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Boreham Wood 1 Ebbsfleet United 2 match report

Ebbsfleet picked up their first win of the season on Bank Holiday Monday.

James Ball and Gozie Ugwu scored their first goals of the campaign against a Boreham Wood side who played for almost the whole game with 10 men.

But it was a tense finish after ex-Fleet striker Tyrone Marsh halved the deficit from the penalty spot.

Gozie Ugwu scored his first goal of the season on Monday Picture: Andy Jones
Gozie Ugwu scored his first goal of the season on Monday Picture: Andy Jones

Just two days on from the 2-2 draw with Notts County, boss Garry Hill made three changes to his starting XI.

Frankie Sutherland, impressive off the bench in that game, was handed his full debut in midfield while Ayo Obileye returned to the team as a centre-half. Ugwu was picked to partner Josh Umerah in attack, with both players having been at Boreham Wood last season.

The game was barely three minutes old when the referee pulled out his red card. Lawrie Wilson was clean through on goal, having run onto John Goddard's slide rule pass, when last man Femi Ilesanmi brought him down, leaving referee Daniel Middleton no choice but to send him off.

Wilson's fall carried him into the penalty area but Mr Middleton awarded a free-kick, which Myles Weston fired into the wall.

Boreham Wood survived the resulting corner and Kieran Murtagh saw a rising shot deflect behind at the other end but it was Fleet making most of the early running.

Their pressing was suffocating the home side and Ebbsfleet, with the territorial advantage, scored from two corners in the space of three minutes.

The first was worked short to Ball outside the penalty area and he whipped a brilliant shot across David Gregory into the far top corner.

Fleet's lead was quickly doubled as Goddard's next corner from the left travelled all the way to the back post, where Ugwu planted a firm volley into the back of the net.

Wood were being picked apart by some lovely build-up play and Ball fired a low shot inches wide of the near post as Fleet threatened a third goal.

But the home side did grow into the contest, with Jordan Holmes diving left to push out a Murtagh free-kick while the Fleet defence were tested by a series of balls into their box.

They stood up to the task, though, with Holmes well-protected by a back three who didn't lose much in the air.

Wilson and Sutherland combined well from a throw-in, wide on the right, and Ball had the space to unload another shot which was saved by Gregory.

Fleet were working hard all over the pitch, in serious heat, and Sutherland charged down Adam McDonnell's goalbound effort before crossing at the other end for Ugwu, who headed wide.

It was almost 3-0 early in the second half when Goddard's stunning free-kick from 30 yards dipped and left Gregory grasping thin air as it smacked against the crossbar.

Fleet then had a goal disallowed when Ugwu bundled home Weston's cross at the near post, although it took a fine fingertip save from Holmes to deny Murtagh a goal back for Boreham Wood.

Hill changed his shape when Aswad Thomas replaced Josh Umerah just after the hour, Fleet switching to a back four for the last 30 minutes.

The game then threatened to boil over following an aerial clash between Ugwu and Tom Champion. The Boreham Wood man had blood pouring down his face and the home side wanted Ugwu sent off for an elbow but he escaped with a caution.

When play restarted, David Stephens clattered into Ugwu and had his name taken as the officials did their best to keep on top of things.

With emotions running high, Wood threw everything they had at the visitors and Justin Shaibu headed against the post before substitute Marsh scored from the penalty spot to set up a grandstand finish.

Obileye, having moved from defence into midfield, finished the game playing centre-forward and it was all hands to the pump late on.

The board went up for six added minutes and Boreham Wood piled everyone forward for a series of late corners - including the goalkeeper - but Ebbsfleet held on.

Boreham Wood: Gregory, Woodards, Ilesanmi, Ricketts, Champion (Thompson 68mins), Stephens, McDonnell (Marsh 74mins), Tshimanga (Shaibu 56mins), Murtagh, Thomas, Smith. Subs not used: Shakes, Huddart.

Ebbsfleet: Holmes, Obileye, King, Grimes, Wilson, Ball, Sutherland, Goddard (Shields 85mins), Weston, Ugwu (Lawless 83mins), Umerah (Thomas 62mins). Subs not used: Egan, N'Gala.

Attendance: 533 (172 away).

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