Had Bromley beaten Southend United, it would have taken them to the summit of the Vanarama National League going into 2022.

However, their hopes were dashed when they had to play the last seventeen minutes with ten men. Liam Trotter pulled up suddenly and was unable to continue. Bromley had already made three substitutions so they ended up hanging on.

Chances were at a premium in the first half although Bromley would have felt that they should have been ahead at the interval.

Louis Dennis had the first goal effort when his shot from a tight angle was beaten round the post by Steve Arnold. A scramble ensued from the corner and Will Atkinson was grateful to hack it away at the far post.

At the other end Zak Brunt almost caught the Ravens out with a well executed ’Rabona’ but the towering Omar Sowunmi snuffed out the danger by heading it out for a corner. Nathan Ralph then burst forward for the visitors but got caught between two stalls and rolled it wide of the far post.

Ralph was in defensive action shortly after when blocking a shot by Louis Dennis after he had got on the end of a Cheek flick. Cousins then delivered a corner to the far post where Sowunmi jumped unopposed but headed fractionally wide from close range.

Matthew Dennis got on the end of a good Southend move and, even though he did not connect cleanly, Mark Cousins still had to get down to his left to make a good low save. Chris Bush then delivered a long free kick into the Southend penalty area, Sowunbi headed down, and Cheek’s shot on the turn was half blocked for Steve Arnold to gather.

In injury time, Bromley has their second clear cut chance of the game. Luke Cousins got free down the right and pulled it back to Jude Arthurs who arrived late but a defender and Arnold threw themselves into the line of fire and turned it over between them.

After the break Southend came out with intent and Dennis created space for himself and shot just wide before Jason Demetriou twice went close. First a defensive error let him in but he rushed his shot that went high and wide then he met a deep cross with a stooping header but he was unable to guide it on target.

Liam Trotter’s pile-driver hit John White which resulted in him requiring treatment. He then sustained a further injury when George Alexander clattered him into the hoardings and after a bout of pushing and shoving, Alexander and Atkinson were cautioned and White was substituted as he limped down the tunnel.

Bush blasted a free kick high and wide but moments later and, as Bromley were preparing to make a change, they went ahead. Cheek got on the end of a diagonal ball from Trotter into the box and his glancing header beat Arnold and flew home.

Surprisingly, Bromley continued with their final substitution bringing on a forward, James Alabi for midfielder Harry Forster, but Southend levelled immediately. Sam Dalby controlled a cross well and his little square pass and a good first touch by Dennis created space and the Norwich City loanee scored with a delicate finish.

Soon after, Trotter limped off so short-handed Bromley changed their priorities to defend the point that they had.

Lewis Gard came close to denying them with a shot that whistled just past the post then Rhys Murphy hooked into the crowd. They had one more chance in injury time when Dalby’s shot was cleared off the line and Demetriou could only stab the rebound wide.

Although not finishing the year in top position, Bromley are still handily placed in fourth while Southend’s point could be important in their fight against relegation.

Bromley: Cousins, Bush, Coulson, Trotter, Webster, Sowunmi, Arthurs, Forster (Alabi 66), Cheek, Sablier (Whitely 55), Dennis (Alexander 45). Subs not used: Partington, Cawley.