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Ebbsfleet United 1 Chorley 0 match report: David Gregory saves penalty in last minute

Ebbsfleet keeper David Gregory went from zero to hero in a dramatic finish on Saturday.

Gregory gave fellow National League strugglers Chorley a penalty - but then saved Alex Newby’s 89th-minute spot-kick as the Fleet held on for three precious points.

Ebbsfleet celebrate the only goal of the game against Chorley. Picture: Sean Aidan FM29299514
Ebbsfleet celebrate the only goal of the game against Chorley. Picture: Sean Aidan FM29299514

The Fleet keeper had misjudged a through ball in the wind, before fouling substitute Alex Kiwomya just inside the penalty area.

Gregory then produced arguably an even better save in stoppage time to keep out Matty Challoner's close-range effort.

It was a largely forgettable first half, although the rain was not as bad as forecast. The wind was the main contributing factor with the Fleet predominantly playing into the wind.

Chorley failed to take advantage of having those conditions in their favour. Captain Jake Cottrell dragged a weak long-range effort well wide and Fleet keeper David Gregory had to be on his guard to claim a Scott Duxbury free-kick from out wide which took the wind and bounced in front of him.

Fleet looked at their best on the counter attack or when a couple of passing moves came off. Frankie Sutherland’s long-range shot was turned behind for a corner but set-pieces from both sides failed to create any chances.

A rare flowing move from the visitors saw Gozie Ugwu feed John Goddard on the counter attack and his right-foot shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Chorley captain Cottrell went into the book on the stroke of half-time with neither team particularly happy with referee Adrian Quelch as the half came to a close.

The first few minutes of the second half were a marked improvement. Andre Blackman’s deep cross was turned behind for a corner, from which Sutherland’s cross was put narrowly wide by Adam Mekki from a cleverly worked set-play move.

Chorley then broke with Josh O’Keefe and Marcus Carver exchanging passes before the ball was put behind for a corner.

Andre Blackman works his way down the wing for Ebbsfleet against Chorley. Picture: Sean Aidan FM29299511
Andre Blackman works his way down the wing for Ebbsfleet against Chorley. Picture: Sean Aidan FM29299511

Carver capitalised on a weak backpass by Jack King on 53 minutes but his initial shot was blocked by Gregory and the rebound was deflected wide for a corner.

The breakthrough came just before the hour mark. Sutherland delivered a brilliant free-kick into the danger area and King turned the ball beyond keeper Matt Urwin.

Chorley should have levelled midway through the second half when Carver beat the offside trap but he put his right-foot shot wide of the upright.

The visitors went close again with 13 minutes left when a right-wing corner caused problems in the Fleet defence, substitute Kiwomya going close before Scott Duxbury’s effort was cleared off the line.

Fleet lost defender Ayo Obileye to injury late on and they managed to hold on for three precious points - but not before the late drama.

Ebbsfleet: Gregory, King, Obileye (Grimes 86mins), Wilson, Blackman, Ugwu (Adeloye 80mins), Goddard (McGlashan 70mins), Sutherland, Ekpiteta, Payne, Mekki. Subs not used: Umerah, Holmes.

Chorley: Urwin, Challoner, Meppen-Walter, A Newby, O'Keefe (Nortey 85mins), Carver, Ross, Cottrell (Kiwomya 63mins), Smith, Duxbury, Kay (E Newby 75mins). Subs not used: Blakeman, Baines.

Attendance: 712.


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