5 December 2023
Bromley made the trip South to take on Eastleigh at the Silverlake Stadium on a windy Saturday afternoon, with both sides looking to bounce back from defeats in their respective previous fixtures.
It was the Ravens who would dominate the first 45 minutes, and would go into the break perhaps feeling a little frustrated not to have broken the deadlock. On three minutes, Michael Cheek latched onto a well weighted through ball from Jack Bridge, but shot narrowly wide from the corner of the box.
It would be Cheek who went close again not long after. Jack Payne’s attempted headed clearance looped behind him and into his own box. Cheek anticipated the error and went one on one with McDonnell, only to scuff his shot, making for an easy save.
Four minutes later, would come an even better chance for Bromley. Frankie Raymond’s deep free kick was nodded goalwards by Jack Holland, only for Joe McDonnell to produce a reaction save, tipping the ball over the crossbar.
The hosts’ best chance would come on 24 minutes. Tom Blair got beyond Raymond from out wide and drilled a low cross into the six yard box looking for Ben House, but Byron Webster intercepted it just in time, prodding it wide.
Courtney Duffus would be the next to try his luck with a speculative, curling shot on the turn, which took a slight deflection and dipped just wide of goal.
As half time drew closer, Cheek would continue to play the danger man for Bromley. After being found by Liam Trotter deep inside his own half, he went on a long, surging run, ending up in the Eastleigh penalty area, where his low effort was deflected wide.
On the stroke of the whistle, Luke Coulson could have made it two goals in two visits to his former Club, but slotted wide at the back post after receiving the ball from Trotter.
In the second half, it was the hosts who would take the lead with virtually their first attempt on target. After a succession of crosses, Tyrone Barnett was in the right place at the right time to finish from inside a crowded box.
However, on 65 minutes, Bromley were level. Magic footwork from Bridge saw him beat three Eastleigh defenders, before being fouled. As he was being fouled, he crossed the ball into the six yard box, where Coulson tapped home. However, the referee blew his whistle to bring play back for a free kick, meaning the goal would not count. Yet, it didn’t matter, as Holland climbed highest to nod the resulting free kick from Raymond into the back of the net.
Despite dominating, the Ravens had to remain alert, as Mark Cousins did well to get down to his left and save Ryan Hill’s low drive.
The sides continued to battle in what was a physical but well disciplined affair. Cheek would soon force multiple and quite incredible close range saves from McDonnell, only for the offside flag to be raised.
However, four minutes from time, Bromley would take the lead. More excellent play from Bridge saw him cut into the box and pull the ball back across the face of goal, where Duffus’ deflected shot would eventually find the net, with the last touch coming off Michael Green.
The Ravens held out for the remaining minutes and weathered the storm in additional time, avenging the 2-1 defeat by the Spitfires at Hayes Lane earlier in the season.
Bromley XI: Cousins, Kizzi, Holland, Coulson, Raymond, Cheek, Duffus (Alabi), Maloney, Trotter, Webster (C), Bridge (Wakefield)
Unused substitutes: Roberts, Williamson, Vincent