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Ebbsfleet United 1 Havant & Waterlooville 0 match report

By Steve Tervet
Chris Sessegnon and Aiden Palmer celebrate with goal scorer Daryl McMahon Picture: John Westhrop
Chris Sessegnon and Aiden Palmer celebrate with goal scorer Daryl McMahon Picture: John Westhrop

Another brilliant goal from Daryl McMahon fired Ebbsfleet to their second win of the season on Saturday.

McMahon, whose strike proved the catalyst for a 2-0 win over Concord in the Fleet's Vanarama Conference South opener against Concord, scored an even better goal to sink Havant & Waterlooville at The PHB Stadium.

The Fleet captain let fly from 30 yards for an outrageous winner seven minutes into the second half.

That means Steve Brown's side have maximum points from their first two games.

Tom Fraser was ruled out by the ankle injury he sustained against Concord in midweek, so Michael Corcoran partnered McMahon in central midfield for the home side. Meanwhile, midfielder Dean Rance and striker Billy Bricknell were passed fit enough to sit on the bench.

Havant made two changes from their 1-0 defeat at Sutton on Tuesday, Daniel Blanchett and Brian Dutton coming in for Warren Cummings and Scott Donnelly.

The best chance of the first half came after just five minutes. Anthony Cook's corner from the right found Anthony Acheampong unmarked in the six-yard box but the big centre-half planted his header over the bar.

Having been set up by Matt Godden for a debut goal against Concord, Charlie Sheringham tried to return the favour moments later. His clever dummy sent Godden racing into the box and Hawks keeper Ryan Young did well to grab Godden's deflected shot.

Chances were few and far between at the other end.

Preston Edwards raced out of his area to clear a long ball with his head, although the goalkeeper's clearance lacked power and dropped to Shamir Mullings. For a moment, the striker had an open goal to aim at from 40 yards but his speculative volley was nowhere near the target.

Alex Osborn in action for Ebbsfleet last season Picture: John Westhrop
Alex Osborn in action for Ebbsfleet last season Picture: John Westhrop

The home side went close again when Alex Osborn's swerving half-volley was held by Young, before JJ Hooper shot wide for Havant in stoppage-time.

After the restart, Josh Huggins dragged a shot wide for Havant and Mullings spun on the edge of the box before drilling a low shot past Edwards' other post.

But the home crowd were on their feet moments later.

Sheringham helped a long ball into McMahon's path and the midfielder beat Young with a breathtaking strike from all of 30 yards, the ball ripping into the top corner.

That goal drew Havant out and gaps began to appear.

Cook won a free-kick wide on the Fleet left and whipped the set-piece onto the head of Godden, whose glancing effort skimmed just over.

Eyeing a second goal, McMahon let fly with a free-kick from 20 yards. His low drive was palmed back into the danger zone by Young and Ryan Woodford did well to clear.

Bradley Bubb finally had Havant's first attempt on target with 20 minutes left but Edwards made an easy save.

Now with their noses in front, Ebbsfleet started to grow in confidence. Godden went close twice in a minute, volleying over after good link-up play between Sheringham and Osborn, and then planting Cook's cutback wide of the far post.

It was a slender lead which almost grew in the last couple of minutes. Cook's sublime 60-yard pass from left to right fell at Godden's feet and he crunched a searing drive narrowly over with Young struggling to get across.

Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Sessegnon, Acheampong, Clark, Palmer, Osborn, Corcoran, McMahon (Johnson 83mins), Cook, Sheringham, Godden (Bricknell 88mins). Subs not used: Huke, Hall, Rance.

Havant: Young, Strugnell, Woodford, Harris, Blanchett, Dutton (Ciardini 69mins), Ryan, Huggins (Donnelly 79mins), Hooper, Bubb, Mullings (Swallow 59mins). Subs not used: Cummings, Monteiro.

Attendance: 814.

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