Salford City host Bromley at The Peninsula Stadium on Saturday in the final game of March (KO 15:00).
Wednesday’s win at Harrogate Town made it six games unbeaten this month for The Ammies, and still yet to concede a goal in over 550 minutes of football.
It is a run that has significantly helped the push for a play-off place, and having started March in fifth Salford are now third; a point behind Solihull Moors and one ahead of Wrexham, all having played 40 games. Leyton Orient are still top by three points and with two games in hand, but the gauntlet has definitely been laid to claim a place in the play-off semi-finals while keeping the pressure on the leaders.
Last season’s FA Trophy finalists finished just outside the play-offs last season, but have had to settle for a mid-table finish this year. Just how high that will be is up to them, but they can have an influence on how the top of the table looks with home games against Orient and Solihull following in the next few weeks.
Bromley got off to a slow start and by the end of September they had just three wins, but keeping their heads above water with a good run around that time which boosted them up to mid-table. An FA Cup exit at the hands of Peterborough United in the First Round caused a stumbling block, as did the FA Trophy First Round match against Sutton, which although Bromley won, they were removed from the competition for fielding an ineligible player.
However since then The Ravens have lost just five of 16, and can look forward to preparing for another season at this level. They were promoted to the National League for the first time in 2015 after winning the Conference South, and year-on-year have improved with 14th, 10th and 9th placed finishes. Last year was capped off by that trip to Wembley, although it ended in disappointment.
This season has also seen work started on a new 1,450-seater stand behind one of the goals which also has a community hub in it, so things are certainly moving in the right direction for Bromley.
Unfortunately for Neil Smith’s side, three of those five league defeats since just before Christmas have come in their last five games. The Ravens didn’t score in any of those defeats, but have responded with seven goals in two games; a 3-3 draw against Chesterfield – when The Spireites equalised twice in the last 10 minutes – and a 4-2 win at Braintree Town.
The Ravens have won two, drawn one and lost two of their last five on the road, and haven’t won away at the other six in the top seven (D1 L5).
One to Watch – JJ Hooper
The forward only joined Bromley in December on loan from Grimsby Town, but he is already top scorer having scored 10 goals in 16 matches, and he is in form with three goals in the last two matches.
Hooper started his career at nearby Cray Wanderers from where Newcastle United signed him. Loan spells followed for the 25-year-old at Workington and Darlington before he joined Northampton Town, Havant & Waterlooville and Port Vale. The 25-year-old signed for Grimsby in 2017.
There is only one game between the clubs, which came back in September when we won 2-0 at Hayes Lane. Rory Gaffney had headed Salford in front before half time, and early in the second half Adam Mekki was sent off for a challenge on Nathan Pond. Tom Walker made certain of the points on the hour mark after Bromley were caught on the break. See the highlights from the game below.