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Home   Gravesend   Sport   Article

Havant & Waterlooville 1 Ebbsfleet United 0

11 January 2014
by Steve Tervet

Steve Brown

Steve Brown

Ebbsfleet United are out of the FA Trophy after losing at Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday.

The third-round tie, played on a bog of a pitch at Westleigh Park, was decided by a Nigel Atangana strike on 62 minutes and the home side defended their lead doggedly.

This was a third straight defeat for Ebbsfleet, who have scored one goal in their last four games.

Michael West was handed a second Fleet debut, having re-joined the club from Crewe Alexandra. He started on the right wing, with Chris Sessegnon reverting to right-back and Joe Howe dropping to the bench.

Ebbsfleet's other two changes from their 3-1 home defeat to Bromley on New Year's Day saw Daryl McMahon and Michael Thalassitis come in for Michael Corcoran and Ben May.

The visitors made a bright start, with McMahon swirling a deep free-kick beyond the far post before Thalassitis cut inside and dragged a shot just wide.

But the home side soon came to life and after Christian Nanetti had been fouled by Dean Rance on the corner of the box, the winger curled the resulting free-kick just past the angle of crossbar and post.

Billy Bricknell played an excellent first-time ball into the path of West, who took it in his stride and slipped a low shot inches wide of the far post.

Play switched back to the other end and when Scott Jones' low cross from the right was missed by Paul Lorraine, the Fleet skipper turned in relief to see the ball also elude the on-rushing Dennis Oli.

Anthony Cook beat two Hawks defenders wide on the left and whipped in a cross which Scott Bevan had to deal with. And the giant goalkeeper was called into action again, moments later, diving low to his right to push a Dean Rance strike round the post.

But the home side finished the first half on top, with Ebbsfleet living increasingly dangerously.

Sessegnon stopped Sahr Kabba's goalbound shot from creeping inside the far post and Atangana pulled a shot wide of the near post after Aiden Palmer had unwisely let a long ball forward bounce beyond him.

However, the Fleet almost went ahead on the stroke of half-time. Cook exchanged passes with Bricknell and rattled a shot against the near post.

After a sluggish start to the second period, Bricknell was bundled over, 25 yards from goal, and West sent the free-kick skidding beyond the far post.

But the only goal of the game, just after the hour mark, went to Havant. It was a simple strike, Nanetti's right-wing corner volleyed goalwards by Atangana and going in off an Ebbsfleet player.

Fleet boss Steve Brown responded by sending May on for Thalassitis.

The visitors believed they'd equalised on 78 minutes when McMahon's quick free-kick, a slide-rule pass, was rifled into the net by Bricknell, only for an offside flag to cut short the Ebbsfleet celebrations.

Kabba embarked on a weaving run at the other end and saw his shot deflect wide. From the corner, Ed Harris had a shot blocked and Kabba's point-blank strike somehow flashed over the bar via a Fleet defender.

Ebbsfleet threw everything at the Hawks in a dramatic finale, with May firing a stoppage-time volley over, but the home side stood firm to close out the win.

Havant: Bevan, Strugnell (Newton 77mins), Blanchett, Ryan, Monteiro, Harris, Nanetti (Ramsey 82mins), Atangana, Oli, Kabba, Jones (Przespolewski 75mins). Subs not used: Woodford, Hutchinson.

Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Sessegnon, Lorraine, Sankofa, Palmer, West (Osborn 75mins), McMahon, Rance, Cook, Thalassitis (May 62mins), Bricknell. Subs not used: Howe, Corcoran, Hall.

Attendance: 709.

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