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Ebbsfleet United 2 Braintree Town 0 match report: Rakish Bingham and Dominic Poleon score for Fleet

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Two goals in the last 16 minutes sent Ebbsfleet up to third in National League South on Tuesday night.

The Fleet had to be patient against a Braintree team who used every trick in the book to frustrate them and it need a Rakish Bingham penalty and substitute Dominic Poleon to finally break their resistance.

Rakish Bingham - scored from the penalty spot against Braintree. Picture: Chris Davey
Rakish Bingham - scored from the penalty spot against Braintree. Picture: Chris Davey

Kick-off was delayed after the net came away from the post during the warm-ups and both teams took time to get going.

It needed a melee between both sets of players after 15 minutes to liven up the atmosphere. Referee Isaac Searle booked Matt Johnson for his initial foul on Lee Martin, who was cautioned for his reaction. The official booked Fleet's Tobi Adebayo-Rowling and Braintree's Alfie Payne for their part as players from both sides came together.

Fleet created a great chance on 19 minutes when Craig Tanner's sliderule pass played in skipper Martin but his right-foot shot was saved by the legs of visiting keeper Billy Johnson.

Martin went close again for the Fleet - denied again by Johnson - after Braintree's Johnson and Femi Akinwande somehow failed to convert a corner for the visitors.

Joe Martin was booked for a foul on Akinwande on halfway, although referee Searle didn't need five Braintree players to surround him to make the easiest decision of the night.

The referee was kept busy when he had to book Luke Pennell for handball in stoppage time - the sixth yellow card of a first half that included seven minutes of additional time due to Braintree's timewasting.

Indeed, the visiting physio was the next busiest person behind Searle in the ground during the first half as she was called into action with alarming regularity.

Braintree threatened just before the break through Akinwande, who got plenty of joy against Joe Martin. The forward, deployed on the right of midfield in a 5-4-1 formation, was unable to turn in substitute Correy Davidson's centre before his near-post shot was saved by Fleet keeper Chris Haigh.

Then Akinwande burst past two Fleet defenders and set up former Tonbridge forward Tom Derry, who blazed over the bar.

Fleet made a double change at the break with Alfie Egan and Ben Chapman replacing Sido Jombati and Jack Paxman, and it wasn't too long before leading scorer Dominic Poleon was also introduced to the action.

Derry became the seventh booking of the evening early in the secnd half for a stray arm on Sefa Kahraman.

Braintree continued to master the dark arts of football timewasting after the break, taking it in turns to go down 'injured' with Akinwande's fall to the ground on the hour mark not going down well with the home fans.

Egan fired over from Poleon's lay-off before Braintree had a golden chance to score but Akinwande, having turned Kahraman inside the box and stayed on his feet instead of trying to win a penalty, saw the chance taken away by the covering Chapman.

The breakthrough came with 16 minutes left when Cundle went down after meeting Chapman's free-kick in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.

Bingham stepped forward and finished low beyond Johnson to put the Fleet ahead.

Akinwande was booked for dissent and Kahraman became the ninth booking of the night for an off the ball incident after the Fleet went ahead.

Poleon made the game safe with six minutes left when he cut in from the left and found the far corner for his eighth goal of the season.

He nearly added a third in stoppage time but Poleon's right-foot chip landed the wrong side of the upright.

Ebbsfleet: Haigh, Jombati (Chapman 46mins), Kahraman, J Martin, Adebayo-Rowling, Paxman (Egan 46mins), Monlouis (Poleon 56mins), Tanner, Cundle, L Martin, Bingham. Subs not used: Gould, Romain.

Braintree: Johnson, Johnson-Schuster, Porter (Hope 84mins), Johnson, Clements, Anderson, Pennell, Payne (Davidson 23mins), Derry (Crichlow 79mins), Akinwande, Krasniqi. Subs not used: Ikbuasi, Dixon-Hodge, Hope.

Referee: Isaac Searle.

Attendance: 955.

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