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Home Gravesend Sport Article
Promotion-chasing Ebbsfleet enhanced their credentials with a comfortable 3-0 win over sorry Staines on Saturday.
The visitors barely put up a fight at Stonebridge Road and the Fleet were always in charge once Billy Bricknell had given them a fifth-minute lead.
Goals from Daryl McMahon and Anthony Acheampong late in the first half put the result beyond doubt and the home side saw the game out with total ease.
Ebbsfleet's team bore one enforced change from their 2-1 win at Chelmsford, with Joe Howe replacing the suspended Chris Sessegnon at right-back.
Paul Lorraine (groin) was only fit enough for the bench, so Acheampong, making his home debut, again partnered Osei Sankofa in central defence.
Staines arrived with the second-worst away record in the Skrill South and their defending inside the first five minutes hinted as to why. Anthony Cook played a simple ball into Bricknell's feet, 12 yards out, and the striker was allowed to turn and fire Ebbsfleet into the lead with a shot under the body of Swans keeper Jack Turner.
A poor clearance by the visitors then gifted Cook possession on the corner of the box. When he was clumsily fouled, McMahon curled the resulting free-kick over the bar.
The visitors lacked adventure and when they did get the ball, they gave it straight back to the Fleet.
Dean Rance fired a shot wide, following good build-up by Bricknell and Michael Thalassitis, before the second goal arrived on 33 minutes.
Bricknell felt he should have won a penalty when he was fouled on the corner of the box, although his grumbling turned to celebration a moment later. Cook, who had shaped to whip the free-kick goalwards, laid the ball to his right and McMahon threaded a low shot inside the near post with Turner unable to get across.
The visitors simply weren't in the game and things got even worse for them five minutes later. Cook grabbed his third assist, swirling over a corner from the left, which Acheampong headed home at the far post.
It should have been 4-0 just a minute after the restart. With the Staines defence nowhere, Osborn pulled the ball back from the byline to the unmarked Bricknell, who skied his shot wastefully into the Plough End.
Staines then carved out their first real chance when Stephane Ngamvoulou slid the ball between two Fleet defenders and Sanchez Ming's low cross was turned over by leading scorer Louie Theophanous.
But the irrepressible Cook almost set up a fourth Ebbsfleet goal at the other end. His cross from the left was shanked against the crossbar by Staines' Jerel Ifil, who was relieved to see the rebound hacked to safety.
Bricknell almost toe-ended a shot past Turner, who then gathered a curling Cook effort as the home side continued to have things largely their own way.
In fact, it almost became too easy for Steve Brown's side. They started to over-elaborate and take on one man too many, when simple football might have cut Staines wide open.
And they almost conceded when Chris M'Boungou had a header cleared off the line by McMahon.
Acheampong's home debut, which had gone swimmingly thus far, was brought to a premature end with 16 minutes left when he limped down the tunnel.
But Lorraine, his replacement, and Sankofa, had precious little to do in the closing stages as the Staines challenge, which never really got going all afternoon, fizzled out completely.
Cook's low cross was turned in by substitute Ben May in stoppage-time but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Ebbsfleet are back in action on Tuesday night. Their Kent Senior Cup semi-final against Whitstable Town, originally due to be played at the Belmont, has been switched to Stonebridge Road. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Howe, Acheampong (Lorraine 74mins), Sankofa, Palmer, Osborn, McMahon, Rance, Cook, Thalassitis (May 54mins), Bricknell (West 78mins). Subs not used: Hall, Corcoran.
Staines: Turner, Ming, J Brown, Ferrell, M'Boungou, Ifil, Lodge (Pykes 56mins), Ngamvoulou (Worsfold 70mins), Theophanous, Willock (Beadle 56mins), D Brown. Subs not used: Merson, Pashaj.
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