A second-half onslaught from Bromley closed out Fleet’s difficult season as the home side eased to what was a token three points in this ‘dead rubber’ of a fixture – but one that Neil Smith’s team more than deserved.
Fleet ended the season with opportunities for some who had lacked first-team chances and Jonathan Miles started in goal, Freddy Moncur in midfield and Arif Omar also making his full league debut. Another Academy prospect, Mathew Achuba, took his place on the bench.
It was little shock that the game lacked bite in the early stages, both sides playing a neat passing game but at a more pedestrian pace than might have been the case had more been riding on it.
Nonetheless, there were Fleet players who looked keen to impress and Moncur was lively and level-headed in midfield, Dean Rance proving a big help to the defenders behind him.
Bromley looked the more controlled and attack-minded and Miles had to be out quickly to deny JJ Hooper on eight minutes as the home side begin to pick their passes to the front men.
The Ravens gradually increased their set-piece count and put Fleet under added pressure. Omar, who played alongside Luke Coulson in a Kent Senior Cup tie at Sevenoaks this season, held his own against his former teammate but it was Coulson who almost set up an opener on 15 minutes. He found Jordan Higgs lurking out right and as Miles came out to narrow the angle, the Bromley player smashed a shot off the post.
Coulson did indeed get an assist six minutes later when he found George Porter in much the same position and a steady first touch allowed Porter to fire home past Miles from 12 yards.
Fleet responded well and Danny Kedwell accepted Coulson’s errant touch to home in on goal, squaring for Rance who belted a shot at goalkeeper David Gregory. It was a decent spell for the Fleet and Whitely flashed an effort across goal from an excellent Kedwell leap and downward header.
Omar drew the first booking as he turned Roger Johnson on the edge of his own box and crossed the halfway line only to be upended by Sam Wood. Kedwell then had one last chance to get the Fleet level when he flicked a ball over Jack Holland’s head and fired the ball just wide as it dropped the other side of the Bromley defender.
But for all Fleet’s efforts, Bromley effectively wrapped up the game five minutes into the second half. Neat play on the edge of the Fleet box saw Frankie Sutherland shape for a shot on goal just inside the 18-yard line and he was tripped by Chris Bush, converting the spot-kick himself for 2-0.
Bromley eased into the lead even further seven minutes later when Coulson’s shot from inside the box cannoned off his fellow Raven, Hooper, but Richard Brindley merely had to stab the ball into the gap to Miles’ left.
Kedwell slotted in at centre-half as Michael Cheek replaced Sam Magri and Fleet found a consolation goal just past the hour mark when Cheek’s cross was met by Bagasan Graham. His shot was blocked but Andy Drury was there to thread an accurate shot past Gregory.
Any thoughts of a revival were dispelled within two minutes when Bromley eased to a 4-1 lead, Coulson’s cross picking out Hooper who just had to keep his head and his eye on the ball.
Miles denied Coulson the goal the former Fleet man craved with a decent low block and then late on had to stop Brindley’s powerful long-range effort. Before that, Fleet had given Achuba his debut from the bench but Coulson got his goal in time added on when he broke clear and slotted it out of Miles’ reach with no defender nearby.
Drury had tried to keep Fleet ticking in midfield but in truth the whistle was a blessing as the season’s finale was a perhaps predictable end to a trying campaign as the club goes into a summer of change.
EUFC: Miles, Omar (Achuba 66), Bush, Magri (Cheek 57), Rance, Drury, Moncur (Adams 75), Graham, Weston, Whitely, Kedwell. Subs not used: Wilson, Ashmore
BFC: Gregory, Sutherland, Johnson (Okoye 70), Holland, Raymond (Hines 81), Higgs, Porter, Wood, Brindley, Coulson, Hooper (Sarpong-Wiredu 66). Subs not used: Dunne, Nakov