Farnborough had no answer for the Skrill South’s promotion contenders as Ebbsfleet United picked off Boro with ease at Stonebridge Road on a surprisingly warm Saturday afternoon in Kent.
Read a full match report from Saturday afternoon’s Skrill South encounter at Stonebridge Road.
Second-half goals from Dean Rance and Ben May added to Anthony Cook’s early opener to bring Spencer Day’s side back down to earth after the elation of the previous four days. And while the visitors huffed and puffed at Stonebridge Road, there was always going to be one winner as Ebbsfleet dominated from start to finish meaning Farnborough started the first of seven games in March with a defeat.
The two teams emerge for kick off on a warm day in Kent.
With just four minutes on the clock Boro had their first corner of the game. Ball’s corner was delivered to Lowe and his cross was cleared by the Ebbsfleet defence, but only as far as Dan Bennett on the edge of the box. The tricky winger drilled a low early shot well wide of Preston Edward’s goal.
But with Ebbsfleet flying high in the top four of the league and in impressive form it was no surprise that they began with confidence, enjoying an early majority of possession. And it took six minutes for the hosts to open the scoring from their first real chance of the game.
Farnborough failed to clear their lines at left back and Ebbsfleet neatly kept possession from a series of throw-ins, before a deep cross came from the right by Howe was controlled by Cook, who cutting in from the left fired a shot against the inside of the near post and past Scriven.
6 minutes: Ebbsfleet United 1-0 Farnborough – Anthony Cook
The home side were totally dominant in the opening stages and Boro had no response to the early setback. The home side continued to create chances, with Ebbsfleet’s second corner of the game was taken short by Cook to McMahon who crossed first time for Sankofa but the former Boro defender sent a header over Scriven’s goal. And with just under 20 minutes on the clock, another deep McMahon corner from the right found it’s way to Sankofa who neatly knocked down to the unmarked Osborn whose sweetly struck volley forced Scriven to palm over the bar for another Ebbsfleet corner.
Farnborough did muster a half chance just after 20 minutes. A Boro attack started on the right wing, the ball set up for Page from long range whose ambitious left footed strike took a deflection off an Ebbsfleet body for Boro’s second corner of the game which was punched clear by Edwards.
Minutes later, Cook’s crossfield ball from left to right picked out young winger Osborn, and Doyle seemed to let Osborn unleash a half-volley which whistled wide.
Just as Ebbsfleet looked as they were going to resume the pressure on Boro’s defence, debutant Jamal Lowe squandered what turned out to be Boro’s best chance of the game. On 25 minutes Dan Bennett picked up the ball in midfield from Edwards’ sliced drop-kick and his trickery unlocked Ebbsfleet, sliding a clever pass behind the Fleet defence into the path of Lowe. Now inside the Ebbsfleet penalty area, Lowe quickly rounded Edwards before rolling a tame shot towards an empty net, but Acheampong recovered quickly and was there to clear of the line. Sparing Edwards’ blushes and denying Lowe a debut goal.
Two minutes later Boro came back determined and a Huggins throw-in from the right found it’s way to Page just inside the Ebbsfleet box. Page managed to clip in an awkward cross towards Sykes. Sykes went down under a Ebbsfleet challenge, small claims for a penalty were waved away by Referee Carl Fitch as Howe recovered and cleared at right back.
Just over one third of the game had passed and Ball fouled Osborn for an Ebbsfleet free kick. The Fleet skipper, McMahon whipped the free-kick towards Sankofa who couldn’t keep his header down as another Ebbsfleet chance sailed over the bar.
With half time approaching, back came Farnborough who were growing in confidence and ended the half on top. On 37 minutes Doyle played a great ball into the left channel to Page who gathered the ball, and after Howe went down at right back, Page cut in onto his right foot but his low shot from just outside the box was tame and didn’t trouble Edwards. Howe received treatment for a foot injury sustained in that Boro attack and was fine to continue.
Minutes to half time and Sankofa was booked for a needless foul on Page just inside the Ebbsfleet half. Matt Ball’s resulting free kick was overhit and the first half petered out with three minutes of additional time.
HALF TIME: Ebbsfleet United 1-0 Farnborough
Ebbsfleet started the second half in the same manner that they had begun the first as a slow start by Farnborough set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Within minutes of the restart an Ebbsfleet ball forwards managed to make its way into the Boro box, Morrison-Derbyshire hesitated and Bricknell lost his marker Inns before getting a shot away, to which Morrison-Derbyshire’s blushes; was well blocked by Scriven and cleared but at the expense of an Ebbsfleet corner. Ebbsfleet’s set-piece wizard McMahon took the resulting corner from the right which found it’s was to an unmarked Dean Rance whose diving header was too powerful for a combination of Huggins and Scriven to keep out as Rance wheeled away to celebrate his third goal of the season.
47 minutes: Ebbsfleet United 2-0 Farnborough – Dean Rance
5 minutes later Palmer conceded an avoidable corner at left back but the resulting corner was collected by Edwards, whose quick distribution saw Ebbsfleet on the counter attack. It should have been 3-0 as the ball made its way into the path of right winger Osborn who had his shot pushed behind by Scriven for another Ebbsfleet corner.
As Boro struggled to contain the hosts’ pacey, attacking verve, Boro conceded two corners just after the hour mark. The second could have proven most costly. Another of McMahon’s corners found Sankofa, who returned a cross which found its way to the unmarked Bricknell who had the whole goal to aim at. Despite having all the time in the world to thunder in the hosts third – Bricknell seemed to have the ball taken away from him by the pitch as his scuffed effort was collected by a relieved Kevin Scriven.
But still, Day’s men were getting no joy at the other end and on 66 minutes a determined Huggins, who had had his hands full for most of the game, burst forwards from right back into the Ebbsfleet penalty box and despite coming out second best with his minor tussle with Palmer; his appeals for a penalty were waved away by Referee Carl Fitch.
Straight down the other end broke Ebbsfleet on the right wing, substitute West outrunning Morrison-Derbyshire, before putting it on a plate for May who couldn’t miss from six yards. The forward’s strike nestled in the bottom right corner of the net to make it 3-0 and effectively game over for Boro .
80 minutes: Ebbsfleet United 3-0 Farnborough – Ben May
12 minutes remained and running at Ebbsfleet’s defence, the Referee awarded Farnborough a free kick in a dangerous position 20 yards from goal. This was a rare sight on goal for Farnborough but as Bennett tried his luck, his free kick sailed over the bar as another opportunity to test Edwards went begging.
Boro were tiring as the game neared a close, on 84 minutes Ebbsfleet should have made it 4-0 when Cook sprung the offside trap from the left after May’s through ball, but with a tight angle and Scriven closing down fast; Ebbsfleet’s man of the match had his low shot well saved by Scriven.
The hosts didn’t take their foot off the pedal and they went close to a fourth with minutes to go. Ebbsfleet had one final chance to worsen Farnborough’s deficit, Treacher lost out in a foot-race to the fresh substitute Sessegnon on the right wing, luckily the former Sutton and Dover winger rasped a low effort wide from just inside the Boro box.
With the game coming to an end, Farnborough might well consider themselves lucky to have only lost by three.
FULL TIME: Ebbsfleet United 3-0 Farnborough
That result see’s Boro drop a place to 14th in the Skrill South with an 8 point cushion from the relegation zone. Boro were dealt a hefty lesson by Ebbsfleet. But, in reality, there was certainly no shame in losing to one of the best sides in this division and with attention now turning to Thursday’s visit of Basingstoke Town, Day’s men will come back determined to upset the odds.
Farnborough Man of the Match: Matt Ball – Showed his Football League quality, was one of the best players on the field, dictated most of Boro’s attacking play and a relentless performance in midfield.
Boro will now need to pick themselves up quickly starting with three back-to-back home games.
1. Preston Edwards
2. Joe Howe
3. Aiden Palmer
4. Daryl McMahon (C) (Corcoran ON, 89)
5. Osei Sankofa
6. Anthony Acheampong
7. Alex Osborn
8. Dean Rance
9. Ben May
10. Billy Bricknell (West ON, 76)
11. Anthony Cook (Sessegnon ON, 84)
Subs: 12. Chris Sessegnon; 13. Brandon Hall (gk); 14. Michael Corcoran; 15. Paul Lorraine; 16. Michael West.
1. Kevin Scriven
2. Josh Huggins
3. Adam Doyle (Treacher ON, 84)
4. Matt Ball
5. Alan Inns (C)
6. Luis Morrison-Derbyshire
7. Dan Bennett
8. Steve Laidler
9. George Sykes
10. Jamal Lowe (French ON, 72)
11. Phil Page (Cole ON, 81)
Subs: 12. Connor French; 14. Alfred Bosch; 15. Ade Cole; 16. Ollie Treacher; 17. Darryl Siaw.
Referee: Carl Fitch
Assistant Referee’s: Stephen Moore & Stuart Cheek
Match Highlights of the game will be linked to ‘Video’ in the Fixtures & Results page on the Club website as well as updated to the bottom of the Match Report.
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