Ebbsfleet United bowed out of the Kent Reliance Senior Cup after a last-gasp effort from Bromley striker Brett Williams removed the need for penalties as the prospect of spot-kicks loomed. It was tough on Fleet who had enjoyed the bulk of possession and territory across the 90 minutes.
As expected, both sides played a combination of first-team squad players and academy/trialists. Of Fleet’s lineup, none of the starting eleven had begun the game against Maidenhead on Saturday and it included manager Daryl McMahon and Stacy Long. Also selected were Jean-Yves Niate, a central defender who played against the Fleet for Oxford City last season, and former Wealdstone youth teamer Harvie Gardiner.
Bromley’s side contained eight of their first-team squad, six of whom had been in their 16 for last weekend’s match v Hartlepool.
Sean Shields and Danny Mills caught the eye early on for the Fleet who looked bright in the opening stages. Shields zipped in from the wing on numerous occasions and was at the heart of most of Fleet’s forward play in the first half, while Mills’ aerial ability was clear to see. The first chance arrived on 12 minutes when Shields and Bagasan Graham exchanged passes and a low cross into the box was met first-time by Anthony Cook but goalkeeper David Gregory was down well to block it.
The next chance came Bromley’s way six minutes later when Makhosini Khanye sprung free away from the Fleet defence and tried to lob Jonathan Miles, his effort bouncing just wide.
Fleet were looking the more likely, however, and Mills saw one shot blocked after a great pass from Long, before being inches way from a Cook delivery across goal. Shields pulled a shot just wide on 25 minutes and Long again fashioned a half-chance for Mills.
The game settled into something of a lull from the half-hour mark but the home side were soon back into their stride in the second half. There was plenty of good football and the match was played at a decent pace but neither side could fashion a chance worthy of real note, though Tahjae Anderson’s crossfield shot skipped past the Fleet post. Long did his best to unlock the Bromley back four with a good range of passing and alongside him McMahon dropped an inviting cross into the box but no Fleet player could capitalise.
With 20 minutes left, the game opened up and it went end to end for a spell, with Fleet winning three corners in succession. For Bromley, Williams caught sight of goal on 70 minutes with a shot just wide and he began to test the Fleet defence when he pounced on some hesitation to steam his way into the box, but Miles was well placed to save the goalbound effort with his legs.
At the other end, Fleet’s best chance saw Mills tussle with Kristian Campbell and edge ahead to go one on one with Gregory but the goalkeeper got a block in. Cook sent a free-kick wide and Gardiner despatched a header into a similar area.
But it was Bromley who had their eyes on the target in the closing stages. Three minutes from time Frankie Raymond powered his way into a shooting position and Miles pulled off a fine save before scooping up the follow-up shot at his near post from Jordan Higgs. A minute later, Williams should really have opened the scoring when he controlled a ball in plenty of space but with just Miles to beat, side-footed a shot wide.
He made no mistake in the final minute, however, when a Bromley attack down the left saw an Iffy Allen delivery land in the box and Williams converted it from close range. Fleet tried to recover and Niate headed just off target in the dying seconds but it was to no avail.
EUFC: Miles, Boulding, Graham, Gardiner, Niate, Miller-Neave, Long (Omar 87), McMahon (Ali 89), Shields, Cook, Mills. Subs not used: Nourse, Sears, Rance
BFC: Gregory, Dunne, Johnson, Campbell, Stanic-Stewart, Raymond, Peter-Brown (Lovely 77), Allen, Williams, Higgs (Baskerville 90), Khanye (T Anderson 57). Subs not used: Burba, D Anderson