Bromley v Aldershot Town – Match Preview – Tuesday 28 November 2017
A comprehensive 2-0 victory over ‘top of the table’ Wrexham on Saturday saw Aldershot Town make it three wins on the spin. In an exhilarating first half performance by The Shots, goals from Bernard Mensah and Adam McDonnell gave them a healthy 2-0 half-time lead which they never looked like surrendering in a more even second period. On Tuesday evening, Town travel to Kent to take on fellow promotion contenders Bromley.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
Waddock’s starting eleven against Wrexham remained the same for the third successive match and that team has won all three games, keeping a clean sheet in the last two.
Whilst Jake Cole continues to recover from a hamstring injury, Reading loanee Lewis Ward is again likely to deputise, with 17-year-old Luke Skinner likely to take a place on the bench. Shaun Okojie has returned from his loan spell at Wealdstone, and Bobby-Joe Taylor is close to a return having resumed full training. Nick Arnold continues his recovery from an ACL injury, whilst Manny Oyeleke completes his three-match suspension on Tuesday evening and could be in line for a recall at Torquay on Saturday.
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 but a third-place finish in 2013-14 saw them lose to Ebbsfleet United in the Play-Off semi-final, before taking 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 finish in the top tier of Non-League – 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 permanent role. 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 on a permanent basis. In the 2014-15 season, Smith led Bromley to the Conference South title and promotion to the National League.
The Ravens currently sit eighth, just one point and two places behind The Shots. They got off to a flying start, unbeaten in their first five games, which included 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 eight National League matches. They have the eleventh best home record, with seventeen points secured from just ten games on the 3G at Hayes Lane. They have backed that up away from Hayes Lane and, indeed, are the fourth highest scorers in the league, with thirty-three goals from their twenty one league matches to date. The Ravens are also currently top of the National League form table following Saturday’s 3-0 win at Barrow, with seventeen points from their last eight matches.
Smith freshened up his playing squad in the summer, retaining just eight of last season’s Ravens and binging 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, Adam Mekki (Tranmere Rovers), Brett Williams (Torquay United) and Iffy Allen (Wrexham). Smith has a good eye for up-and-coming talent and also brought in midfielder Josh Rees (Chelmsford City) and Luke Wannadio (Dartford) who have excelled to date, 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 10 matches so far this season, showing 35 yellow cards and 3 red cards to date. 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 @narnold10 or posting in the Aldershot Town Fans Facebook Group.