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Maidenhead United 0 Ebbsfleet United 1 match report: Substitute Dominic Samuel scores winner in National League

Substitute Dominic Samuel’s late winner lifted Ebbsfleet out of the National League relegation zone on Tuesday night.

Samuel had only been on the pitch for nine minutes when he tucked home his third goal in Fleet colours to give Dennis Kutrieb’s a much-needed three points.

Declan Skura carries the ball towards goal for Ebbsfleet at Maidenhead. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Declan Skura carries the ball towards goal for Ebbsfleet at Maidenhead. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

With Woking losing at runaway leaders Chesterfield, the Fleet lifted themselves out of the bottom four.

Ebbsfleet made five changes from the side that lost 1-0 at home to Hartlepool on Saturday.

Rakish Bingham made only his second league start since returning from injury, partnering Dominic Poleon for the first time since March.

Also coming in were Mustapha Omagunju - back on loan from Huddersfield following injury - along with Craig Tanner, Omari Sterling-James and Ben Chapman.

The Fleet reverted to their favoured 3-5-2 formation, with Poleon down the middle and they looked a much better side than at the weekend.

That said, despite playing uphill and into a strong wind in the first half, Maidenhead hit the post and bar in the first half, and had an effort cleared off the line.

Ebbsfleet’s Ouss Cisse saw his near-post header saved from a Tanner corner early on before the accomplish Declan Skura carried the ball forward from his own half, and eventually fired in a low shot that forced keeper Craig Ross into action.

Maidenhead’s first attempt at goal came on 22 minutes but Reece Smith’s free-kick from 20 yards sailed harmlessly over the bar.

The Fleet then had a free-kick of their own at the other end, Sterling-James’ right-foot shot coming back off the upright and then Bingham’s shot was deflected wide for a corner.

Maidenhead then started to create chances. Former Ebbsfleet loanee Ashley Nathaniel-George saw his 30-yard right-foot piledriver crash back off the bar. Then Skura made up for losing the ball at the back by making two fantastic blocks to deny striker Shawn McCoulsky a certain goal.

Another defensive slip let the hosts in just before the break when Myles Kenlock failed to keep the ball on the edge of his own box but Casey Pettit’s low shot came back off the post.

A driving run out of defence - a pleasing feature of the Fleet’s play throughout - this time by Kenlock at the start of the second half saw him cross for Poleon to lay off before Tanner’s low shot was blocked.

Ebbsfleet keeper Mark Cousins was forced into an excellent save on 56 minutes to turn behind Smith’s right-foot shot from 20 yards.

A flowing Fleet move ended with Chapman’s shot being deflected behind for a corner before another sharp exchange ended with Sterling-James’ low shot being blocked.

With 10 minutes left Maidenhead substitute Chanka ZImba headed over a fierce right-wing cross by full-back Zico Asare but the expected onslaught with the slope and wind in the home side’s favour didn’t happen.

The Fleet took the lead just two minutes later when substitute Franklin Domi played the ball into Poleon and his lay-off was expertly finished off by Samuel into the bottom corner.

Pettit turned his shot wide of the near post with two minutes left as Maidenhead looked for an equaliser but the Fleet held on for three huge points.

Maidenhead: Ross, Asare, Beckwith, Lokko, George, McCoulsky (Zimba 75mins), Ferdinand, Pettit, Smith (Mitchell-Lawson 75mins), Massey, Barratt. Subs not used: De Havilland, Clerima, Adams.

Ebbsfleet: Cousins, Skura, Olangunju (O’Neill 61mins), Kenlock, Sterling-James (Domi 78mins), Wright, Cisse, Tanner, Chapman, Bingham (Samuel 73mins), Poleon. Subs not used: Clifford, Ibe.

Referee: Alan Dale.

Attendance: 985.

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