Bromley 2 v 2 Billericay Town

Westview League Cup semi-final, 1st leg

DONAL O'Sullivan is the Irish darling of Hayes Lane after his 95th-minute equaliser sends Bromley to Essex for the second leg with every chance of reaching the League Cup final.

In a match which was as exciting as the 2-2 draw when these teams met in the league just four days ago, Bromley were staring down the barrel of defeat until the lanky striker netted his first goal in a Lillywhites shirt.

It also means the management trio of George Wakeling, Billy Smith and Frank Coles have masterminded 10 games without defeat despite having the well-reported sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.

Bromley travel to Billericay for the second leg on March 21 and no one would be surprised to see the teams add to the eight goals they have shared already this week.

For the opening leg Wakeling brought in the fit-again Nic McDonnell - who scored twice against Billericay at the weekend - for the absent Simon Mitchell and Adam Greenaway replaced the injured Gary Drewett.

The opening exchanges were scrappy but on 16 minutes Bromley took the lead and although McDonnell's name is on the scoresheet he owes a great deal to his teammates.

A passing move involving up to seven players started deep in the Lillywhites' half before Alan McLeod released the terrier-like Sam Wood down the left wing.

Matt Game, the back-tracking defender, made a hash of clearing the danger and Wood's low cross presented McDonnell with the easiest of tap-ins from inside the six-yard box.

The striker could have doubled the lead almost immediately when Des Boateng's deft flick from within the penalty box found him in space but this time McDonnell was off target.

Stone fired across goal from 25 yards after a slip by Danny Kerrigan on 20 minutes but it was to be Bromley's last chance of the half as Billericay fought back.

Danny Brown, who scored Billericay's second goal at the weekend, saw his header fly over while Nathan Elder, who scored Billericay's first goal at the weekend, fired a fierce volley down Andy Walker's throat.

Moments later Elder set up Joe Flack but the striker kicked at air rather than the ball and then Lee Hodges blazed over the bar.

However, it was Hodges who brought the best out of Walker on 40 minutes with a stinging drive which the keeper palmed away.

Just before the whistle McDonnell almost got through the defence but Billericay had shut up shop and the half was over.

It was McDonnell's last contribution as he did not re-emerge from the dressing room with O'Sullivan taking his place.

Boateng's through ball set the striker bearing down on goal and he and keeper Ricky Millard had a remarkable duel where three O'Sullivan shots were blocked.

Credit should go to both players - O'Sullivan for persistence and getting each shot on target and to Millard who will not pull off a better string of saves all season.

At the other end Elder was getting closer as his whipped shot from the corner of the six-yard box cannoned off Walker's feet.

He went close again with a boucing header before O'Sullivan clipped the Billericay cross bar with a header of his own.

On 67 minutes Wakeling introduced Joe Vines for Gardner and Bromley switched from 4-4-2 to 3-5-2 with disastrous effect.

Billericay exploited the space left on both wings and on 76 minutes substitute Dave Collins' long cross from the extreme left landed where Colin Luckett would normally have been on the right of the penalty area.

Instead it found visiting skipper Leon Hunter and he made no mistake, shooting across Walker for 1-1.

Four minutes later disaster struck when Vines obstructed Flack's run through in the penalty area and referee Ford immediately pointed to the spot.

Hunter made no mistake and the travelling band of fans behind the goal celebrated as if they had won the cup there and then - for his part in the over-exuberant celebrations - Hunter received a yellow card.

Bromley rallied through a Stone shot deflected wide and a corner which somehow elduded everyone as it travelled along the goal line.

When Luckett blazed over and Billericay made a time-wasting substitution on 92 minutes you would be forgiven for thinking the first leg was over.

However, McLeod's long throw-in from the right caused havoc in the Billericay penalty area and the ball eventually broke to O'Sullivan who beat Millard close range for the goal his performance richly deserved.

The home faithful had barely caught their breath before the referee blew for full time.

Come next Tuesday the teams will face each other for the third time in nine days and only a fool would bet on a winner or a goalless draw.


BROMLEY: Walker, 6; McLeod, 6; Luckett, 6; Henriques, 7; Willy, 6; Greenway, 6; Gardner, 6 (Vines, 67, 5); Boateng, 7; Stone, 7; McDonnell, 6 (O'Sullivan, 45, 8); Wood, 7.