Bromley and Ebbsfleet United served up an entertaining feast of football on New Year’s Day in front of the BT Sport cameras at the H2T Group stadium, as the Ravens powered to a thrilling victory on a cold Monday night.
Fleet started very much on the front foot with Luke Coulson again causing problems for the Bromley defence early on, and nearly took the lead as he was given time and space to flick the ball over his man and bear down on goal, but just as he pulled the trigger, Josh Rees made a well timed challenge to block the shot.
Adam Mekki saw a lot of the ball early on and drifted towards the edge of the box to open up some space, but when he found it, he could only shoot well wide of Nathan Ashmore’s far post. Fleet then continued to attack, and Coulson was again at the forefront, as he weaved in and out of Bromley defenders in the box but when presented with an opportunity to shoot from the six yard box, somehow put his effort wide when it seemed easier to score.
That miss would prove costly for the Reds, as Bromley would go on to take the lead against the run of play just two minutes later. Superb interplay between George Porter and Louis Dennis saw the former hook a pass towards the edge of the penalty area for the latter, and Dennis anticipated the ball, surging towards the byeline to control it and shift his weight, before crossing into the six yard box, where the lurking Jack Holland prodded home a first time effort past the helpless Ashmore.
Eleven minutes after that, it would be two. Rees took the ball down on the edge of the penalty area and squared it to Mekki, who took a touch before narrowing his angle and shooting, only to see his effort deflected. However, this wrong footed Ashmore, who could only watch as the ball squirmed towards goal. Porter chased after it and slid in to deny the ball from going out for a corner, before taking it back onto the right side of goal and back-heeling it past Ashmore to double his side’s lead in cheeky fashion.
After 36 minutes, two would become three, and the Ravens were in dreamland. Rees showed persistence in the box to control an attempted clearance and feed the ball back out to Luke Wanadio, who was in the left wing position and level with the edge of the penalty area, and the diminutive winger sent in a teasing cross which looked to be met by the head of Dennis, only for it to avoid all of the players in the box and deceive Ashmore, before nestling in the back of the net.
As if that wasn’t enough, there was more drama to come before half time. Andy Drury took down a pass from Sam Magri in an advanced position in the box and tucked it past David Gregory at his near post to reduce the deficit.
After the break, it would be the home side who started the second half on the front foot, and Dennis almost capped off a good counter attack with a goal, only to see his effort, after a mazy run, fall harmlessly into the arms of Ashmore. Minutes later, Mekki repeated the feat on the far side of the box, but this time, after latching onto a through ball from Rees, cut inside and shot wide of goal.
After that, Fleet grabbed a second, ensuring a nervy remainder of the second half for the home side. Roger Johnson’s overhead clearance from just inside the penalty area was taken down and fed out wide to Sean Shields, who cut inside and lashed an effort at goal from an angle, which, despite the best efforts of Gregory, beat him and nestled in the bottom corner.
Chances then came fewer and further between, and it was Rees who would have two opportunities to give his side some breathing space with barely ten minutes remaining, as he first sent a dipping volley onto the roof of the net and then powered a fizzing drive wide of Ashmore’s left hand post, before Bromley nerves were finally settled with 85 minutes on the clock.
The in form Dennis positioned himself well, just inside the penalty area and took down a ball before shaping up for a volley at goal and seeing his effort deflect off an Ebbsfleet man and loop over the reach of the diving Ashmore and into the net.
That was enough for Bromley, who have showed great character to take six points from two tricky ties in the space of three days, ahead of the visit of AFC Fylde this Saturday.
Bromley XI: Gregory, Rees, Holland (C), Dennis, Mekki (Williams), Sterling, Wanadio (Higgs), Porter (Raymond), R.Johnson, Sutherland, Woolfenden.
Unused subs: D.Johnson, Vose.
Report by Matt Hall