Ebbsfleet prove too powerful for shot-shy Farnborough with a convincing away performance.
Following the disappointment of another early FA Cup exit on Monday, it was never going to be an easy ask to bounce back against an in form Ebbsfleet United.
Skippered by ex Boro’ midfielder, Daryl McMahon. The Kent side have see-sawed between the Conference Premier and the Conference South over the last few seasons, but the takeover by Kuwaiti Company KEH Sports Ltd in May 2013 and a new Manager in Steve Brown, gave them a new start and last season they were narrowly defeated in the play-off final by Dover Athletic.
Boro’ Got the game underway at 3.00pm fielding a new keeper, Grant Smith, a fit again Ollie Treacher and with Sylvester Guyonnet and Andrew Montugu in the starting line-up.
Attacking the Moor Road End, Boro’ made a reasonable start and after 5 minutes Page came close to connecting with a cross from Montugu, but will think he should have done better from 5 yards out in the centre of the goal.
The visitors won a free kick after 10 minutes from 35 yards, but it was cleared for a throw in their favour.
On the quarter hour mark, Bennett did well and found Webb on the right, but his cross, heading for Page, prompted the all too familiar flag for off-side.
The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes when McMahon’s in swinging free kick from the right of the area appeared to have gone straight in to the goal by Smith’s right post. However, Bricknell must have got the slightest of touches as he was credited with the goal. Boro’ 0 – 1 Ebbsfleet, 19 mins.
Bricknell scored his fourth of the season against Boro’ on Saturday
Shortly afterwards, another McMahon free kick from centre midfield swung out to the left and Cook’s header from the cross looked to be going in before Smith got down well to his left and made the save. After a Montugu effort from the left went just wide of the right hand post, Page slipped a pass to Bennett who lost possession setting the visitors on the counter attack.
At this point Ebbsfleet were passing the ball much better and retaining possession well which left Boro’ chasing the game. At this point, Bennett switched to the left and Montugu, who had shown good pace, moved over to the right wing.
Guyonnet was rather harshly penalised on the edge of the box when jumping for a header and a free kick was awarded in a dangerous central position. The situation was tailor made for McMahon, whose hard low strike breached the Boro’ wall and cannoned in off an unidentified defender. Boro’ 0 – 2 Ebbsfleet, 37 minutes.
Page was booked after 40 minutes after tangling with Acheampong, but when the big centre back returned the compliment moments later with a clear foul on Page, Mr Purkiss awarded a free kick but took no action. Disappointing, since the defender had previously been guilty of several shoves in the back and a few shirt pulling capers which he had got away with.
On the stroke of half time Boro’ were awarded a free kick following what was by no means Rance’s first foul. Webb’s kick was too strong and went out for a goal kick.
Half Time: Farnborough 0-2 Ebbsfleet United
Boro’ had enjoyed brief spells of good play, but Ebbsfleet had demonstrated their superiority in terms of organisation, the accuracy of their passing and ability to keep possession. Disappointing to concede two goals from set pieces even if they both had an element of good fortune.
The second period started at 4.02 p.m. with Boro’ having replaced Andrew Montugu with Ferdinand Takyi. The substitution almost paid off after 5 minutes when a good cross by Takyi was hit first time by Bennett, but went narrowly wide of the right hand post.
The same two players combined well soon afterwards, but Page inexplicably failed to control Bennett’s long ball out to the left and allowed it to run out of play.
CJ Fearn then found Page on the left and his decent cross saw Bennett muscled out and the ball was cleared.
Webb over hit a free kick from the right, then Bennett saw his shot turned over by Hall for a corner on the right. The kick was cleared at the expense of another corner on the left which came to nothing.
Winger Dan Bennett came close with a second half strike
The 60th minute saw Bennett lose out to Cook on the edge of the area allowing the latter to get in a cross which was cleared by Brice to save Bennett’s blushes.
The visitors replaced Bricknell with Godden after 64 minutes and shortly afterwards an odd decision, by no means the first by Mr Purkiss, gave Ebbsfleet a free kick on the edge of the box which McMahon hit over.
However, a few minutes later the visitors sealed a comfortable victory when McMahon crossed from the right and Rance was quickest to the ball and thumped in number three, giving Smith no chance. Boro’ 0 – 3 Ebbsfleet, 68 minutes.
Boro’ made two substitutions in a three minute spell with twenty minutes to go. Firstly, Page was replaced by Okenabirhie, then Bennett made way for Tieku.
The double change breathed new life into Boro’ and they enjoyed a good spell without being able to breach the visitor’s defence which was well marshalled by centre backs Acheapong and Clark.
Takyi had a good shot which was just too high and following Ebbsfleet’s final two subs, Sessegnon for Howe (80) and Sanderson for Sheringham (84), Tieku, who had shown some good touches and seemed quite nippy, had a good shot turned round the post for a corner by Hall.
Mr Purkiss played some three minutes added time but the score remained Boro 0 – Ebbsfleet 3.
Full Time: Farnborough 0-3 Ebbsfleet United
Skipper Lewis Ferrell will need to motivate his team for next Saturday’s home game
Despite Boro’ not lacking in effort, this was, to use an old cliché, a game of men versus boys. Boro’ have a young side which is not without ability, but will take time to gain in confidence and consistency.
Ebbsfleet, meanwhile, were clearly superior (as is to be expected with a much bigger budget), but used their greater experience to good effect. Significant was the contribution of Daryl McMahon, their engine room, who was involved in all three goals. Not as recognisable as in his Boro’ days, probably down to the mans hair style he now sports, but just as effective.
Although only on for the final 20 minutes, or so, Derek Tieku, with his low centre of gravity and solid build, reminded me of Dean McDonald and given the opportunity could well prove to be as popular. From a damp and gloomy start, the game finished in sunshine, perhaps that will be a good omen for Boro’.
Match Report by Tony Duff.
Next up for Farnborough – Saturday 11 October (KO 3pm), Bishop’s Stortford (home).
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