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Home Gravesend Sport Article
Having been held to a draw at Whitehawk and then beaten by Havant & Waterlooville in the week leading up to the game, the Fleet turned in one of their worst performances of the season in Hertfordshire.
They went behind to an own goal in a first half which Boreham Wood completely dominated. And after a 26-minute delay caused by an injury to referee Steve Daly, the visitors conceded a horribly simple goal to go 2-0 down.
Billy Bricknell's 90th-minute header was barely a consolation.
The team sheet showed two changes to the Fleet starting XI, with Chris Sessegnon replacing Joe Howe at right-back and Ben May playing up front in place of Bricknell.
Josh Hill, who left Dartford this week, started in Boreham Wood's defence.
From the first whistle, the home side were on the front foot.
Ebbsfleet looked anxious in defence and struggled to get out of their own half. They almost conceded when Matthew Whichelow set the ball for Luke Garrard, whose hanging cross was headed wide by the unmarked Lee Angol.
But it seemed only a matter of time until Boreham Wood scored and sure enough, they did, on 16 minutes. Greg Morgan's free-kick from midway inside the visitors' half skimmed off Michael Thalassitis' head and looped over the stranded Preston Edwards.
Ebbsfleet looked terrified every time the ball was played into their box. Another set-piece landed on the head of Garrard but his effort lacked direction, luckily for the sleeping visitors.
It was completely one-way traffic. More poor marking allowed Callum Reynolds to get on the end of a right-wing cross and Edwards watched the ball zip just past his right-hand post.
But the Fleet should have had a penalty on the half-hour mark. Daryl McMahon floated a free-kick onto the head of May, who was clearly barged in the back. Daly had a perfect view of the incident but waved play on.
Normal service was soon resumed, though, as Boreham Wood poured forward again. Sam Cox tried his luck from 20 yards and Edwards pushed the ball behind for a corner.
All the momentum was with the home side but that was halted, seven minutes from half-time, when Daly pulled a calf muscle and had to come off. After much discussion, the players left the field and it was almost half an hour until a local official arrived at the ground so play could restart.
McMahon had the Fleet's first effort of the game in stoppage-time when his left-footed drive was palmed round the post by goalkeeper James Russell.
The Fleet, surely, could only improve after the restart. No. Less than two minutes had been played when a high ball bounced over both centre-halves and Angol stole in to lob Edwards. The communication between goalkeeper and defenders was non-existent.
At the other end, Anthony Cook swirled a free-kick wide and McMahon smashed a half-volley over the bar.
A bad afternoon got even worse for Ebbsfleet when Yado Mambo came off injured and walked straight down the tunnel.
The introduction of leading scorer Bricknell from the bench failed to liven up the visitors, for whom May had a header easily saved by Russell.
Boreham Wood sat in to protect their lead in the closing stages and Ebbsfleet struggled to unpick their defence.
And their miserable afternoon was summed up in the 88th minute when Bricknell's close-range shot was pushed out by Russell to Cook, who managed to miss an open goal.
Bricknell nodded in a deep Aiden Palmer cross to halve the deficit on the stroke of 90 minutes but it was too little, too late.
Boreham Wood: Russell, Nunn, Morgan, Garrard, Hill, Reynolds, Whichelow (Pires 70mins), Cox, Morias (Oyengua 75mins), Angol (Noto 83mins), Montgomery. Subs not used: Brown, Courtnage.
Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Sessegnon, Acheampong, Mambo (Huke 66mins), Palmer, Osborn (Bricknell 59mins), McMahon, Rance, Cook, May, Thalassitis. Subs not used: Howe, Corcoran, Hall.
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