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Home Gravesend Sport Article
Goals at the start of each half fired Ebbsfleet to a comfortable win over Farnborough at Stonebridge Road on Saturday afternoon.
Anthony Cook gave them a fifth-minute lead and Dean Rance doubled that with a header just after half-time.
It was an afternoon when the Fleet never really found top gear, but they didn't need to, Ben May tapping in a third goal late on to send the home fans away happy.
The win kept them fourth in Skrill South, level on points with third-placed Sutton United, who beat Chelmsford 2-0.
A broken hand ruled out striker Michael Thalassitis, so May partnered Billy Bricknell in attack from the start. Joe Howe kept his place at right-back, which meant that Chris Sessegnon, back from suspension, had to settle for a place on a strong-looking bench which also featured Michael West and club captain Paul Lorraine.
Ebbsfleet had scored early in their previous game, a 3-0 home win over Staines, and they did exactly the same here.
Less than six minutes had been played when Howe's deep cross from the right was retrieved by Cook, who cut back inside and unleashed a powerful shot which goalkeeper Kevin Scriven couldn't keep out of the bottom corner.
The home side were totally dominant in the opening stages.
Osei Sankofa headed just over from a Daryl McMahon cross and when May flicked on a long kick forward from Preston Edwards, Alex Osborn whipped in a low centre which Farnborough did well to hack clear.
The pressure on Boro's defence continued.
McMahon's deep corner found Anthony Acheampong, completely unmarked, and Osborn's volley from his knockdown forced a good save from Scriven.
The home crowd were applauding again, moments later, when Osborn latched onto a long diagonal ball and crunched a volley just past the angle.
But just as the Fleet looked in total control, they were given a wake-up call. Edwards' sliced drop-kick was picked up by Dan Bennett in the Farnborough midfield and he slid a cute pass into the feet of Jamal Lowe. The on-loan Barnet striker went round Edwards and rolled the ball towards the empty net but Acheampong got back well to clear it off the line.
That seemed to give the visitors belief and Phil Page headed a Matt Ball free-kick just wide at the far post, although he'd already been flagged offside.
Back came Ebbsfleet as the game continued to ebb and flow. Cook whipped in a terrific free-kick which May got up well to meet, although his header dropped onto the roof of the net.
It was Farnborough, though, who ended the half on top. Page's deflected shot was gathered by Edwards as the home side struggled to hold onto the ball.
Whatever Steve Brown said to his players during half-time, it worked.
Bricknell almost punished a mix-up in the Boro defence, within two minutes of the restart, and his blocked shot went behind for a corner. McMahon swung it over from the right and Rance headed the ball home at the back post.
It should have been 3-0 when Sankofa returned a Cook corner into the danger zone, where Rance teed up Bricknell. But the Fleet's leading scorer, who was only six yards out, fluffed his lines and failed to properly connect with the ball.
At the other end, Bennett curled a free-kick over from 20 yards.
But the Farnborough challenge was well and truly snuffed out on 80 minutes when West, who'd only just come on, laid on the simplest of goals for May, who planted the ball beyond Scriven from close-range.
Cook should have had a second goal late on. May's slide-rule pass sent him racing clear of the Boro defence but the winger was denied by an excellent Scriven save.
It was to be Cook's last touch. He left the field to rapturous applause and his replacement, Sessegnon, fired a shot just wide as the Fleet looked to add further gloss to the scoreline.
They travel to Bath City on Tuesday.
Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Howe, Acheampong, Sankofa, Palmer, Osborn, McMahon (Corcoran 89mins), Rance, Cook (Sessegnon 84mins), May, Bricknell (West 75mins). Subs not used: Hall, Lorraine.
Farnborough: Scriven, Moggins, Doyle (Treacher 84mins), Ball, Inns, Morrison-Derbyshire, Bennett, Laidler, Sykes, Lowe (French 71mins), Page (Cole 81mins). Subs not used: Bosch, Siaw.
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