The top-of-the-table clash between Bromley and Eastleigh lived up to expectations at Hayes Lane, but unfortunately for the Lillywhites the result did not.
Bromley fell further behind the league leaders and ended any outside chance they had of gaining automatic promotion, while Eastleigh extended their advantage at the top to eight points with only four games to play.
Before a 1,000+ crowd, the game got off to a fast and furious start with Bradley Goldberg hitting the crossbar inside 40 seconds.
Joe Welch tipped away a cross from Stuart Fleetwood one minute later before almost immediately at the other end Brendan Kiernan’s shot was tipped around by visiting keeper Ross Flitney.
Jay May and Joe Anderson combined well for the latter to cross to Kiernan, who headed just wide of the post. However, Eastleigh showed exactly why they are top by taking the lead on 16 minutes.
Flitney’s long clearance was headed on by Craig McAllister and Ben Wright turned Rob Swaine before hooking a shot over Welch and into the roof of the net.
Bromley were visibly shaken by the setback and for a while Eastleigh dominated.
The hosts regrouped and came good towards the end of the half, with Kiernan shooting wide before Flitney brilliantly tipped around Pierre Joseph-Dubois’ shot from following Anderson’s cross.
But the two sides went in level at the break after May forced Dan Spence into handling on the edge of the area and Anderson’s free-kick picked out Swaine who planted a powerful header past Flitney.
Bromley commenced the second half well, but all their efforts were undone in the 58th minute when Dean Pooley’s unnecessary and clumsy tackle on substitute Yemi Odubade in the area more or less handed the visitors the title.
The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, with Wright stepping up to send Welch the wrong way for his second goal of the evening.
Welch denied Jai Reason when he pushed his glancing header around the post.
Two minutes later, man of the match Flitney once again denied Bromley as Danny Waldren saw his 20 yard drive again brilliantly tipped over by the keeper.
From the corner Joseph-Dubois fired wide of the post before the winger mis-kicked in front of goal following Swaine’s headed knock down.
Elliott Buchanan saw his shot comfortably saved by Flitney and Jake Reid’s 25 yarder deflected off Glen Southam and went behind for a corner.
But for all their efforts, Bromley were unable to penetrate an Eastleigh side which in fairness were probably the best to visit Hayes Lane this season.
Bromley: Welch, Pooley, Anderson, Waldren, Swaine, Bailey-Dennis (Buchanan 74), Joseph-Dubois, Nicholls, May (Reid 82), Goldberg, Kiernan (Dennis 65). Subs not used: Holland, Fuseini. Att: 1,011.