A heavily depleted Bromley side made the trip to The Breyer Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with no less than seven players missing out through a combination of suspension, injury and international duty.
Adam Mekki, Frankie Sutherland, Frankie Raymond, Omar Bugiel, Jordan Higgs, Kyle De Silva and Max Huxter were all absent for the Ravens, meaning an already tough task against the second-placed O’s would be that much more difficult. Defenders Marc-Anthony Okoye and Alan Dunne, who had not played a minute of league football during the season to date, started in an unfamiliar centre midfield role.
However, it was the Ravens who dominated the first half. Restricting Orient to very few chances, and embarking on some neat attacking moves of their own, Bromley looked far from the patched-up side they were, with each player adapting to their new roles and looking to entertain the 541 strong Bromley support.
John Goddard was influential for the Ravens, and orchestrated their first chance. After a neat drop of the shoulder, he ran through towards the Orient box and threaded a pass through to Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, but his first touch was heavy, and Dean Brill came out to claim the ball before he had the chance to stab it home.
Two Goddard free kicks then caused further issues for the home side’s defence, with the first ending in a powerful Joe Quigley shot being blocked on its way to goal, before Roger Johnson, at full stretch, couldn’t quite divert an outswinging free kick goalwards.
Just after the half hour mark, a Goddard corner was half cleared by the hosts, and recycled back out to Goddard on the left. He swung in a well weighted cross, which was met by the head of Ogedi-Uzokwe, only for Jack Holland to unintentionally block his own man’s effort.
However, the Ravens would take a deserved lead on 41 minutes. A mazy run from Ogedi-Uzokwe to the left hand side of the box ended with a trip from Myles Judd, prompting a yellow card and a free kick to Bromley in a dangerous position. Up stepped Goddard, and after being set by Sam Wood from a tight angle, the on-loan Stevenage man struck a sweet, curling effort into the bottom corner, via a slight deflection, before turning to the delighted Bromley faithful.
Despite four additional minutes, the Ravens held firm to go into the break with the lead. During the final seconds, Dale Gorman curled an effort inches wide from the edge of the box, after Bromley had failed to clear their lines.
Four minutes into the second half would see Bromley gifted a golden chance to double their lead. After a defensive error from Leyton Orient, Goddard went through on goal, with only Brill to beat, but as he was about to pull the trigger and shoot, substitute Dan Happe intervened with a last ditch sliding tackle to deny him.
And only 6 minutes later, the hosts would be level. After giving away a free kick on the edge of the box, Bromley could only watch as O’s captain Jobi McAnuff struck a stunning effort into the top corner, giving David Gregory no chance.
Things would go from bad to worse for Bromley, as four minutes after that, they would be behind for the first time in the game. Happe’s clearance was latched onto by Macauley Bonne, who fed Josh Koroma. The latter then ran at the Bromley defence, before turning Holland and getting the better of Johnson, then coolly firing into the roof of the net. Unfortunately, Koroma resorted to celebrating in front of George Porter, leading to unsavoury scenes, with the Bromley man receiving a booking, but Koroma somehow getting away scot free.
After a couple of half chances for Bromley, the O’s would wrap up the game with 13 minutes left to play. After Craig Clay took aim from 25 yards with a low shot, Gregory could only parry the ball into the feet of the lurking Bonne, who had the simple task of tucking home from 8 yards.
As time went on, Bromley’s best chance of getting back into the game came courtesy of Porter, who cut inside and beat Josh Widdowson, before firing a deflected outside of the boot effort towards the bottom corner, only for Brill to make a good reaction save and tip the ball away.
Unfortunately for the Ravens, Orient held on to claim all three points and their first league victory over Bromley, but a heavily depleted squad can be proud of their efforts, particularly in a dominant first half.
Bromley XI: Gregory, Johnson, Holland (C), Dunne (Luque), Okoye, Porter, Ogedi-Uzokwe, Goddard, Wood, Brindley, Quigley (Goodman)
Unused substitutes: Enver, Rooney, Okoh
Attendance: 6058 (541 away)