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Dover Athletic 1 Ebbsfleet United 1 match report

By Steve Tervet

Darren McQueen cancelled out Ryan Bird's opener as Dover drew 1-1 with Ebbsfleet on Monday.

Bird gave Whites an early lead but McQueen scored the equaliser Fleet's dominance deserved in front of more than 1,500 at Crabble.

Dover remain two points above their Kent rivals in the National League while this draw - Ebbsfleet's sixth in seven games since promotion - means they have still not lost a league game in 2017.

Dover made just one change to the team beaten 1-0 at Macclesfield on Friday night, replacing Kane Richards with Mitchell Pinnock in attack.

Already carrying five injuries, Ebbsfleet also had to cope without midfielder Andy Drury, who failed a pre-match fitness test, and defender Sam Magri, who reported for international duty with Malta on Sunday.

Daryl McMahon switched to a 4-4-2 formation with Marvin McCoy coming in at right-back while there was a recall for winger Myles Weston in Drury's absence.

Dover put the visitors under early aerial pressure and Chris Bush did well to cut out Pinnock's cross from the left, although it was Fleet who had the first shot on target - taken by Bagasan Graham and saved by Mitch Walker.

The visitors won a free-kick in a good position when Darren McQueen was bundled over but Jack Powell fired his set-piece into the Dover wall.

Whites hit the front on 14 minutes, Bird rising unmarked to head in Pinnock's excellent cross from the left.

Ryan Bird celebrates opening the scoring in the derby Picture Andy Payton

Ryan Bird celebrates opening the scoring in the derby Picture: Andy Payton

Pinnock was giving Ebbsfleet all sorts of problems with his set-pieces and one of his long throws almost led to another opening.

But the visitors started to grow into the game and Kedwell fired over when Weston crossed from the right before Walker saved a McQueen snapshot.

Kedwell got up well to meet Powell's corner from the right but again he failed to hit the target.

The end of the first half saw Fleet enjoying the bulk of possession but Dover's pressing game gave them no time on the ball and the hosts carried their lead through to the interval.

Pumping long balls towards McQueen was proving a futile exercise for Ebbsfleet with the striker dwarfed by Dover's big backline every time there was an aerial contest.

When Chris Bush did play into feet, McQueen turned and got a shot away but again Walker was there to make a straightforward save.

Yado Mambo challenges Tobi Sho-Silva Picture Andy Payton

Yado Mambo challenges Tobi Sho-Silva Picture: Andy Payton

Dover then had a good spell and created several half-chances. Pinnock almost caught out Nathan Ashmore with a free-kick from distance, Nortei Nortey had a goalbound shot blocked by Bush and Pinnock almost forced home a cheeky flick from Bird.

Powell collected a long throw from Bush and swapped passes with McQueen before shooting over, then Mitch Brundle launched a lob from well inside his own half which forced Ashmore to back-pedal.

Danny Mills, on as a substitute, won a high ball on the edge of the penalty area and the referee blew as McQueen ran onto his flick and went down in the box but rather than point to the penalty spot, David Rock booked McQueen for diving.

But with 15 minutes left, McQueen latched onto a Kedwell knock-down and lifted the ball across Walker for the equaliser.

Sean Shields looked lively when he came on, seeing a shot blocked and then digging out a cross which Powell headed just over as Fleet cranked up the pressure.

Ashmore comfortably held a Brundle free-kick at the other end before Walker got right behind an Anthony Cook cross/shot from the Ebbsfleet right. 

Dover: Walker, Passley, Parry, Essam, Ilesanmi (Deen-Conteh 77mins), Gallifuoco, Brundle, Nortey, Pinnock (Daniel 82mins), Bird, Sho-Silva. Subs not used: Richards, Fazakerley, Essuman.

Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, McCoy, Mambo, Bush, Graham, Coulson (Mills 58mins), Payne, Powell, Weston (Shields 72mins), Kedwell (Cook 78mins), McQueen. Subs not used: McLean, Miles.

Attendance: 1,625.

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