Fleet enjoyed a home win over Bromley for the first time since the 2014 play-off semi-final as their clinical first-half goalscoring performance saw them home against a visiting side equally threatening in attack during the opening period. Luke Coulson also saw two shots crash off the crossbar and Fleet defended well in the second half to give them a deserved win that takes them above Bromley into ninth place with one game left of 2017.
Daryl McMahon named an unchanged lineup as Fleet looked to make it five wins out of five at home but his defenders had to be sharp early on as Bromley began with purpose up front. When a ball across midfield was intercepted, a cross into Josh Rees looked threatening but he failed to hit it first time and Kenny Clark was able to block his eventual effort inside the box.
Former Dartford winger Luke Wanadio had the next chance as he showed a turn of pace and skill to ease past the Fleet defence and strike a low shot that Nathan Ashmore had to get down to at his near post. Bromley looked swift with Wanadio and Louis Dennis profiting from George Porter’s hold-up play and distribution and it was clear that getting it to Porter to lay off to his skilful attacking partners was the visitors’ tactic.
Fleet began to make their own in-roads, however, and Coulson saw a shot come back off Jack Holland before his side took the lead on the quarter hour. An attack from the left starting with Andy Drury didn’t appear to be too threatening but a ball inside to Clark was nudged on by Danny Kedwell and sat up for Jack Powell whose shot seemed as much instinct as placement but nonetheless arrowed into the corner away from goalkeeper David Gregory’s dive.
That lead lasted barely five minutes, however, as Porter battled with Connors for the ball down the right flank. With shirts being tugged, Porter managed to break free from Connors on the byline and pick his spot for a cross into Louis Dennis who finished coolly past Ashmore from 10 yards.
It was an exciting spell of play and Fleet almost regained their advantage on 21 minutes when Myles Weston’s cross dropped for Coulson and he went for power and precision, a curling shot smashing off the crossbar from just outside the box.
Dennis continued to threaten at the other end and Luke Woolfenden should have done better than overhit an attempted through ball for Porter after a ball into Drury had put him under pressure and Bromley counter-attacked.
But Fleet edged ahead once more on 29 minutes when Coulson’s delightful piece of skill wrong-footed the Bromley defence as he turned outside Roger Johnson and supplied a low pass into the six-yard box that Kedwell gobbled up for his 11th league goal of the season.
Coulson had another opportunity with an excellently struck dipping effort that flashed just wide, which came moments after Ashmore had saved well from Wanadio. The ever-dangerous Dennis also saw another shot at the Fleet goal deflected behind for a corner in the last action of an absorbing half.
Bromley came out all guns firing in the second half, with Fleet having switched Sam Magri to left-back and brought on Marvin McCoy in place of Connors. The move was designed to combat the threat of Wanadio and Porter but initially the visitors kept their hosts penned back. McCoy was immediately into action when Ashmore overran an attempted clearance and Porter’s deep cross wasn’t far off but for the Fleet substitute’s alertness at the far post. Clark also had to head another searching cross out from beneath his own bar as Bromley continued to apply pressure.
Nonetheless, the home side came closer to a goal on 51 minutes when Weston’s inswinging free-kick was cleared as far as Coulson whose acrobatic effort again rattled the bar and Dave Winfield could only half-connect with a difficult rebound and his equally agile shot ran off target.
Drury and Winfield earned routine saves from Gregory but there were few chances of note in a second-half that became a little bogged down in midfield for a 20-minute spell. Wanadio failed to sparkle for the visitors in the second half and was withdrawn on 71 minutes while Porter didn’t link up particularly well with substitute Brett Williams as Bromley went in search of an equaliser.
Fleet perked up again from the 70-minute mark and Kedwell almost pulled off an audacious pass into Powell’s path before he could be found getting in the way of Dennis back inside his own penalty box.
But Bromley began to turn the screw in the final 10 minutes, pumping testing balls towards the Fleet defence. Dennis still looked to be their main outlet and he twice flashed efforts across goal. Fleet were reliant on the counterattack and Coulson sprang clear, racing upfield with intent until Jordan Higgs cut him down on the halfway line to receive a caution. Ashmore saved a late free-kick from the edge of the box and in more than seven minutes of time added on, the Fleet defence had to be at their most disciplined, though were almost undone by a late throw-in that landed 12 yards out but Dennis pulled his effort wide through a crowd of players.
EUFC: Ashmore, Magri, Connors (McCoy 46), Winfield, Clark, Rance, Drury, Powell (Bush 90), Weston (Shields 78), Coulson, Kedwell. Subs not used: McLean, Miles
BFC: Gregory, Woolfenden, Holland, R Johnson, Sterling, Rees (Chorley 85), Higgs, Raymond (Williams 60), Wanadio (Mekki 71), Dennis, Porter. Subs not used: D Johnson. Vose