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Ebbsfleet United 1 Aldershot Town 2 match report

Ebbsfleet were easily beaten by Aldershot at Stonebridge Road on Saturday.

Both teams began the day in the National League relegation zone but the Shots were better in every department.

They also missed a penalty while Fleet assistant Ian Hendon was sent from the dugout.

Ebbsfleet assistant manager Ian Hendon is sent from the dugout Picture: Andy Jones
Ebbsfleet assistant manager Ian Hendon is sent from the dugout Picture: Andy Jones

Alex Lawless was restored to the Ebbsfleet midfield and Bondz N'Gala replaced Ayo Obileye in the back three while there were two new signings on the bench. Botti Biabi and Alex Reid, both strikers, came straight into the squad with their deals having been announced less than an hour before kick-off.

Dean Rance captained Aldershot on his first return to Stonebridge Road since leaving Fleet in the summer after six years.

The visitors dominated the first half, spending plenty of time in the Ebbsfleet half and creating plenty of chances.

Ethan Chislett swirled a free-kick wide after Rance had been bundled over by Lawless, who then did well to charge down Alfy Whittingham's shot from a dangerous position.

At the other end, Gozie Ugwu was putting himself about although his header from a Lawrie Wilson cross was easily gathered by Mitch Walker.

John Goddard's long shot sailed into the Swanscombe End and Josh Umerah was eased out as he tried to latch onto Myles Weston's back-post header from another Wilson cross.

A clever ball round the corner from Shamir Mullings sent Connor Shields running to the byline and his low cross flashed through the six-yard box without a touch, before Lawless had his name taken for a petulant kick at Whittingham.

New signing Botti Biabi hooks the ball into the goalmouth Picture: Andy Jones
New signing Botti Biabi hooks the ball into the goalmouth Picture: Andy Jones

Aldershot were well on top and they would have taken the lead had Chislett, running onto a through-ball from Whittingham, not been denied in the nick of time by a brilliant covering N'Gala challenge.

Two Shots defenders ran into each other trying to deal with a high ball, and Wilson tried his luck with an ambitious half-volley from outside the box but it was some way off target.

Mullings chested down a free-kick and volleyed over, with Aldershot's pressing game hurrying Fleet into mistakes whenever they tried to build in midfield.

The home side were insipid, lacking energy and losing their battles all over the pitch.

It was no surprise, therefore, when Aldershot took the lead two minutes before half-time. Lawless, knowing he couldn't risk another foul, was powerless to stop the move starting down the right flank and Shields outstripped Ugwu before laying on a tap-in for Aaron Eyoma.

Ebbsfleet needed a reaction in the second half but instead, they conceded a penalty within five minutes of the restart. Shields got beyond Wilson far too easily and was knocked over by N'Gala but Holmes guessed correctly and saved Shields' spot-kick diving to his right.

A double substitution soon followed, with Reid sent on for his debutant and Frankie Sutherland replacing Lawless in the centre of midfield.

Alex Reid looks to make something happen after coming on for his debut Picture: Andy Jones
Alex Reid looks to make something happen after coming on for his debut Picture: Andy Jones

Fleet were sleepwalking through the game and Garry Hill was livid on the touchline - but his mood was about to get even worse.

Wretched defending saw Jamie Grimes fail to deal with Shields and when the ball ran for Chislett, he dribbled round Holmes and rolled the ball into an empty net.

Wilson leaned back and blazed Weston's cross over the bar as the Shots fans took great delight in taunting their hosts and former Woking manager Hill in particular.

A game which should have been a battle had become a walk in the park for Aldershot and Chislett stepped inside before bending a shot wide of the far post.

Tempers flared when Whittingham launched into a challenge on Jack King but he escaped with a booking, with Grimes also cautioned for his retaliation. Hendon had a few choice words for referee Elliott Swallow and was shown a red card.

Holmes pulled off another good save to deny the excellent Mullings before Walker topped that by stretching to keep out Wilson's header.

Ugwu set up a lively finish when he smashed the ball home eight minutes from time although Mullings almost restored Aldershot's two-goal lead after running clear down the left.

James Ball could have equalised at the death but there was no conviction in his shot from Weston's cross, the ball dribbling tamely wide.

Ebbsfleet: Holmes, N'Gala (Biabi 64mins), King, Grimes, Wilson, Lawless (Reid 53mins), Ball, Goddard, Weston, Ugwu, Umerah (Sutherland 53mins). Subs not used: Thomas, Obileye.

Aldershot: Walker, Tinkler, Kinsella, Rance, Lyons-Foster, Mullings, Shields, Whittingham, Eyoma, Fowler, Chislett. Subs not used: Hall, Santos, Panayiotou, Kudyiwa, Montague.

Attendance: 1,109.

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