Bromley v Aldershot Town – Match Preview – Tuesday 21 November 2017
On Saturday, a solid professional display up at Victoria Park saw Aldershot Town record their first away win in two months. Late goals in each half from Bernard Mensah and Jim Kellermann resulted in a 2-0 victory at Hartlepool United which saw Gary Waddock’s men rise to fifth place in the National League. On Tuesday evening, The Shots travel to Kent to take on fellow promotion contenders Bromley.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
Waddock named an unchanged starting eleven at Hartlepool, and that team has now recorded back-to-back wins. However, with three tough matches this week and the long journey back from the north-east, it will be no surprise if the Shots’ boss freshens up his team for the trip to high-flying Bromley. Jake Gallagher and Scott Rendell both featured strongly after coming off the bench on Saturday and are the two most likely to come in for the midweek game which will be played on the 3G pitch at Hayes Lane.
Whilst Jake Cole continues to recover from a hamstring injury, Reading loanee Lewis Ward, who kept his first clean sheet for Aldershot Town on Saturday, is again likely to deputise, with 17-year-old Luke Skinner likely to take a place on the bench. Shaun Okojie continues his loan spell at Wealdstone, whilst Bobby-Joe Taylor is back in full training and is expected to return to action in two weeks. Matt McClure remains troubled by a nagging hip injury and Nick Arnold continues his recovery from an ACL injury.
Bromley Football Club was founded in 1892, switching between the Kent, London, Spartan, Athenian and Isthmian Leagues before settling in the latter in 1952. They’ve won three FA Amateur Cups and were Isthmian League winners on four occasions, whilst their promotion via the Play-Offs in 2007 started a run of eight seasons in Conference South. On six consecutive occasions, they ended the season between 11th and 17th, until a third-place finish in 2013-14 saw them lose to Ebbsfleet United in the Play-Off semi-final, followed by the National League South title twelve months later. The Ravens finished 14th with sixty points in their first campaign at a national level, one place and four points above Aldershot Town.
Last season, manager Neil Smith led the Kent outfit to a highly-respectable tenth place in the top tier of non-league football – the highest placing in the club’s history.
Neil Smith played more than 350 games in the Football League, for Gillingham, Fulham and Reading. He then switched to non-league football, making 142 appearances for Woking, in addition to brief spells at Welling, Bromley and Maidstone.
He was appointed Joint-Interim-Manager of Woking in March 2007 and helped steer the Surrey side to safety, only for Frank Gray to ultimately get the role on a permanent basis. Smith then took the reins of Welling United for just six months, before being sacked in January 2008 and returning, briefly, as a player to Bromley. After coaching spells at Grays Athletic, Croydon and Lewes, he took the job as Assistant Manager at Bromley. In February 2016, following the departure of manager Mark Goldberg, Smith took over as Interim Manager and, after a successful run of results, was given the job permanently. In the 2014-15 season, Smith led Bromley to the Conference South title and promotion to the National League.
The Ravens currently sit seventh, just one point and two places behind The Shots. They got off to a flying start and were unbeaten in their first five games including a 6-1 home romp against Leyton Orient. Three defeats on the spin followed, but they have since bounced back well and, like Aldershot Town, have lost just one of their last seven National League matches. They have the eighth best home record, with seventeen points secured from just ten games on the 3G at Hayes Lane. They have backed that up away from home and are the fourth highest scorers in the league, with thirty goals from their twenty league matches to date.
Smith freshened up his playing squad in the summer, retaining just eight of last season’s Ravens and bringing in thirteen new players. He lost striker Toby Sho-Silva to Dover Athletic, but crucially retained the likes of promising right-back Alan Dunne, defender Jack Holland and forwards George Porter and Louis Dennis. Newcomers include three former Shots stars, in Adam Mekki (Tranmere Rovers), Brett Williams (Torquay United) and Iffy Allen (Wrexham AFC). Smith has a good eye for up-and-coming talent and also brought in midfielder Josh Rees (Chelmsford) and Luke Wannadio (Dartford), both of whom have excelled with eleven goals between them already.
Tuesday evening sees the thirteenth meeting between these two sides, with The Shots winning seven, losing twice and drawing on three occasions. They last met back in February, when The Shots romped to a 4-0 win at The EBB Stadium, with Nick Arnold, Shamir Fenelon, Jake Gallagher and Matt McClure all on the scoresheet. In August 2016, the two sides drew 2-2 at Hayes Lane, with Scott Rendell and Matt McClure giving the visitors a 2-0 advantage. However, goals from Tobi Sho-Silva and Louis Dennis earned a point for the Ravens. On the last day of 2015-16, a Charlie Walker brace and a Sean Francis own goal gave the Shots a 3-1 win in Barry Smith’s last game in charge, whilst in October 2015 at the EBB Stadium, Walker scored again to give the home side the lead in the 38th minute. Jack Holland equalised with a fine goal three minutes later before Jake Gallagher received a second-half red card
Tuesday evening’s referee is Carl Brook, who has refereed nine matches so far this season, showing 35 yellow cards and two red cards. He has not previously refereed Aldershot Town or Bromley this season, but last season twice took the middle in Aldershot Town matches: the 3-1 home victory over Tranmere Rovers and the 0-0 draw at home to York City, in which he sent off Jon Parkin.
BBC Surrey’s Rob Worrall and Shots defender Nick Arnold will be covering the game on Tuesday evening, bringing live commentary via the BBC Sport website or the BBC Sport App from 7:35pm. You can also contact them throughout the evening via Twitter. Get in touch with them by tweeting @RobShot66 and/or @narnold10 or posting in the Aldershot Town Fans Facebook Group.