The Hatters completed their Easter weekend programme back in SK3, and before the television cameras, but were unable to break down 10th-placed Bromley, as Edgeley Park witnessed its fourth goalless stalemate of the campaign.
County took to the field on a sunny but chilly Easter Monday for a tea-time kick-off to accommodate the live TV coverage, and showing two changes from the Good Friday starting line-up at Aldershot. Macauley Southam-Hales and John Rooney were the players recalled – replacing Sam Minihan, who was named among the substitutes, and Derby loanee Jack Stretton, who had been recalled one match early by his parent club.
A County break, with just over three minutes played, led to the evening’s first chance – finding Tom Walker, who dragged wide of the far post from the left of goal. And Southam-Hales threatened from the opposite flank shortly afterwards, as he lofted over a delivery for visiting goalkeeper Mark Cousins to claim.
The ‘Ravens’ caught sight of goal after the quarter-hour mark, courtesy of Frankie Raymond – whose shot from the edge of the box was on target but comfortably gathered by Ben Hinchliffe. County, however, remained dominant in possession – and, at the other end, Cousins had twice to deny Rooney in quick succession, as he parried an initial shot before tipping the follow-up effort around the right post.
Bromley’s forays upfield remained at a relative premium – although James Jennings had to be at his best in blocking a shot from the National League’s top scorer Michael Cheek, after a break by the visitors 11 minutes ahead of the interval.
HALF-TIME: County 0, Bromley 0.
A good move down the left flank involving Jennings and Walker, four minutes after the resumption, led to Ryan Croasdale’s low shot from the area’s edge that Cousins dived to smother. And the Bromley ‘keeper’s opposite number was called into action moments later – with Hinchliffe scrambling away Raymond’s fee-kick from distance.
Each side earned a couple of corners apiece around the hour-mark – while the visitors sought to cause pressure in the County box through several trademark long throws from Chris Bush. But clear-cut attempts in either final third were still rather few and far between as the contest entered its final quarter of an hour.
The Chorley loanees then combined nicely for County, as Harry Cardwell nodded the ball down for substitute Elliot Newby to half-volley over. A cross by Southam-Hales from the right was met by Paddy Madden, whose shot flashed wide of the near upright. And, just prior to added time, as if to mirror the start of the half, Jennings from the left fed Croasdale, whose strike was again saved by Cousins.
FULL-TIME: County 0, Bromley 0.
Team (3-4-1-2): Hinchliffe; Hogan (Capt.), Palmer, J. Jennings; Southam-Hales, Collar (Newby, 58), Croasdale, Walker (Minihan, 76); Rooney; Cardwell, Madden.
Unused Subs: Keane, Reid, Fitzsimons.
Man of the Match: Palmer.
Reporter: Gareth Evans.
Photographer: Mike Petch.