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Bromley 5 Ebbsfleet United 1 match report: Luke O’Neill scores in National League defeat

Ebbsfleet remain in the National League relegation zone after losing to Bromley for the second time in less than a week.

The Fleet took an early lead but Bromley scored four goals in less than half an hour either side of the break, before rounding off a comprehensive win late on.

Luke O'Neill – put Ebbsfleet ahead at Bromley on Saturday. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Luke O'Neill – put Ebbsfleet ahead at Bromley on Saturday. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

Ebbsfleet handed Rakish Bingham his first start since returning from long-term injury while Craig Tanner - no player has contributed more assists this season - was also named in the starting XI along with Darren McQueen. It marked a return to manager Dennis Kutrieb’s favoured three-man defence.

Bromley made one change from the side that won 3-2 at Stonebridge Road on Boxing Day with Myles Weston replacing Byron Webster, who was on the bench.

A bright Ebbsfleet start was rewarded after eight minutes when Tanner’s right-wing corner was met by the unmarked Luke O’Neill, whose diving header found the far corner.

There was an early injury to an assistant referee which saw fourth official Robert Claussen called into action to run the line.

It took Bromley 24 minutes to register their first shot on goal as keeper Mark Cousins had to save Lewis Leigh’s long-range shot.

Bromley were back on level terms five minutes later, though. Hayden White coughed up possession cheaply and Ben Krauhaus played the ball wide for Josh Passley to cross into the danger area where Michael Cheek headed in from close range.

The duo combined again on 34 minutes as Passley crossed from the right but Cousins managed to brilliantly turn over Cheek’s header.

Bromley went ahead three minutes before half-time. Cheek’s flick set up Corey Whitely, who ran at Josh Wright before teeing up Krauhaus to slot home.

It was nearly three a minute later but Cousins saved at his near post to deny Olufela Olomola.

Ebbsfleet nearly levelled in the fourth minute of stoppage time but Tanner’s left-foot shot was deflected behind for a corner. Tanner went even closer two minutes later when his 30-yard free-kick came back off the crossbar with keeper Grant Smith beaten.

It took Bromley just three minutes of the second half to score their third goal as the visitors failed to clear their lines and Alex Kirk emphatically blasted home.

Ebbsfleet gifted Bromley a fourth goal on 57 minutes when Cheek bundled the indecisive Myles Kenlock off the ball and unselfishly squared for Olomola to roll into an empty net.

Smith did well to deny Samuel and then kept out a Poleon snapshot as the visitors continued to add to their tally, even though the game was long up against a Bromley side that have lost just twice all season at Hayes Lane.

Bromley added a fifth with two minutes remaining when Krauhaus’ perfectly-timed run saw him race clear and clip the ball past Cousins in style.

Bromley: Smith, Reynolds, Leigh (Woods 77mins), Passley, Cheek, Kirk, Whitely (Jones 84mins), Topalloj, Krauhaus, Olomola, Weston. Subs not used: Sharman-Lowe, Dennis, Webster.

Ebbsfleet: Cousins, O’Neill, White, Kenlock, McQueen (Fanimo 75mins), Tanner, Wright (Cisse 75mins), Samuel, Chapman, Bingham (Clifford 64mins), Poleon. Subs not used: Martin, Edser.

Referee: Matthew Russell.

Attendance: 4,031 (374 away).

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