The first meeting for some time between these two clubs, Ebbsfleet with very real aspirations of promotion, while Boro’ continue to fight to avoid being dragged into the relegation battle. Two teams as far apart in terms of finances as they are in terms of success on the pitch.
Borough made one change from Saturday’s starting line – up, with Doyle, having completed his suspension, coming in for Koo-Boothe and a new name, Darryl Siaw on the bench.
Borough: Lincoln, Huggins, Treacher, Bosch, Inns (c) Doyle (Siaw 84), Bennett, James-Lewis, (Jeffrey 77). Page, Ashikodi (Hammond 77), Berry.
Subs not used: Fearn and Scriven (G/K).
Ebbsfleet United: Edwards, Sessegnon (Howe 80), Palmer,McMahon, Lorraine (c), Sankofa, West (Osborne 68), Rance, May, Bricknell (Corcoran 85) and Cook.
Subs not used:- Hall (G/K) and Thalassitis.
Referee: Carl Brook
The game started with play swinging from end to end without either side making much in the way of clear cut chances. The first real effort on either goal being a 30 yard effort from ex Boro’ player McMahon, which lacked power and was comfortably gathered by Lincoln.
McMahon featured again on 15 minutes when he was booked for a foul on James-Lewis following a protracted tussle for possession. Some felt Mr Brook could have played the advantage rule as the Boro’ player regaining his balance and the ball, continued to sweep forward. As the half moved on Boro’ were enjoying a good deal of possession and when Doyle put Bennett through on 38 minutes his left footed effort from the edge of the area flew wide of the target.
A 40th minute free kick from Huggins on the right was cleared for a corner from which Inns headed just over. The last action of the half saw a long range effort from Page which lacked both power and direction before McMahon shot wide in added time.
Half Time: Borough 0 – Ebbsfleet 0 with the home team having matched their high flying opponents.
The 2nd half began in similar fashion with both sides threatening without anything to show for their efforts. Bricknell played a decent through ball which found West marginally off-side, while another Fleet attack came to nothing when a Cook effort was headed clear. Borough then enjoyed a good period of attacking football which saw the visitors scramble away efforts from Ashikodi and Bennett before Berry got in a shot which flew high and wide of the target.
A series of Boro’ corners followed without much luck as the defence scrambled them away.
During this spell, the Fleet defence were only too happy to hoof the ball away, often out of the ground, in order to clear their lines.
Having made their first substitution on 68 minutes, Ebbsfleet opened the scoring a minute later when a cross into the box from the left evaded the Boro’ defence and fell to Bricknell, who struck the ball diagonally across Lincoln and into the far corner.Both sides made further substitutions, Boro’ with a double sub on 77 minutes and Fleet made their 2nd in the 80th minute. The home side spared no effort in carrying the fight to Ebbsfleet, but had no luck and were unable to convert their possession into what would have been a deserved equaliser.
Both sides made final substitutions in the 84th & 85th minutes, firstly Boro’ brought off Doyle,
who appeared to have injured his back when pushed from behind and Fleet brought off their
goal scorer, Bricknell. Borough continued to attack for the remaining 5 minutes and throughout the 3 minutes of added time, but despite throwing nine players forward, had
nothing to reward their efforts as Fleet defended in numbers to keep them out. Inns came closest with a header which went fractionally wide.
Full Time: Borough 0 – Ebbsfleet 1
Many were no doubt prepared for a beating before a ball was kicked, but against all the odds,
Borough stuck to the task and although they lost, were not bowed, or outclassed. My view is they deserved to share the points. While no formal man of the match was chosen, my vote would go to skipper, Alan Inns.
Match Report by Tony Duff.
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