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Ebbsfleet United 3 Wrexham 0 match report

Ebbsfleet put Wrexham to the sword on one of the great nights at Stonebridge Road.

Corey Whitely fired them in front against a Red Dragons side with serious promotion aspirations.

Late goals from Danny Kedwell and Luke Coulson had the ground rocking and it's now nine matches unbeaten for Fleet in the National League.

Ebbsfleet manager Daryl McMahon Picture: Andy Jones
Ebbsfleet manager Daryl McMahon Picture: Andy Jones

Dean Rance missed the game because of illness so Jack Powell came into the Fleet midfield while for the visitors, Nicky Deverdics and Simon Ainge replaced the injured Sam Wedgbury and Chris Holroyd.

Rance's absence was noticeable early on as Ebbsfleet gave the Red Dragons too much space to play.

Ainge found Scott Quigley in space but his shot didn't have the power to worry Nathan Ashmore, although Fleet began to make too many fouls in their own defensive third.

Marcus Kelly's left-footed deliveries were dangerous and when Winfield jumped illegally with Quigley, Manny Smith headed the free-kick over.

Kelly's next delivery was glanced into the net but Fleet were saved by the referee's whistle and eventually the hosts began to gain a foothold.

Luke Coulson's through-ball was a touch heavy for Corey Whitely, who took up good areas and showed some lovely touches in the first half.

Good hold-up play by Danny Kedwell then allowed team-mates to join in with play and he spread play wide to Sean Shields on the left. The winger in turn fed Powell, 20 yards out, and he flashed a shot wide.

But with Powell on a booking, the home side lacked bite in midfield and it was all to easy for Wrexham to play their football.

More silly fouls gave Kelly good position from set-pieces and he picked out Smith for another header which dropped off-target before Ashmore claimed the next free-kick.

Ebbsfleet did have their moments but they had to work the ball in very tight areas as Wrexham got men back behind the ball quickly.

The link-up between Coulson and Whitely looked the key to breaking through, with Coulson seeing a shot grabbed by Chris Dunn after his initial effort had struck a defender.

At times Whitely was one step ahead of his colleagues and was left waiting for a run which never came.

But Ebbsfleet should have taken the lead on the half-hour when Dunn stood up to save from Coulson, whose first shot came back off Smith.

Whitely teed up Kedwell for a low shot which fizzed just wide and Shields, who was starved of possession in the first half, cut in from the left and saw his low shot spilled by Dunn although Whitely wasn't quite alive to the loose ball.

But five minutes into the second half, Ebbsfleet hit the front. Powell, nice and positive in his running, popped the ball into Whitely's feet and with the angle narrowing he smashed a low shot past Dunn.

The threat from Kelly's set-pieces was always there and he tried to catch Ashmore out at his near post but could only find the side netting.

Wrexham pushed men forward and Quigley thumped a long shot wide after turning Kenny Clark but Ebbsfleet's pace on the counter-attack was frightening.

Whitely and Coulson gave the Red Dragons all sorts of problems when they broke. Whitely hared down the right, got his head up well and when he switched play crossfield, Coulson drilled a shot against the post.

You could sense the nerves around Stonebridge Road as time ticked away. Quigley got free in the box but two excellent blocks from Marvin McCoy kept him at bay.

Ashmore got fingertips to a Kelly shot which crashed down into the turf and almost bounced over the keeper.

The pressure mounted and Wrexham thought they'd equalised only for the assistant's flag to rescue Ebbsfleet.

But six minutes from time, the home side made it 2-0. Substitute Norman Wabo's low cross found Coulson and he set the ball for Kedwell to power the ball into the bottom corner.

Fleet still had plenty of defending to do but they were up to the task and put the icing on the cake deep in stoppage-time.

Great work from Wabo won the ball high up the field and when he found Coulson in acres of space, the man-of-the-match lashed his shot into the top corner to round off one of the great nights at Stonebridge Road.

Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, McCoy, Winfield, Clark, Bush, Whitely (Wabo 74mins), Drury, Powell (Wilson 90mins), Shields (Weston 86mins), Coulson, Kedwell. Subs not used: Connors, Miles, Wilson.

Wrexham: Dunn, Raven, Smith, Pearson, Jennings, Rutherford (Mackreth 67mins), Wright (Boden 82mins), Kelly, Deverdics, Ainge, Quigley. Subs not used: Dibble, Franks, Carrington.

Attendance: 1,376

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