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Ebbsfleet United 2 AFC Fylde 1 match report: Ben Chapman scores twice in National League win

Ben Chapman scored twice as Ebbsfleet took another big step towards safety after registering their first-ever win over AFC Fylde in the National League on Saturday.

Chapman has been revitalised since Danny Searle took over as Ebbsfleet boss and he showed his qualities to put Fylde to the sword.

Ben Chapman - led the Fleet to victory against AFC Fylde on Saturday. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Ben Chapman - led the Fleet to victory against AFC Fylde on Saturday. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

The Fleet made two changes from the side that drew at Dagenham on Monday with Dominic Samuel injured while Dominic Poleon and Tommy Fogarty came into the starting line-up.

Fylde settled quickest and while they didn't create a clear sight of goal early on, they pressed well and hurried the Fleet in their own half.

Slowly but surely the home side got into the contest, Billy Clifford having an early shot from 25 yards that went just wide of the upright.

Ebbsfleet opened the scoring in style on 17 minutes. Toby Edser's great turn inside his own half started the move as he picked out Poleon behind the high defensive line. Poleon didn't rush a pass, instead squaring the ball for Ben Chapman, who took advantage of Clifford's decoy run to cut inside and fire a brilliant shot inside the far post.

Chapman was giving left-back Max Conway a torrid time down the Fleet right and his cross looked destined to hand Rakish Bingham a simple tap-in before Fylde's Harry Davis turned the ball behind for a corner.

It was one-way traffic as Edser did well to dig out a cross from the left, Bingham nodded down for Chapman who nearly repeated his goal but fizzed a low left-foot shot inches the wrong side of the post.

Fylde threatened just before the break. Danny Ormerod's cross found Jon Ustabasi but Bryant Bilongo got back to brilliantly block his goalbound shot behind for a corner.

Then Tom Walker's 20-yard free-kick tested keeper Mark Cousins, but he gathered the ball cleanly to deny the visitors.

Both sides had chances at the start of the second half, Ormerod heading over for Fylde and Bingham shooting over for the hosts.

Chapman doubled his goal tally on 54 minutes. Clifford spotted the run behind the out-classed Conway and when keeper Theo Richardson hesitated, Chapman nipped in to head into an empty net.

It was nearly 3-0 straight away but Clifford set up Poleon, who blasted just wide of the upright.

Ebbsfleet should have wrapped the points up with seven minutes left when Bingham played in Clifford but he somehow prodded the ball the wrong side.

It proved a big miss as Fylde got themselves back into the contest with five minutes left when substitute Gerrard McCullion turned the ball in from close range with virtually his first touch.

Fylde’s task got that much harder when referee James Durking showed his ninth red card in just 21 games this season, ending visiting captain Harry Davis’ afternoon in the 90th minute for an apparent stamp on Craig Tanner.

Ebbsfleet had to see out six minutes against 10 men but they held out without further alarm.

Ebbsfleet: Cousins, Fogarty, Skura, Kenlock, Chapman (Cundle 81mins), Wright, Clifford, Edser (Tanner 78mins), Bilongo, Bingham, Poleon (McQueen 68mins). Subs not used: Domi, Fanimo.

AFC Fylde: Richardson, Davies, Long, Barrett, Ustabasi, Walker (Hunter 60mins), Conway, Whitehead (Evans 87mins), Adshead (McCullion 81mins), Ormerod, Mitchell. Subs not used: Graham, Holder.

Referee: James Durkin.

Attendance: 1,642 (36 away).

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