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Gosport Borough 0 Ebbsfleet United 2 match report

By Steve Tervet

Goals from Billy Bricknell and Daryl McMahon fired Ebbsfleet to a 2-0 win at Gosport on Thursday night.

Having travelled to Hampshire on the back of consecutive defeats in Skrill South, the Fleet needed a result to re-ignite their play-off push.

And this performance at Privett Park was as good as Saturday's at Boreham Wood was poor. Ebbsfleet hit the woodwork three times and could easily have won by a greater margin.

Billy Bricknell
Billy Bricknell

Fleet boss Steve Brown made four changes to his starting line-up. Two of those were in defence, with Joe Howe and Osei Sankofa replacing the injured Chris Sessegnon and Yado Mambo.

Michael Corcoran took Alex Osborn's place in midfield and there was a recall for leading scorer Bricknell, with Michael Thalassitis dropping to the bench.

Gosport made a bright start and the visitors looked uncertain when crosses were slung into their box. One corner was cleared out to Mike Gosney on the edge of the box and his rasping drive brought a save from Preston Edwards.

Gosney was then allowed to run unchallenged through midfield, and this time, Edwards had to get down to palm his shot round the base of the post.

Ian Richardson went close when another cross wasn't dealt with but then Ebbsfleet started to gain a foothold in the game.

And they almost took the lead in spectacular fashion when Anthony Cook smashed a free-kick, from 35 yards out, against the crossbar.

Bricknell then worked a yard of space in the box and arrowed a shot towards the bottom corner but Boro keeper Nathan Ashmore got fingertips to the ball.

The Fleet's leading scorer was about to strike, though. With 31 minutes played, Edwards launched a long kick downfield and when Gosport failed to deal with it, Bricknell ran on to drive a low shot inside the near post.

It should have been 2-0 moments later. Cook raided down the right and squared the ball for Bricknell, who in turn helped it into the path of McMahon. The Fleet skipper saw his left-footed shot pushed out by Ashmore to Ben May, who slammed the ball against the bar from six yards with the goal gaping.

Gosport were afforded another let-off before the interval when Bricknell ran through and threaded a low shot just wide of the post.

The visitors were almost made to pay for those missed opportunities in the opening minutes of the second half. Anthony Acheampong hauled Gosney down just outside the box and Adam Wilde curled the free-kick against the post with Edwards motionless.

Back came Ebbsfleet, though, with May nodding a cross into the path of Bricknell, whose half-volley was saved by Ashmore.

McMahon then had a free-kick kept out of the bottom corner by Ashmore, although the captain was celebrating moments later.

Cook played the ball into the box and after shots from May and Bricknell had ricocheted around a crowded penalty area, the ball was laid into McMahon's path. He picked his spot and thumped the ball into the net.

That goal took the wind out of Gosport's sails. May turned in the box and forced a good low save from Ashmore, before Acheampong powered a header against the bar from a corner.

Gosport were on the ropes now. Cook beat his man on the edge of the box and thumped a shot just wide.

Boro skipper Jamie Brown dragged a shot well wide when the hosts did get forward, and that tame effort rather summed up Gosport's toothless forward line.

In the end, it was a comfortable night for the Fleet, who host another struggling side - Tonbridge Angels - at Stonebridge Road on Saturday.

Gosport: Ashmore, Woodward, Kerrigan, Brown, Richardson, Pearce, Carmichael (Wooden 65mins), Scott (Dunford 65mins), Gosney, Bennett, Wilde. Subs not used: Sills, Smith, Barfoot.

Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Howe, Acheampong, Sankofa, Palmer, Corcoran, McMahon, Rance, Cook (Osborn 84mins), May, Bricknell (Thalassitis 75mins). Subs not used: Lorraine, Huke, Hall.

Attendance: 349.

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