Form finders Bromley beckoned south-east side Eastleigh for an enticing Tuesday night encounter, with the hosts previously unbeaten for nine games, and without a loss against the Spitfires since October 2020. The visitors, however, also came into the fixture off the back of a good spell, with two wins in their last three, sitting seven places below the Ravens in 12th.  

A first start for Kido Taylor-Hart and Lewis Leigh promised a scintillating spectacle for Bromley fans – Andy Woodman’s men started cohesively, but it was the visitors with the first real chance of the game, as Oscar Rutherford narrowly evaded the lunge of Jude Arthurs before firing across goal in search of an orange shirt; danger man Paul McCallum failed to guide his effort beyond Grant Smith. 

Moments later, Ravens winger Corey Whitely came close to netting his fourth of the season, only thwarted by the outstretched gloves of Eastleigh number one Joe McDonnell; it wasn’t long before McDonnell was beaten, but the linesman’s raised flag blocked Taylor Hart’s effort from marking the scoresheet. 

Academy product Ben Krauhaus looked to make it two goals in two games, following his strike against an unbeaten Solihull side, but the youngster’s rocket found itself gathered in the palms of McDonnell.  

The momentum of the game clearly tipped in Bromley’s favour as the half progressed, and Leigh tried his luck from range following a clever cutback from Whitely; the midfielder’s attempt sailed over the bar. At the other end, defensive excellence from Chin Okoli prevented the hosts from trailing going into the break. 

End to end action continued to ensue, as Krauhaus continued to probe – his guided effort towards goal was quelled by a much needed block to keep the scoreline even.  

Yet another opportunity arose for the Ravens thirty minutes in, and the deadlock was smashed wide open – a teasing corner from Leigh culminated in a bullet header for Okoli’s second goal of the season thundering past a defenceless McDonnell, boosting Bromley to a 1-0 lead at the break. 

Bromley continued in the same vein of aggression at the start of the second half, and Eastleigh’s shield ceased to protect them from the relentless bullets of the Bromley attack – McDonnell managed to save Whitely’s probing shot from an advantageous angle, before the ‘keeper expertly diverged a Callum Reynolds looping header seconds later.  

Aidan Barlow thought he’d levelled it for his side on 50 minutes; a spectacular save from Smith propelled any danger, with the Ravens number one palming the effort around his post. 

Spitfires substitute Luka Chadwell carved out an intricate chance 70 minutes in, finishing with a ferocious flash across goal, but Smith between the sticks came to Bromley’s aid once again, preventing the number 26 from opening his account for the season. 

The Ravens’ backline was called into action in the closing minutes as the Spitfires sought a route back into the game. Substitute Bim Pepple provided a direct release for the hosts up front, chasing every loose ball and allowing his side to re-energise.  

Pebble could not believe he hadn’t carved his name into the scoresheet on 90 minutes, as his blistering surge of pace in the final third saw him one-on-one with McDonnell; the number 19’s effort beat the ‘keeper, but could not beat the post – agonisingly close. 

One last chance for Eastleigh presented itself, as the men in orange flocked towards the 16 yard box, including ‘keeper McDonnell; the subsequent cross could not evade the punching gloves of Smith. 

The referee’s final whistle marked double digits for Bromley’s unbeaten run, seeing the Ravens soaring in 5th place in the National League, with this result causing the Spitfires to nosedive down to 15th place, their first away defeat of the month. Up next, the Ravens face fellow play-off pushers Gateshead, sat one place above Bromley in the table.  

Written by Daniel Catlin 

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