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Ebbsfleet United 3 Maidenhead United 0 match report

By Steve Tervet

Ebbsfleet ended their goal drought with a well-deserved win over Maidenhead on Tuesday night.

Having gone almost six hours without scoring at Stonebridge Road, the Fleet rediscovered their touch to sink the Magpies.

Corey Whitely and Michael Cheek got the goals as Garry Hill's side won at home for the first time in almost two months.

Corey Whitely scored Ebbsfleet's first goal Picture: Andy Jones
Corey Whitely scored Ebbsfleet's first goal Picture: Andy Jones

On-loan striker Gozie Ugwu went straight into the Fleet starting line-up, with Jack King taking the captain's armband in the absence of Andy Drury and Dave Winfield.

Myles Weston got forward well from left-back in the opening stages and saw his long shot deflect behind for a corner before Whitely drove into space and picked out Bagasan Graham at the back post. However, the offside flag went up just as Graham's fierce shot was beaten out by goalkeeper Carl Pentney.

At the other end, Adrian Clifton turned well and got a shot away but it was never troubling Nathan Ashmore as it sailed over the bar.

Ryan Upward was cautioned for dragging Ebou Adams down just outside the box and Jack Payne's free-kick beat the wall but not Pentney, who fell on the ball at the second attempt.

Ugwu was feeding off scraps up front but he used his body well to hold the ball up and bring Graham into play down the left. Graham's cross reached Cheek in the middle but his header was blocked, before Whitely smacked a shot against Ugwu.

Maidenhead's brightest moment of the first half was provided by Harold Odametey, who skipped past Weston and then took advantage of a slip by King by running into the box although Ashmore was equal to his low shot, saving well with his feet.

Ayo Obileye sent a free header over from the resulting corner and Payne picked out Cheek with a decent dinked ball at the other end but Pentney reached up and caught Cheek's header just as it was looping towards the top corner.

Six minutes into the second half, Ebbsfleet hit the front. The goal was borne out of Whitely's persistence as he closed down a defender, blocking his attempted clearance and sliding the ball low beyond Pentney from a narrow angle.

Having waited so long for one goal, Fleet scored a second within seven minutes. Ugwu ran onto Payne's through-ball and almost forced the ball past Pentney but the goalkeeper's touch only carried the ball into Cheek's path and he rammed it home.

You could see the confidence returning now that Ebbsfleet were ahead and Graham was a particularly good outlet down the left.

Maidenhead knew they needed a goal quickly and Remy Clerima had a shot blocked before Josh Kelly shot wide of an open goal after beating the offside trap and rounding Ashmore.

But the home defence defended their box well and the Magpies missed another big chance when Upward, on the slide, failed to convert a low ball which was fizzed through the six-yard box.

And it was game over, 11 minutes from time, when Cheek played a neat one-two with Ugwu and fired past Pentney for his second of the game.

Danny Kedwell came off the bench and played the last 10 minutes at centre-half, making some crucial blocks and even taking goal kicks with Ashmore labouring.

Good link-up between Ugwu and Freddy Moncur created one final chance for Cheek but Pentney was out quickly to deny him a hat-trick.

Whitely gifted Odametey a golden chance deep in stoppage-time but he blazed wildly over to sum up Maidenhead's night.

Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, Wilson (Kedwell 80mins), Magri, King, Weston, Whitely, Adams (Omar 88mins), Payne (Moncur 76mins), Graham, Cheek, Ugwu. Sub not used: Miles.

Maidenhead: Pentney, Clerima, Odametey, Obileye (Nombe 70mins), Comley (Worsfold 78mins), Twumasi, Sheckleford, Clifton, Upward, Owusu (Kelly 63mins), Massey. Subs not used: Alves, Akintunde.

Attendance: 811.

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