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Ebbsfleet United 2 Torquay United 4 match report

Ebbsfleet remain rooted to the foot of the National League despite a spirited display against Torquay on Tuesday night.

Poor defending, especially at the start of the second half, proved their downfall on a night full of goals at Stonebridge Road.

Ebbsfleet's Josh Umerah - on target against Torquay. Picture: Andy Jones
Ebbsfleet's Josh Umerah - on target against Torquay. Picture: Andy Jones

Fleet made one change from Saturday's televised defeat at Harrogate with Josh Umerah replacing Alfie Egan in the starting line-up.

Torquay came into the game on the back of impressive wins over Stockport and AFC Fylde and it showed as they started on the front foot.

Matt Buse had an early header hacked clear before Ben Whitfield's cross was turned in at the far post by Jake Andrews to give Torquay a ninth-minute lead.

Andrews nearly added a second when his long-range strike was kept out by Jordan Holmes, but the Fleet keeper could do nothing to prevent a second goal for the visitors on 25 minutes.

Andrews played the ball into the feet of Jamie Reid, whose smart footwork got him away from Tyler Cordner and his left-foot finish found the far corner.

Fleet almost replied immediately but Alex Reid failed to turn in Umerah's cross.

Myles Weston again appeared Fleet's best attacking option but too many passes from defence or midfield failed to find their intended targets.

So the fashion of Fleet's goal was to their credit. The move started patiently with keeper Holmes and was worked down the left-hand side, space created for Alex Reid to run behind the full-back thanks to Josh Payne's perfectly weighted pass.

Reid, in turn, crossed first time into the danger area and Umerah arrived to add an emphatic finish to an excellent move.

Their tails up, Fleet twice went close to a leveller before the break, Alex Reid shooting over and Umerah firing wide on the turn.

It was a different story at the start of the second half, however.Torquay came flying out of the blocks, scoring twice in the first nine minutes.

The half was only two minutes old when Buse turned the ball home from close range and then Liam Davis worked his way down the left-wing, and fired in after a lovely one-two on the edge of the area.

Andre Blackman, who had been on a monthly deal at Southend, came on for his Fleet debut having signed earlier in the day and he impressed down the left wing. An early run and cross was nearly turned in as Fleet kept going despite the scoreline.

Fleet pulled one back with nine minutes left, the ever-willing Weston delivering an excellent cross from the left and Umerah got ahead of his man to nod the ball beyond keeper Lucas Covolan.

James Vincent thought he added a fifth for Torquay with three minutes left when his long-range cracker hit the underside of the bar and appeared to bounce over the line. But the officials were unmoved, despite Vincent wheeling away in celebration, and the game continued.

Umerah missed out on a hat-trick in the 90th minute when he beat Covolan from inside the area, only for a defender to get back on the line and clear the ball away.

Ebbsfleet: Holmes, King (Blackman 68mins), Wilson, Ugwu, Weston, Umerah, Grimes, Sutherland, Cordner, A Reid (Adeloye 61mins), Payne. Subs not used: Obileye, Palmer, Egan.

Torquay: Covolan, Wynter, Davis, Cameron, Andrews, Vincent, Buse, J Reid (Duku 55mins), Kalala (Little 59mins), Cundy, Whitfield. Subs not used: McDonald, Koue Niate, Keating.

Attendance: 908.

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