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Barnet 3 Ebbsfleet United 2 match report: Dominic Poleon scores twice for the Fleet, Nicke Kabamba hits hat-trick in National League

Ebbsfleet’s ‘all or nothing’ start to life in the National League continued at Barnet on Monday.

Dominic Poleon scored twice for the visitors but he was outgunned by Barnet striker Nicke Kabamba in an entertaining encounter at The Hive.

Dominic Poleon bursts forward for Ebbsfleet at Barnet on Monday. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Dominic Poleon bursts forward for Ebbsfleet at Barnet on Monday. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

The Fleet made four changes from the team that brushed aside Kidderminster on Saturday.

Barnet started brightest and Harry Pritchard headed over a second-minute corner at the near post before his left-foot effort from the edge of the area was comfortably gathered by Fleet keeper Mark Cousins.

The Fleet were dealt a blow as early as the fifth minute when centre-back Jack Wakely went down near the halfway line and he was stretchered off, being replaced by Haydn Hollis.

Barnet’s Ben Coker and Nicke Kabamba both had cross-shots that became crosses to each other rather than shots on goal.

The Fleet took the lead with nearly their first meaningful attack. The impressive Ben Chapman did well to win the ball in his own half and strode forward before playing in Dominic Poleon. The Fleet’s leading scorer took one touch to get the ball out of his feet and then drilled home a stunning right-foot strike beyond keeper Laurie Walker.

Not for the first time this season it was another inconsistent refereeing performance. Shaq Coulthirst was bizarrely booked for a challenge on Dale Gorman, presumably after deciding the player stayed down for too long or on the advice of the fourth official.

When Pritchard wasted another good opening just before the break it looked as though the Fleet would get through to the break with their lead intact.

But in the final minute of eight added on - the majority for Wakely’s injury - a low cross from the right was headed in by the diving Kabamba to put Barnet on level terms.

The second half was dominated by the hosts, who pinned the Fleet back and moved the ball well across the pitch.

Cousins had to beat away Zak Brunt’s shot before the Fleet keeper touched Anthony Hartigan’s long-range shot onto the crossbar.

Referee David McNamara, who at one point raced 20 yards to kick the ball back for Barnet to take a free-kick, booked Joe Martin for failing to retreat at a free-kick and then Hollis for pulling back Kabamba. Both managers were also booked on the touchline.

A second Barnet goal was coming and it arrived on 62 minutes. Coker and Brunt combined down the left and the latter’s cross fell nicely in the box for Kabamba to turn in his second goal.

Barnet should have wrapped the points up two minutes later but Brunt fired over from close range as the Fleet defence was sliced apart.

The Fleet were back on level terms with 21 minutes left. Their best period of possession in the half saw the ball worked around the Barnet penalty area, with McQueen eventually crossing and Poleon turning the ball home through a crowded six-yard box.

Brunt went for the spectacular with 14 minutes left but his volley went wide from distance before an O’Neill error let in Brunt again but he failed to hit the target.

Barnet regained the lead with 10 minutes left when Brunt’s cross was flicked in by Kabamba for his hat-trick.

Kabamba then just failed to turn in a right-wing cross as the Fleet again conceded possession cheaply before Cousins was down smartly to thwart substitute Courtney Senior.

There were seven additional minutes to be played but the Fleet were unable to create any chances to force home an equaliser.

Barnet: Walker, Coker, Collinge, Okimo, Gorman (Senior 81mins), Kabamba, Pritchard, Hartigan, Wynter (Hall-Johnson 81mins), Oluwo (Potter 73mins), Brunt. Subs not used: Armstrong, Barratt.

Ebbsfleet: Cousins, O’Neill, Martin, Wright, Wakely (Hollis 9mins), Cisse, McQueen, Poleon, Edser, Chapman (Domi 75mins), Coulthirst (Odokonyero 68mins). Subs not used: Clifford, Amoo.

Referee: David McNamara.

Attendance: 1,888 (285 away).

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