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Eastbourne Borough 1 Ebbsfleet United 1 match report

By Steve Tervet

Kenny Clark rescued a point for Ebbsfleet at Eastbourne on Saturday.

The defender headed in from a corner with 20 minutes remaining after Gavin McCallum had earlier put the Sports in front at Priory Lane.

A drew was probably the right result on a day when both sides dominated for spells.

Brendan Kiernan runs down the Ebbsfleet right Picture: Paul Jarvis
Brendan Kiernan runs down the Ebbsfleet right Picture: Paul Jarvis

Ebbsfleet were missing Anthony Acheampong through suspension, so Chris Sessegnon came in at right-back while Shane Huke moved across to partner Clark in central defence.

Joe Howe continued at left-back, with the returning Aiden Palmer named among the Fleet substitutes.

On-loan Gillingham defender Josh Hare started for the home side, with nomadic former Fleet striker Moses Ashikodi on the Sports bench. Eastbourne were captained by another ex-Fleet man, defender Ian Simpemba.

Ebbsfleet's first chance of the game came from an Eastbourne corner. The ball was cleared and Anthony Cook ran 80 yards down the left flank before crossing low into the six-yard box. Brendan Kiernan looked set to score but his shot took a deflection off a Boro boot and flashed over the bar for a corner.

The visitors started brightly although they looked a little uncertain when balls were crossed into their box. Richard Pacquette wasn't picked up when Frankie Raymond curled in a corner from the right and the striker's glancing header dropped wide of the far post.

McCallum did well to keep possession on the right-hand touchline and the ball was eventually worked into a central position, from where Raymond had a good shot deflected narrowly over.

At the other end, striker Matty Godden came out to the left wing in search of the ball and his cross from there found Sheringham in all sorts of space in the box. Sheringham turned smartly and got away a shot with his left foot but it was straight at goalkeeper Lewis Carey.

Godden looked bright and he burst into the box down the right-hand side moments later. Godden pulled the ball back for Kiernan, whose firm shot was touched in by Sheringham for what appeared to be the opening goal. But as the men in white shirts lined up for the restart, a lengthy discussion between the officials resulted in the goal being ruled out, to the confusion and exasperation of the Fleet coaching staff, players and supporters.

McCallum got on the end of a decent cross from left-back Sam Beale just before half-time but he volleyed wide.

Charlie Sheringham marked by former Fleet defender Ian Simpemba Picture: Paul Jarvis
Charlie Sheringham marked by former Fleet defender Ian Simpemba Picture: Paul Jarvis

The same player also went close at the start of the second half. Pacquette helped the ball into McCallum's path and he turned sharply before firing a low shot across the face of Brandon Hall's goal.

Cook tried his luck with a free-kick from 35 yards after McMahon was tripped by Matt Aldred. The dip Cook generated on his shot forced Carey to turn the ball behind.

A dangerous left-wing cross from Godden was about to drop for Kiernan until Beale made a timely interception to nick the ball off the winger's head at the last moment.

Cook then burst past several Eastbourne players and picked out Sessegnon wide on the right. Sessegnon cut in from the touchline and slipped a clever ball into Godden's feet, only for the assistant to flag for offside.

But the Fleet still had nothing to show for their efforts - and then they fell behind.

McCallum picked the ball up on the right-hand side of the box and his low shot left Hall flat-footed as it flashed into the net.

The goal had Ebbsfleet rocking for a few minutes.

McCallum's cross was almost swept in by Pacquette and Simpemba then nodded just wide when Matt Parsons teased over an inviting ball from the right.

But the Fleet equalised with 20 minutes left. Cook's corner from the right was guided home by Clark, whose clever near-post header drifted across goalkeeper Carey and into the far corner.

Kenny Clark congratulated by Matty Godden after scoring the equaliser Picture: Paul Jarvis
Kenny Clark congratulated by Matty Godden after scoring the equaliser Picture: Paul Jarvis

Just as Eastbourne's opener had galvanised them, so Ebbsfleet seemed energised by drawing level.

Sheringham almost converted Cook's deep cross and Kiernan then had a shot blocked.

Kieran went close again in the dying moments, sliding in to meet Godden's low cross after the striker had dispossessed Beale near the corner. Carey, though, denied Kiernan by diving at his feet.

The home side pumped high balls into the box in stoppage-time but the visitors stood firm.

Eastbourne: Carey, Hamilton, Beale, Aldred, Simpemba, Raymond, Hare, Parsons (Lok 76mins), Pacquette (Ashikodi 82mins), S Johnson, McCallum. Subs not used: Worall, Giles, Welch.

Ebbsfleet: Hall, Sessegnon, Huke, Clark, Howe, Kiernan, Rance, McMahon, Cook, Sheringham, Godden. Subs not used: M Johnson, Edwards, Corcoran, Palmer, Bricknell.

Attendance: 734.

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