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Southend United 3 Ebbsfleet United 0 match report: Fleet lose in National League

Ebbsfleet conceded for the 14th successive game as they lost at Southend in the National League on Tuesday night.

The Fleet were improved in many ways as they looked to build on their weekend point at bottom side AFC Fylde but Southend always had too much class and eventually eased their way to a comfortable three points.

Dennis Kutrieb. Ebbsfleet v Dulwich Hamlet Vanarama National League South, Kuflink Stadium, 10 October 2020.
Dennis Kutrieb. Ebbsfleet v Dulwich Hamlet Vanarama National League South, Kuflink Stadium, 10 October 2020.

Ebbsfleet handed a debut to on-loan centre-back Mustapha Olagunju, who joined from Huddersfield until the end of January.

The 21-year-old featured in a back three with Chris Solly returning to the line-up in defence while Luke O’Neill was on the bench against one of his former clubs. Hayden White featured at right wing-back.

Southend fielded striker Daniel Kanu, on-loan from Charlton, who was a much sought-after signature in non-league circles after a good record in youth and reserve football.

There’s a feel-good factor now on and off the pitch at Southend, they certainly deserve it after some torrid times, and the hosts seemed to relish in the atmosphere.

Jack Bridge picked out Kanu early on but his shot was blocked, then the young striker turned the ball wide from close range after more good work down the left.

Dominic Poleon was playing as the lone striker at the other end and he had a sight of goal midway through the half but fired wide of the far post.

Southend took the lead on 25 minutes. Billy Clifford sold new boy Olagunju short in midfield and Ebbsfleet were never able to recover after being caught out. The ball was eventually worked to Oli Coker, who delivered a brilliant finish into the far corner from the edge of the area.

It should have been 2-0 seven minutes later when Bridge again got joy down the left, but Harry Cardwell shot wide from his centre.

Southend looked well in charge but the Fleet still had their moments in the first half. Franklin Domi fed Clifford who shot over. Then White led a three-on-two break but Clifford hesitated with his shot, perhaps thinking that Poleon was going to take the chance on instead of leaving it.

Clifford, booked for a late challenge just before the break, was replaced at half-time by Nathan Odokonyero, who gave Poleon some much-needed support up front.

It took Odokonyero just a couple of minutes to fashion an opening as his pace got him behind the defender but he fired wastefully wide from an angle after taking the chance early.

But the game looked to be beyond the visitors just eight minutes into the second half when Coker laid the ball back for captain Gus Scott-Morriss, who delivered a beautiful chip over the head of keeper Mark Cousins and into the far corner.

Substitute Omari Sterling-James nearly made an immediate impact with 20 minutes left but his deflected shot was headed clear as it looked to have beaten keeper Nick Hayes.

Southend added a third goal with seven minutes left when substitute Jack Wood raced clear and finished beyond Cousins.

Southend: Hayes, Scott-Morriss, Kensdale, Bridge, Husin (MacDonald 90+3mins), Cardwell, Taylor, Fonguck, Kanu (Wood 78mins), Kabongolo, Coker (Vilhete 68mins). Sub not used: n/a.

Ebbsfleet: Cousins, White, Olagunju, Hollis, Chapman, Solly, Wright, Clifford (Odokonyero 46mins), Domi (Edser 63mins), Tanner (Sterling-James 68mins), Poleon. Subs not used: O’Neill, Amoo.

Referee: Ritchie Watkins.

Attendance: 6,339 (242 away).

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