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Ebbsfleet United 0 Solihull Moors 1 match report

By Steve Tervet

There were ugly scenes as Ebbsfleet's winning run at Stonebridge Road was ended by title-chasing Solihull Moors.

Four players were sent off in added time following a mass brawl.

Adi Yussuf's goal, early in the second half, proved to be the winner but this game will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

It all boils over in stoppage-time Picture: Andy Jones
It all boils over in stoppage-time Picture: Andy Jones

Both sides were playing league football for the first time in a fortnight and there were three changes to the Ebbsfleet starting line-up. Dean Rance and Corey Whitely were preferred to Ebou Adams and Bagasan Graham in midfield while Cody McDonald was recalled to partner Danny Kedwell in attack.

Yusuff replaced Nathan Blissett in the only change for Solihull, who arrived in Kent three points off the top of the table.

The first half was a scrappy affair with both sides looking to impose themselves on the other physically.

Solihull keeper Ryan Boot pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury inside the first five minutes and although he was able to play on, didn't look comfortable with the ball at his feet.

He was forced into a save, low to his right, when McDonald improvised a clever bicycle kick from Jack Payne's flat cross and Whitely then drilled a low shot wide from 20 yards when Moors failed to clear a Payne corner.

But how the visitors didn't take the lead on 14 minutes was purely down to the brilliance of Nathan Ashmore in the Fleet goal.

Jack Payne goes for goal against Solihull Picture: Andy Jones
Jack Payne goes for goal against Solihull Picture: Andy Jones

He somehow clawed out Jermaine Hylton's header from a terrific Kyle Storer cross and also blocked the rebound from close-range before dealing with a third strike from distance.

Solihull are one of the biggest sides in the league and they peppered the Ebbsfleet box with a few high balls and long throws but found the home defence in stubborn mood.

At the other end, Jack King was being held as he tried to bring down Chris Bush's throw-in but the officials missed the infringement.

Things were spiced up further by a late challenge on Payne which went unpunished and while Fleet were playing most of the football, they weren't afraid to mix it either.

King and Yussuf both went in strongly before shaking hands, while Danny Kedwell came away wagging his finger after Tyrone Williams went down under his lunging challenge when there appeared to be no contact.

Another long throw caused the home side momentary concern in added time but again they dealt with the threat and half-time arrived with the scoresheet blank.

Cody McDonald appeals for a penalty Picture: Andy Jones
Cody McDonald appeals for a penalty Picture: Andy Jones

Ashmore produced more heroics to thwart the visitors three minutes into the second half, scrambling back to keep out Hylton's deflected shot which looked certain to loop over his head.

But Solihull were building up a head of steam and after King had almost turned a Jamie Reckord cross into his own net, Yussuf powered home a header from Darren Carter's corner to break the deadlock.

That quietened the home crowd and Moors had a stranglehold for a while although McDonald and King both went close in a penalty area scramble when Payne whipped in a free-kick from the right.

Fleet assistant Ian Hendon received a talking-to from the referee moments before Hylton jinked away from two defenders and launched a shot into the Swanscombe End.

Garry Hill sent on Graham and Michael Cheek just after the hour while the visitors, defending their box doggedly, did well to get in the way of a goalbound Payne shot.

However, it took another splendid save from Ashmore to deny Danny Wright after the striker had made 50 yards with a powerful run on the counter-attack.

Bagasan Graham is sent off for his part in the brawl Picture: Andy Jones
Bagasan Graham is sent off for his part in the brawl Picture: Andy Jones

Moors used all the dark arts to slow the game down late on but should have doubled their lead when Wright blazed over from Hylton's cutback.

When Bush floated a free-kick straight into Boot's arms, it rather summed up Ebbsfleet's frustration and Payne drilled a shot wide after bringing down a high ball on the edge of the box.

Payne had another shot, three minutes from time but again, the well-drilled Moors defence got in his way.

Things got totally out of control in stoppage-time, though, as four players were sent off.

Graham and Luke Maxwell saw red following a mass brawl and there was still time for Rance and Wright to go during 12 minutes of absolute mayhem.

Rance's dismissal - a second yellow card - was for an alleged dive when he looked to have been clearly fouled in the penalty area.

Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, Wilson (Weston 75mins), Magri, King, Bush, Rance, Drury (Graham 64mins), Payne, Whitely, Kedwell (Cheek 64mins), McDonald. Subs not used: Adams, Miles.

Solihull: Boot, Williams, Daly, Gudger, Reckord, Osborne, Storer, Carter (Maxwell 66mins), Wright, Hylton (Blissett 85mins), Yussuf (Hawkridge 69mins). Subs not used: Carline, Vaughan.

Attendance: 1,325.

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