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Ebbsfleet United 0 Aldershot Town 2 match report

By Steve Tervet

Ebbsfleet's long unbeaten run finally came to an end on Tuesday night.

Their first league defeat of 2017 was inflicted by Aldershot at a rain-lashed Stonebridge Road and it's now eight games without a win for Fleet in the National League.

Daryl McMahon cut a frustrated figure in the technical area as his side once again lacked the killer instinct going forward which he has been calling for in recent weeks.

Ebbsfleet manager Daryl McMahon Picture: Andy Payton
Ebbsfleet manager Daryl McMahon Picture: Andy Payton

Fit-again Kenny Clark started for the first time since August 12, lining up alongside Sam Magri and Chris Bush in a three-man Fleet defence with Yado Mambo the man to make way.

McMahon stuck with his 3-5-2 formation but changed both wing-backs. Anthony Cook made his first league start of the season and there was a recall for Luke Coulson as Bagasan Graham and the injured Sean Shields dropped out of the squad.

Jack Connors and Myles Weston made the bench but former Aldershot striker Aaron McLean, who's now a player/coach at Stonebridge Road, wasn't involved.

Shots arrived in Kent crippled by injuries - and delayed by some dreadful traffic on the A2 - but they were unchanged from Saturday's 2-0 defeat at home to Dover.

And the visitors should have been ahead inside four minutes. Matt McClure drilled the ball across the face of goal and Scott Rendell wastefully poked wide when he should have scored.

It was a strong start by Aldershot and when Ebbsfleet did get forward, Cook's downward header from a deep Coulson cross was straight at goalkeeper Jake Cole.

Dean Rance, on his 150th start for the club, sent Darren McQueen haring down the right and almost finished the move off when he extended Cole from McQueen's return pass.

But the Shots took the lead on 15 minutes when Rendell dummied McClure's pull-back and James Rowe obliged with a simple finish in the middle.

McClure flicked a header over the bar from Chris Arthur's cross as the visitors went in search of a second goal.

But the home side rallied and Clark had a header saved after Aldershot failed to clear a Bush cross from the left.

Ebbsfleet enjoyed a good spell around the half-hour, McQueen stabbing a shot just wide and Kedwell seeing a header cleared off the line from one of several dangerous Jack Powell set-pieces.

Cole showed good reflexes to tip a Kedwell header over the bar and the visitors then allowed Bush's long throw to bounce in their box only for Magri's header to drop wide of the far post.

Powell tried to whip a free-kick from wide on the right inside the near post, with everyone in the middle expecting a cross, but Cole was wise to the danger and pushed the ball round for a corner.

Powell took it low to Rance but his shot ballooned high over the bar in the last meaningful act of the first half.

Aldershot almost doubled their lead five minutes into the second period. Jake Gallagher's long shot was saved by Ashmore on the stretch and the keeper also recovered to smother Rendell's follow-up effort.

But Fleet then went close three times in a couple of minutes.

Cook rolled McQueen's pass tamely into Cole's gloves and McQueen decided to go alone next time, his shot looping up off the keeper's legs with one of the visiting defenders scrambling back to clear off the line.

McQueen was right in the game now but he rather snatched at his next shot, which bounced wide.

At the other end, Rendell turned well with his back to goal but his snapshot didn't trouble Ashmore, who then dived low to gather a Jim Kellermann strike from distance after the Shots man found space to run in midfield.

The home side played the last 25 minutes with three strikers on the pitch after Danny Mills was sent on for Rance.

But no sooner had the substitution been made than Aldershot went 2-0 up, Rendell cleverly flicking home Adam McDonnell's free-kick at the near post.

Fleet tried to respond and Coulson tossed a ball forward for Mills but his shot was easily gathered by Cole.

McMahon's side ran out of ideas in the closing stages as Shots defended their box well.

Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, Magri, Clark, Bush, Coulson, Payne, Rance (Mills 65mins), Powell (Drury 72mins), Cook (Weston 82mins), Kedwell, McQueen. Subs not used: Connors, Miles.

Aldershot: Cole, Alexander, Rendell, McClure, Gallagher, Kellermann (Robert 82mins), Rowe, McDonnell, Arthur, Fowler, Reynolds. Subs not used: Wrightman, Bozier, Smith, Kirwan.

Attendance: 1,402.

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