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Ebbsfleet United 3 Farnborough 0 match report

Matty Godden was Ebbsfleet's hat-trick hero at The PHB Stadium on Saturday.

Godden broke the deadlock against struggling Farnborough with a goal at the start of the second half and he struck again twice in the closing stages.

Matty Godden celebrates his second goal with defender Kenny Clark Picture: Andy Payton
Matty Godden celebrates his second goal with defender Kenny Clark Picture: Andy Payton

His treble earned a priceless win for the Fleet and their under-fire manager Steve Brown, whose side had gone four home games without a win.

Brendan Kiernan made his full Fleet debut, replacing Matt Johnson on the right wing, while Shane Huke was drafted in for the injured Aiden Palmer. Huke started at right-back and Joe Howe moved across to left-back.

Farnborough boss Spencer Day handed debuts to two loan signings, goalkeeper Charlie Grainger (Leyton Orient) and midfielder Aaron Dawson (Exeter).

An open start to the game saw chances come at both ends, mainly for the home side.

Anthony Cook's first touch let him down when a long Brandon Hall clearance reached him in space in Farnborough's penalty area - and that allowed Oli Treacher to get across and block Cook's shot.

Charlie Sheringham then headed wide at the near post from Cook's left-wing corner.

Cook embarked on a driving run through midfield, beating three players and slipping a pass into Godden's path before he was fouled by a Boro defender. Godden blazed his shot over, with only Grainger to beat, but referee Tim Wood brought play back for the foul on Cook.

McMahon took the free-kick and his effort skimmed the top of the netting on its way over.

At the other end, Farnborough gave their hosts a scare when Dan Bennett, on the stretch, almost turned in Fes Okenbarhie's low cross from the left.

Kiernan and Cook switched wings and Kiernan's left-wing cross was allowed to reach Dean Rance, who volleyed wide as the chances kept coming.

McMahon provided the moment of the half when he rattled the underside of the crossbar with a free-kick from the right-hand side. Grainger was totally beaten but the ball bounced down on the right side of the line - from a Farnborough perspective - and the danger was cleared.

Brendan Kiernan takes on two players on his full Ebbsfleet debut Picture: Andy Payton
Brendan Kiernan takes on two players on his full Ebbsfleet debut Picture: Andy Payton

It took a brilliant diving block by Lloyd Foot to stop Cook's powerful shot finding the bottom corner. Kiernan then showed good strength to win the ball in midfield, before playing a peach of a pass to cut the Farnborough defence open and send Godden racing clear. The striker shot across Grainger but wide.

Farnborough reminded the Fleet they were still a threat when Okenbarhie crossed low for Bennett, whose shot was heading in until Howe made a crucial intervention. Moments later, the Ebbsfleet defence were caught sleeping and they were relieved to see the assistant's flag go up for offside as Bennett drilled a shot against the crossbar.

There was still time for two more Fleet opportunities before the interval.

McMahon had two free-kicks blocked, Kiernan shooting over after the first one was blocked into his path, and McMahon himself firing the rebound wide when the second hit the wall.

Ebbsfleet had done everything but score in the first half, and they changed that three minutes after the restart.

Hall's terrific save to keep out Harry Grant's stinging strike from 35 yards looked even more pivotal when the home side broke down the right through Kiernan, whose low cross was prodded into the far corner by Godden.

That brought the home crowd to life and Kiernan volleyed over from Howe's cross moments later.

And when Farnborough failed to clear their lines from the next Fleet attack, a piece of ingenuity from Cook got him past two defenders, only for his shot to fly into the Plough End.

Danger still lurked at the other end, though. Kenny Clark threw himself in front of a goalbound shot and Hall was wrong-footed as the ball looped high in the air. Farnborough looked certain to turn the loose ball home but no-one in a white shirt could get the crucial touch.

Cook had another great chance when Anthony Acheampong's high ball out of defence turned into a fine crossfield pass. Cook, onside, should have made it 2-0 but he took too many touches and the chance went begging.

It was one-way traffic now as the red shirts poured forward.

Clark's header from a McMahon corner was hacked off the line and when the ball looped up on the edge of the Boro box, Cook arrowed a volley inside wide.

Play was taking place almost exclusively in the Boro half, but Ebbsfleet almost had their lead wiped out with 15 minutes left. Bennett's snapshot was creeping inside the near post until Hall, ever alert, got down well to turn the ball round the base of the post.

Godden made it 2-0 from close-range with five minutes left and, after Grainger had denied Cook with a diving save to his left, Godden completed his hat-trick in stoppage-time.

Matty Godden beats Farnborough keeper Charlie Grainger to make it 2-0 Picture: Andy Payton
Matty Godden beats Farnborough keeper Charlie Grainger to make it 2-0 Picture: Andy Payton

Cook's slide-rule pass bisected two Farnborough defenders and Godden was on hand to tap Howe's low cross into an empty net.

Ebbsfleet: Hall, Huke, Acheampong, Clark, Howe, Kiernan (Sessegnon 82mins), Rance, McMahon, Cook, Sheringham, Godden. Subs not used: Mazzone, Edwards, Johnson, Bricknell.

Farnborough: Grainger, Arnau (Banjo 32mins), Treacher, Dawson, Foot, Siaw, Grant, Okenbarhie (Pearse 90mins), Page (Qiuesacca 88mins), Theophanous, Bennett. Subs not used: Fearn, Barnes.

Attendance: 849.

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