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Ebbsfleet United 1 AFC Fylde 3 match report

Two goals from Danny Rowe sunk Ebbsfleet on Saturday and kept AFC Fylde among the early National League pace-setters.

Rowe scored twice in eight minutes at the start of the second half as Fleet's run of three straight wins came to an end.

Corey Whitely came off the bench to pull a goal back but the visitors broke to make it 3-1 late on.

Frustration for Ebou Adams against AFC Fylde Picture: Andy Payton
Frustration for Ebou Adams against AFC Fylde Picture: Andy Payton

Luke Coulson was handed his first start of the season, taking Whitely's place in the Ebbsfleet midfield.

Fylde, who arrived in Kent unbeaten, also made one change with Ashley Hemmings replacing Joe Cardle.

The visitors certainly started in confident fashion, dominating possession and twice going close through the prolific Rowe.

Fleet took 15 minutes to mount an attack of note, Sean Shields dribbling past one defender and forcing a second to concede a corner. Shields delivered the set-piece himself and captain Dave Winfield ended up on the floor as players jostled for position in the penalty area but referee Tom Reeves waved away their penalty appeals.

Comfortable and classy with the ball at their feet, Fylde looked to play out from the back at every opportunity with Ebbsfleet doing their best to force a mistake high up the field.

Right-back Sam Magri got forward well and picked out Coulson on the middle but Luke Burke helped his shot behind for a corner.

Winfield, who was being wrestled every time he came up from the back, saw his header from another Shields corner deflect behind.

Weston, playing on the left-hand side of a back-four, swirled a shot into the car park after playing a short corner to Coulson and taking the return pass.

Luke Coulson digs out a cross from the right Picture: Andy Payton
Luke Coulson digs out a cross from the right Picture: Andy Payton

Ebbsfleet were getting on top now but almost let the Coasters in when Nathan Ashmore slipped and almost let Jack King's backpass roll past him into the net.

Some of the Fleet's decision-making in the final third was letting them down. Kedwell punted a long shot wide with team-mates in better positions around him and Coulson was screaming at Adams moments later when the midfielder failed to get his head up as the home side broke forward in numbers. Coulson was waiting to be played in down the inside-right channel but Adams went alone and blazed the ball high over the bar.

The home side looked solid at the back and Magri responded well to take the ball off James Hardy's toe when Fylde mounted a rare foray into the Ebbsfleet box.

Shields twisted away from Burke and extended Jay Lynch in the Coasters goal before Adams glanced a header wide from Weston's teasing cross.

Rowe rifled a shot wide at the start of the second half before scoring a strange opener in the 49th minute. Rowe appeared to be boxed in near the byline but he managed to curl in a cross from the left which drifted all the way over Ashmore and dropped inside the far post.

Adams lifted the ball into Coulson's path at the other end but a heavy touch let him down and both players were taken off moments later.

But not before Rowe had doubled Fylde's lead with a brilliant free-kick from 25 yards after Winfield had been cautioned for charging down a shot with his hand.

An already subdued home crowd fell silent and on came Darren McQueen for the last 25 minutes as Fleet switched to two up front.

Sean Shields gets forward down the left Picture: Andy Payton
Sean Shields gets forward down the left Picture: Andy Payton

But there was very little flow to Ebbsfleet's play as Fylde, now with an extra defender on the pitch, stood firm.

McQueen latched onto Winfield's long ball forward and turned smartly but Lynch saved well at his near post.

However, there was nothing the keeper could do when Whitely collected McQueen's pass and lashed the ball in off the crossbar 14 minutes from time.

Jack Powell led a break almost straight from the restart but failed to pick a pass and the Coasters got a foot in just in the nick of time.

But Ashmore continued to live dangerously, turning away from Rowe on the edge of his box before being caught in possession - and fouled, according to the officials - by Gime Toure.

It was all gearing up to a grandstand finish, though, with the home fans finding their voice in the closing stages.

Kedwell had a furious penalty shout dismissed and Weston's cross zipped through the six-yard box after he'd been slipped in by Whitely.

But the visitors wrapped things up with a third goal on the break four minutes from time. Winfield stepped up and stopped when the ball was knocked past him but Toure, clearly onside, ran through and beat Ashmore with a cool finish.

Winfield twice headed against the bar in stoppage-time but Fylde were good value for their win.

Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, Magri, King, Winfield, Rance, Drury (McQueen 66mins), Weston, Adams (Powell 58mins), Coulson (Whitely 58mins), Shields, Kedwell. Subs not used: Cheek, Bush.

AFC Fylde: Lynch, Byrne, Burke, Kane, Francis-Angol, Bond, Croasdale, Kellermann (Brewitt 82mins), Hemmings (Tunnicliffe 69mins), Hardy (Toure 75mins), Rowe. Subs not used: Cardle, Tasdemir.

Attendance: 1,395.

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