BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Bromley were dumped out of the FA Cup after a spirited performance against League One Peterborough United at Hayes Lane.
The National League outfit had taken a first-half lead through Roger Johnson, but the game hinged on a controversial red-card dished out to Bromley’s Frankie Raymond just before the interval. Matt Godden levelled up moments later, before adding a second in the opening exchanges of the second-half to edge the visitors ahead.
Joe Ward made the game safe for the EFL side in the closing stages, with Bromley unable to taste victory in the first round of the FA Cup for a first time in 73 years.
The League One side dominated possession from the offset as Bromley looked to set-pieces for their best hope of creating openings.
Posh’s George Cooper had long-range efforts come close early-on, with the home side throwing themselves in-front of them to deny clear shots at goal. He also curled a free-kick over the bar as the visitors dominated the opening ten minutes.
Once Bromley settled, they started to grow into the contest. Johnson came close as he tried to back-heel a loose ball in as a free-kick dropped to him six yards out, before home stopper David Gregory reacted well to keep out Godden’s close-range header.
Adam Mekki had an effort saved from an angle for the Ravens before Omar Bugiel came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock for Neil Smith’s side. A deep-free kick fell into the path of the Lebanese international, only for his drive to be scrambled clear from on the line.
The hosts did edge into a surprise lead five minutes before the break. Posh keeper Aaron Chapman flapped hopelessly at a deep free-kick, with former Charlton man Johnson rising highest at the far-post to loop a header into the unguarded net.
The National League outfit looked on-course for an upset – but the game swung on it’s head thanks to a moment of controversy just before the break.
Raymond was shown a straight red-card after tangling with Cooper in-front of the visiting Peterborough fans – although replays showed it was an extremely soft decision by referee Kevin Johnson, who was surely influenced by Cooper’s dramatic fall to the ground.
Godden rubbed salt into the Bromley wounds moments later when he volleyed Steve Evans’ side onto level terms as the resultant free-kick was returned into the area.
The depleted Lilywhites, who haven’t won an FA Cup 1st round tie since the 1945-46 season, were facing an uphill battle during the second-period and fell behind ten minutes into it.
Jason Naismith’s ball in was swept home by Godden on the half-volley from eight yards out as he grabbed his second of the game and silenced the majority of the bumper 3,107 crowd at Hayes Lane.
Gregory reacted superbly to tip Naismith’s rising drive over the bar moments later, before Bromley’s George Porter saw a curled effort easily held on what was becoming a rare foray forward for the underdogs.
Ward rattled the bar from range for Posh, before eventually finishing the contest off with just over five minutes left to play.
The hosts had everyone forward for a set-piece but Posh launched counter-attach, with Ward finishing calmly past Gregory to pave a way through to the second-round for Steve Evans’ side.