Published: 17:00, 03 May 2014 |
Updated: 18:07, 03 May 2014
Ebbsfleet are in the Skrill South play-off final despite losing the second leg of their semi-final at Bromley.
They will play manager Steve Brown's old club Dover Athletic at Stonebridge Road in what promises to be one of the great days in Kent non-league football history.
Danny Waldren scored the only goal of the game at Hayes Lane but it was ultimately in vain as Ebbsfleet went through courtesy of their 4-0 home win in the first leg.
Their aggregate win was soured somewhat by a late red card for Dean Rance, which will rule the influential midfielder out of the final next Saturday.
Ashley Nicholls, suspended after being sent-off nine minutes into the first leg, was one of four changes Mark Goldberg made to his Bromley line-up. Dean Pooley, Ali Fuseini and Jay May, who all started at Stonebridge Road, were dropped to the bench. The four players drafted in were Adam Bailey-Dennis, Elliott Buchanan, Sam Higgins and Louis Dennis.
The visitors' starting XI bore only one change, with Shane Huke given a game in central defence and Osei Sankofa named among the substitutes.
After a cagey start, which would have suited the visitors, Bromley started to get their foot on the ball. Joe Anderson had a shot deflected towards the bottom corner but Preston Edwards got down well to save at his near post.
There were no alarms for Ebbsfleet in the first quarter of the game and the travelling fans were then celebrating what they believed was an opening goal. Ben May bundled in Alex Osborn's cross from the right but the striker had used his hand and the goal was chalked off.
Bromley promptly went down the other end and scored, Waldren brilliantly volleying Anderson's high left-wing delivery beyond the right hand of Edwards.
That goal brought the home crowd to life and the men in white shirts began to pour forward. Bradley Goldberg led a rapid Bromley break and the Fleet looked stretched for a moment, before clearing their lines.
But the visitors couldn't get out of their own half and it was one-way traffic for the rest of the first half. Anderson shot just wide from 25 yards and when Sam Higgins tried his luck from similar range, Edwards had to turn the ball behind.
Ebbsfleet survived through to the interval but suddenly the home faithful were believing again.
Whatever Brown said to his players at half-time, they came out for the second half looking more composed and Bromley's momentum was slowed.
Billy Bricknell found himself in acres of space on the edge of the box but he couldn't bring the ball down first time and when he did get a shot away, it was well blocked.
Waldren got his head on a deep right-wing cross but his effort was straight at Edwards.
The clock was against Bromley and they almost fell further behind on aggregate when Daryl McMahon thumped a shot just wide from 20 yards.
Anthony Cook went close moments later before Bromley substitute Jay May nodded a right-wing cross over the bar. Bromley were bombarding the Fleet box with high balls but Edwards was in commanding form, catching them all.
And when one cross did find Waldren unmarked at the back post, Edwards made a fantastic save to deny the midfielder a second goal.
Time was running out and the Fleet were coasting but then came a moment of madness from Rance. The midfielder dived in on Bradley Goldberg just inside the Bromley half and was shown a straight red card for his troubles.
It finished 10-a-side when Jack Holland was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Cook.
Bromley: Welch, Holland, Anderson, Waldren, Swaine, Bailey-Dennis (J May 67mins), Joseph-Dubois, Buchanan, Higgins, Goldberg, Dennis (Reid 76mins). Subs not used: Pooley, Kiernan, Fuseini.
Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Howe, Acheampong (Long 90mins), Huke, Palmer, Osborn (Sankofa 85mins), McMahon, Rance, Cook, B May, Bricknell (Thalassitis 71mins). Subs not used: Hall, Sessegnon.
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