Ebbsfleet United 0 Havant & Waterlooville 0
Stacy Long takes the attack to Havant & Waterlooville (Pic: Andy Payton)
Ebbsfleet United were held to a goalless draw on the opening day of the Skrill South season.
In front of their new owners, the Fleet were unable to break down a stubborn Havant & Waterlooville side and in truth, their Hampshire visitors could have left Kent with all three points.
Back injuries ruled out two of Ebbsfleet's strikers, Ben May and in-form Billy Bricknell, so Michael Thalassitis led the attack with wingers Dominic Green and Anthony Cook either side of him.
In total, manager Steve Brown handed debuts to eight of his summer signings, while there were four new faces in the Hawks line-up.
Christian Nanetti looked lively down the Havant left from the first whistle and from his free-kick, Ed Harris planted a header well wide.
Pacy striker Sahr Kabba then escaped the clutches of Fleet skipper Paul Lorraine on the edge of the box and fired a low shot wide of the near post.
An increasingly physical contest saw the home side's creative players given no time to settle on the ball by a combative Hawks midfield.
Nanetti created another good chance when his deep cross from the left was headed down into Kabba's path, although he sent his half-volley high over the crossbar.
Fleet striker Michael Thalassitis looks for a way through (Pic: Andy Payton)
Late in the first half, Ebbsfleet went close to an opener. The ball was worked wide to left-back Aiden Palmer and his teasing cross was glanced just wide by the head of Cook.
Havant looked bright after the interval and Kabba drove forward before drawing a good save from Preston Edwards. The Fleet goalkeeper pushed the ball out to Steve Ramsey, who crunched the rebound wide.
The home side looked to respond and Long drilled a shot just over from 20 yards. But the visitors went even closer moments later, the excellent Nanetti cutting in from the right and arrowing a shot towards the bottom corner which Edwards did very well to push behind for a corner.
There was almost a calamitous moment for Ebbsfleet when a miscommunication between Edwards and Lorraine saw Kabba's opportunistic shot trickle towards the unguarded goal before Edwards scrambled back to save.
Cook suddenly came to life down the Fleet right. He embarked on a mazy run and saw his low cross flash across the face of goal, before centring for Thalassitis, who couldn't direct his header on target.
The home side broke at speed with two minutes left on the clock following a Hawks corner. Eventually the ball reached Long, wide on the left, and his cross flashed across the face of goal and away to safety.
But neither side could find a winner in the closing stages.
Ebbsfleet: Edwards; Howe, Lorraine, Huke, Palmer; Corcoran, Rance, Long (Phipp 88mins); Cook, Thalassitis, Green. Subs not used: Sankofa, Hall, Osborn, Sessegnon.
Havant: Bevan; Newton, Harris, Strugnell, Blanchett; Nanetti, Hutchinson, Ramsey (Ciardini 70mins), Kewley-Graham; Kabba; Oli (Jones 79mins). Subs not used: Woodford, Monteiro, Przespoleski.
- Click here for more Gravesend news
- Click here for more news from across the county