Tetek on his return to the side came to an end after 80 minutes as Tommy Widdrington looked to secure all three points, sending on Kwame Thomas in his place as he pushed for a winning goal.
Bromley again were making the more dangerous chances, Josh Passley this time it was from close range sending the ball over the bar from close range at the end of a Bromley move which in truth probably deserved a goal.
Josh Barrett joined the Shots on Monday, and was on for his second debut in added time in place of Jack Barham, Tyler Frost also came on in place of Stuart O’Keefe.
Aldershot will feel hard done by with a point in the end, as two big chances in added time at the end of the second half went begging to earn the side all the points. The first came from Lorent Tolaj, breaking away on the counter and driving towards Grant Smith’s goal, the Bromley stopper making a huge save to deny the Shots the lead. Moments later the Shots again were breaking forwards quickly, again with Tolaj, but this time he was unselfish as he played the ball to Kwame Thomas, who just got his connection wrong, sending the ball just over the crossbar.
The Thomas chance was the last of the game, and Aldershot managed to pick up a point against the high flying Bromley, making it 4/6 against the Ravens who are possibly the second best side in the National League this season. Attention now turns to Saturday for the Shots as they host Rochdale in a huge clash in a race for the top 7.
- Jordi Van Stappershoef, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 5. Coby Rowe, 7. Stuart O’Keefe (C) (8. Tyler Frost, 90′), 9. Lorent Tolaj, 10. Josh Stokes, 11. Ryan Glover, 17. Aaron Jones, 22. Jack Barham (20. Josh Barrett, 90′), 34. Dejan Tetek (39. Kwame Thomas, 82′)
6. Theo Widdrington, 18. Olly Scott