5 December 2023
Bromley got their first win of the season by defeating Eastleigh 3-0 in a physical game at Hayes Lane.
The first key opportunity in the game fell to the visitors. Tom Whelan’s corner was met by Eastleigh captain Andrew Boyce, who forced a great save from Mark Cousins from point blank range. A crucial save from Bromley’s number one to say the least.
After the 10th minute, Bromley nearly took the lead through Michael Cheek. A delivery found the striker at the back post, where he saw his headed effort come off the inside of the post. Following Cheek’s chance, Joe Partington’s delightful ball was met by James Alabi whose header was easily caught by Joe McDonnell.
Alabi was once again involved in the action, as he produced a skilful flick to Corey Whitely, who only had the keeper to beat, but the winger saw his low effort saved by McDonnell. Then the moment the Bromley faithful had been waiting for came. James Alabi took advantage of a poor backpass from Christian Maghoma, racing through on goal and calmly slotting in his first goal of the season.
Despite going down, the visitors were determined to equalise. Ryan Hill received the ball on the edge of the area, and he took on Omar Sowunmi and forced Cousins to get down low and palm the ball away. Overall, a good half for Bromley, despite the very physical challenges from the opposition.
The second half commenced and Eastleigh looked to equalise through Hill. Michael Kelly sent in a fine delivery, to which the former Stoke City academy player failed to get a proper connection on the ball and Cousins saved the effort.
Bromley doubled their lead shortly after. A sumptuous through ball was played to Whitely by Sam Skeffington, and the former broke through and finished with ease, with only McDonnell to beat. Moments later, a powerful long range effort from Jake Hesketh forced Cousins into a fingertip save, tipping the ball over the bar.
As the game reached the hour mark, following a challenge on the edge of Bromley’s penalty area and a fracas between players from both teams, Luke Coulson was sent off in controversial circumstances. The Spitfires tried to get back into the game, as Hill’s free-kick was saved by Cousins. The keeper was once again called into action minutes later, as he got down low to save a shot from substitute Danny Whitehall.
The game was finished in style by none other than the National League’s top goal scorer last season. Cheek latched onto the ball just inside the box, and with a great first touch, took the ball past a defender and placed it into the bottom corner.
A fantastic result for the Ravens, who head to The Proact Stadium to face Chesterfield next Saturday 4th September.
Bromley: 1 Mark Cousins, 2 Joe Partington, 4 Billy Bingham, 6 Omar Sowunmi, 7 Luke Coulson, 8 Jude Arthurs (Trotter), 9 Michael Cheek, 10 James Alabi (Bush), 15 Sam Skeffington (Stevenson), 17 Byron Webster (C), 18 Corey Whitely
Unused Subs: 12 Sean O’Brien, 19 Harry Forster
Report by Alex Exadactylos