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Ebbsfleet United 1 Havant & Waterlooville 2 match report

Two goals in the first six minutes proved decisive as Ebbsfleet lost for the first time this season in National League South.

Havant, one of the teams expected to be in the thick of the title race, produced a whirlwind start at Stonebridge Road against a Fleet side that made four changes to the team that drew at Chelmsford on Monday.

Lee Martin - scored for Ebbsfleet against Havant. Picture: Keith Gillard
Lee Martin - scored for Ebbsfleet against Havant. Picture: Keith Gillard

Havant led inside the second minute, the impressive Josh Passley feeding Tommy Wright who left Sido Jombati trailing behind him before firing confidently beyond keeper Josh Gould.

Within four minutes, a shell-shocked Stonebridge Road was in virtual silence as Havant doubled their lead. The ball was recycled after an intial right-wing cross by Scott Rendell. When the ball was played back in, Wright's header hit the crossbar and then Rendell converted the rebound, which Gould probably could have done better with.

Stunned Ebbsfleet nearly replied immediately but keeper Ross Worner pushed away Alfie Egan's right-foot drive.

A loose ball in the Fleet defence from Jack Paxman nearly presented a third for Havant but Wright's near-post effort was blocked by Gould.

Wright put Joe Newton's cross wide at the near post as Havant dominated the opening half-hour.

Ebbsfleet found their feet just before the break. Jombati's flick set up Egan, who forced another save from Worner. Then Newton was back smartly to deny Ben Chapman a clear sight of goal.

The complexion of the game changed on the stroke of half-time as Greg Cundle delivered into Dominic Poleon, and his pull back found Martin to curl home brilliantly from the edge of the area.

Martin had another good chance at the start of the second half when his low shot was fumbled by Worner.

But Havant could have easily extended their lead when Wright headed over after more good work by Passley down the right wing.

Ebbsfleet pushed Havant back, searching for the equaliser, and were nearly level on 65 minutes as Tanner picked out Egan in the box but his low effort was kept out by the legs of Worner.

Havant used every time-wasting trick in the box to try and break the game down and stop the Fleet's momentum.

Fleet introduced Rakish Bingham and Elliott Romain in a bid to force an equaliser, the former turning wide Chapman's excellent right-wing delivery with 10 minutes remaining.

Bingham then headed a glorious chance to equalise four minutes from time. Tanner's vision picked out Martin and his cross was somehow turned wide by Bingham who could only stand in disbelief as the ball went the wrong side of the upright.

Substitute James Roberts beat two challenges and it needed a foul by Chris Solly, which earned him a yellow card, to stop his progress as Havant always threatened on the break.

Ebbsfleet: Gould, J Martin, Jombati (Bingham 62mins), Solly, Chapman, Egan, Paxman, Cundle, L Martin, Tanner (West 87mins), Poleon (Romain 75mins). Subs not used: Haigh, Kahraman.

Havant: Worner, Passley, Oastler, Magri (Gobern 63mins), McCarthy, Rooney, Clifford (Roberts 67mins), Newton, Adebowale, Rendell (Wall 67mins), Wright. Subs not used: Baggie, Searle.

Referee: Richie Watkins.

Attendance: 1,214.

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