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Ebbsfleet United 1 Dartford 0 match report: Ben Chapman scores winner in National League South

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Substitute Ben Chapman scored a late winner as Ebbsfleet took the derby honours against Dartford on Sunday.

The win moved Ebbsfleet up to second in National League South, two points off leaders Maidstone, while Darts are down to fifth.

Ebbsfleet's Ben Chapman - scored the winner against Dartford. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC (54038991)
Ebbsfleet's Ben Chapman - scored the winner against Dartford. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC (54038991)

It was an enthralling derby at Stonebridge Road with no shortage of entertainment despite few chances on target from either side.

The Fleet made three changes from the team that drew with Billericay, Chapman, Alfie Egan and Adam Mekki replaced by Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Craig Tanner and Dominic Poleon.

Dartford returned to a 3-5-2 system with leading scorer Ade Azeez named among the substitutes after they drew with Braintree in their last game.

As you’d expect in a derby the first 20 minutes were played at a furious pace - although there was still quality from both sides.

Fleet settled the quickest, Rakish Bingham creating space for himself on the edge of the area before dragging his shot wide and Poleon finding the side netting as Darts lost the ball when pressed at the back.

The pace understandably dropped midway through the opening half, also due to Dartford being able to keep the ball for longer periods.

Greg Cundle headed one chance wide and saw another deflected wide of the upright for Ebbsfleet while Darts had a penalty appeal turned down when Tyrique Hyde went down in the box.

Dartford nearly nudged ahead on the stroke of half-time. Jake Robinson’s cross-shot was almost turned into his own net by Sido Jombati before the best chance of the game came a minute into stoppage time.

Kalvin Kalala, who had struggled with the pace of the game early on, led a Darts counter attack and played a perfectly-weighted ball into the path of Robinson, who put his first-time right-foot shot well wide as keeper Chris Haigh came out to narrow the angle.

The start of the second half saw Fleet enjoy good possession but the final ball in and around the Dartford penalty area was often intercepted.

The visitors made a double change in attack on the hour, bringing on Dan Roberts and Azeez. Within five minutes, Roberts had a glorious chance to put Dartford ahead but he blazed a left-foot shot over the bar - and the stand - from close range after Jernade Meade’s excellent pull back.

Fleet boss Dennis Kutrieb made an attacking substitution, bringing on Elliott Romain to form a three-man attack for the closing stages.

Tanner sent a free-kick well over the bar from 20 yards, before Egan’s flick from Adebayo-Rowling’s cross trickled agonisingly along the face of the Dartford goal.

Only the offside flag meant Dartford didn’t win a penalty when Haigh clattered into Azeez as he latched onto Roberts’ header after the hosts left themselves two against two at the back from their own corner.

Both sides had chances in the last 10 minutes. Hyde shot narrowly wide after Vint kept alive a free-kick into the penalty area.

Then Fleet countered five on four, with the ball worked wide for Bingham, whose low right-foot shot was saved by Dan Wilks.

The breakthrough arrived with five minutes left. A throw-in saw the ball worked into Adebayo-Rowling and he threaded it into Chapman, who slotted low beyond Wilks.

Within a minute, Dartford nearly levelled but Sefa Kahraman produced an excellent block tackle to deny Hyde and then Connor Essam headed a Jebb corner over in the 90th minute.

Ebbsfleet: Haigh, Jombati (Chapman 46mins), Solly, Kahraman, Adebayo-Rowling, N’Guessan (Romain 71mins), Tanner, Paxman (Egan 57mins), Cundle, Bingham, Poleon. Subs not used: Firth, Mekki.

Dartford: Wilks, Vint (Wanadio 87mins), Essam, Bonner, Clarke, Jebb, Husin, Hyde, Meade, Kalala (Roberts 61mins), Robinson (Azeez 61mins). Subs not used: Murtagh, Porter.

Referee: Greg Rollason.

Attendance: 2,566.

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