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Ebbsfleet United 1 Eastleigh 1 match report

Ebbsfleet's wait for a home win goes on after they were held by Eastleigh.

Alex Reid, on loan from Stevenage, scored his first Fleet goal but they couldn't hold onto the lead.

A fine strike from Tyrone Barnett earned the Spitfires a point and kept Garry Hill's side entrenched in the National League relegation zone.

Alex Reid celebrates putting Ebbsfleet in front against Eastleigh Picture: Andy Jones
Alex Reid celebrates putting Ebbsfleet in front against Eastleigh Picture: Andy Jones

Both sides were unchanged from their midweek matches, which meant a home debut for Tyler Cordner in the centre of Fleet's back four.

Jack Payne started for Eastleigh having turned down a new deal at Ebbsfleet in the summer.

It was announced pre-match that goalkeeper Jordan Holmes had signed a permanent contract at Stonebridge Road and he watched an early Barnett header drop just wide.

But it was Fleet who made the brighter start, James Ball's header from a Frankie Sutherland cross held by Max Stryjek before Andrew Boyce denied Alex Reid a shot at goal with a brilliant last-ditch tackle.

The home side then opened up Eastleigh down the right-hand side and Josh Umerah delivered a good low cross but Reid spooned his effort over the bar with the goal gaping.

At the other end, Holmes got right behind Jack McKnight's low shot and the Spitfires had strangled penalty claims dismissed after Barnett felt contact from Cordner and went down in the box.

Josh Umerah tries to get beyond Joe Partington Picture: Andy Jones
Josh Umerah tries to get beyond Joe Partington Picture: Andy Jones

It was all a bit frantic for a while, neither side able to get their foot on the ball and Fleet not doing enough to control things in midfield.

But when a corner dropped at the back post for Obileye, his low shot had to be hacked off the line and Cordner then headed wide from Myles Weston's right-wing cross.

Weston was having a good game down the Fleet right and he saw a shot blocked after deciding to go alone on a run into the box.

The deadlock was broken seven minutes before half-time and what a good goal it was. Josh Umerah played in Ball down the inside-right channel and Reid made a good run to convert his driven low cross from just a few yards out.

Danny Hollands strode into space and powered an effort wide but otherwise the Fleet reached half-time with no real alarms.

Reid forced a mistake at the start of the second period and went for goal but his shot was blocked when a pass might have been the best option.

Ayo Obileye up for a header against Eastleigh Picture: Andy Jones
Ayo Obileye up for a header against Eastleigh Picture: Andy Jones

A shot from Umerah deflected behind for a corner, from which Obileye sent a header skimming wide of the far post.

Fleet broke well and should have made it 2-0 when Reid and Umerah combined to set up Ball - but his attempted flick was easily gathered by Stryjek.

There was good energy about the home side, who were on the front foot, and Umerah volleyed over after controlling a high ball into the box.

Weston then beat two men and was clear in the box before appearing to be dragged down by wing-back Michael Green. However, referee Richard Hulme booked Weston for diving with the decision greeted by apoplexy at the Plough End.

Less than a minute later, Eastleigh were level thanks to a crashing finish from Barnett which beat Holmes for pace as it flew into the roof of the net.

Suddenly the visitors had their tails up and Boyce powered a header just wide after climbing well to meet Joe Partington's cross at the far post.

With the Spitfires on top, it needed a change and Garry Hill made two, sending on Gozie Ugwu and Botti Biabi for the last 15 minutes.

Lawrie Wilson had to be alert to take a cross off McKnight's toe and when Ugwu hit a shot, he probably wished he hadn't as it skewed well wide off his left boot.

Weston got away down the left but failed to pick out a red shirt in the middle and Ball lashed a late shot over when Eastleigh failed to clear a Weston free-kick.

Ebbsfleet finished the game deep in Eastleigh territory but simply didn't have the quality to find a winning goal.

Ebbsfleet: Holmes, Wilson, King, Cordner, Thomas, Sutherland, Ball, Obileye, Weston, Umerah (Ugwu 77mins), Reid (Biabi 77mins). Subs not used: Palmer, Grimes, Egan.

Eastleigh: Stryjek, Partington, Johnson, Boyce, Seaman (Barnes 63mins), Payne, Hollands, McKnight (Miley 83mins), Green, Bennett, Williamson (Rendell 86mins). Subs not used: Baughan, Bearwish.

Attendance: 865.

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