FLEET ARE NO TEAM IN CRISIS! LINE-UPS
RUMOURS of Ebbsfleet United’s imminent demise continued to be exaggerated as they comfortably strode past a bereft Aldershot Town side to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches.
Michael Cheek, with his fourth goal in three games, and a Danny Kedwell penalty earned Fleet a first away win in two months, and Garry Hill stressed the confidence and quality in his new squad at the end of another week of changes at Stonebridge Road.
“Things change at football clubs. The boss wants the structure to change, and I totally respect that,” admitted Hill.
“We don’t need a big squad, but there’s a lot of quality players in our changing room who have basically under-achieved. The performances are going with the results now and they’ve got to start believing that they’re capable of putting a run together which can surprise a few people.
“It was a superb performance,” praised the former Woking boss. “We totally dominated, very professional and very strong. It’s a good three points, no doubt about that.”
Ebbsfleet made the early running and, even in a stilted, disjointed opening half, remained quicker, sharper and more cohesive than their lifeless opponents. Kedwell, in the first minute, and Corey Whitely wasted promising opportunities, while Jack Payne’s volley crashed off the crossbar in a rare moment of excitement.
At the other end, Adam May lacked power in his finish from distance, and the Shots – whose injury-hit, 14-man matchday squad had mustered a mere eight league goals for Gary Waddock’s side – struggled badly for creativity and ball retention.
Two minutes after the break, Josh Barrett’s angled drive was smothered by Nathan Ashmore but that was as good as it got for the hosts and, seconds later, they fell behind. Lawrie Wilson’s throw invited Kedwell to turn and play in Cheek, whose deft early finish beat keeper Will Mannion from 15 yards.
Soon, Marvin McCoy’s misjudged clearing header hit his own crossbar, and the result was confirmed on 67 minutes. Whitely made an overlapping run and, having broken into the box, was tripped by Luke Howell, allowing Kedwell to roll in confidently from the penalty spot.
Jack King’s glancing header also hit the crossbar, and Abou Adams had two late shots well saved, but by then the Shots had already thrown in the towel.
“It was totally unacceptable but could have been a lot worse,” sighed a deflated Gary Waddock, whose side have now gone over six hours without scoring a league goal and were a shadow of the team which battled for a point at Leyton Orient on Tuesday.
“There are a lot of things that are not right and we looked a million miles off it. We’re lacking in confidence and I don’t know what our identity is at the moment.”
WNLHP AphToAtogCraHphEeEr K! Michael Cheek opens the scoring