An entertaining clash between Eastleigh and Bromley at the Silverlake Stadium saw the sides each take a share of the spoils at full time, despite the fact Bromley trailed by two goals after 20 minutes.

The home side looked the brighter from kickoff, and took the lead after 11 minutes. A long ball was pumped forwards, looking for the head of Paul McCallum. Dan Johnson rose high and attempted to head it clear, but instead, the ball slid off his head and behind him, allowing McCallum to stride through on goal and slot past David Gregory.

Less than ten minutes later, the Spitfires’ lead would be doubled. A troublesome delivery from a corner was not cleared by Bromley, and the ball made its way across goal and to the far post, where McCallum prodded home for his second.

Bromley would see themselves back in the game six minutes later with a goal from nothing. Roger Johnson picked the ball up midway inside the Eastleigh half and produced a floated ball into the box, which saw Josh Rees rise high and head into the bottom corner, despite the best efforts of Graham Stack.

Bromley manager Neil Smith then made an early substitution, which saw Dan Johnson replaced by Brett Williams, who would play in his usual centre forward position, meaning makeshift striker Jack Holland returned to centre back. This move paid off almost instantly, as a matter of minutes later, Williams would be on the scoresheet to level things up. The Southampton born striker and former Eastleigh man took down a lofted pass out on the right wing, before beating Callum Howe for pace and cutting into the box. He then expertly sidestepped to force Stack into an awkward position, before finishing low past the Spitfires’ stopper.

After the half time break, it would be Bromley who would take the lead, and for the first time in the match. Johnson gained his second assist of the match, after his long clearance was expertly taken down by Louis Dennis, who held off a challenge with his back to goal before turning and drifting into a central position just outside the box, where he let fly with a curling drive from 25 yards, which was out of the reach of the diving Stack and duly nestled in the top corner.

However, the lead would be short lived, as Bromley would be made to pay for failing to clear a corner for the second time of the game, and once again it would be McCallum who would profit, heading in off the underside of the crossbar for his hat trick. There was nearly an immediate response from Bromley, as Frankie Raymond produced an inch perfect, inswinging free kick delivery, which was met by the head of Holland and directed towards goal, only for Stack to react well to tip it over the crossbar.

As time drew on and both sides made their final substitutions, there was to be late drama. In the 87th minute, Dennis once again took down a long ball, this time from Holland, and retained possession out wide, before cutting in from the left and taking a shot from just inside the box, which found the bottom corner to the delight of the 73-strong travelling support, prompting wild celebrations amongst players and fans.

However, the joy was to be short lived, as just a minute later, Sam Mathews, who scored against Bromley in this fixture last year, curled in an unstoppable strike from just outside the box to once again restore parity in what can only be described as an end to end affair on the South Coast.

In the end, both sides would have to settle for a point, which, on reflection, will be seen as a fair result and a superb advert for the Vanarama National League.

Attendance: 1,751 (73 Bromley supporters)

Bromley XI: Gregory, Rees, Holland (C), Raymond (Chorley), Dennis, Mekki (Wanadio), Higgs, D.Johnson (Williams), Sterling, R.Johnson, Sutherland.

Unused substitutes: Allen, Vose.

 

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