Boro crash at Ebbsfleet
Ebbsfleet United 2 Boro 1 A second half brace from Stefan Bailey saw Boro crash to defeat at Ebbsfleet this evening. Stevenage missed out on the chance to crank up the pressure on leaders Oxford United, who could only draw at Crawley, despite Yemi Oduba
Ebbsfleet United 2 Boro 1
A second half brace from Stefan Bailey saw Boro crash to defeat at Ebbsfleet this evening.
Stevenage missed out on the chance to crank up the pressure on leaders Oxford United despite Yemi Odubade giving Graham Westley's men the lead in the first half.
A lacklustre start to the second period was punished by Bailey who first followed in Magno Vieira's free-kick to equalise before nodding home from close range.
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Charlie Griffin had enough chances to net Boro a share of the spoils but the real turning point of the match came at the break when Odubade had to be substituted through injury having run Ebbsfleet ragged.
Boro missed the speedster's attacking industry in the second period and Ebbsfleet managed to see out their second win in three days.
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Boro dominated from the first whistle and but for some wasteful finishing from Charlie Griffin could have gone in front as early as the 12th minute.
Scott Laird's run and cross down the left found the Boro striker but his header from eight yards flew well over the bar. Sixty seconds later and the 30-year-old had an even better opportunity when some trickery from Andy Drury on the by-line bought the talented midfielder a yard of space and his left-footed cross found Griffin at the back post but, once again, his header was off target.
The misses almost came back to haunt Boro in the 15th minute when Stefan Bailey found Ricky Shakes on the edge of the penalty with a clear view of Chris Day's goal.
Shakes took a touch before dragging his shot across the face of goal under pressure from Laird.
Odubade had proved to be a constant thorn in the side of the Ebbsfleet defence with his tireless running of the channels causing all manner of problems.
It came as no surprise when the former Oxford man opened the scoring in the 21st minute although it owed a huge debt of gratitude to Lady Luck.
Drury gave the ball to Odubade on the left side of the penalty area before cutting inside and his right-footed shot took a wicked deflection off Heeroo and the ball looped over the helpless Cronin to give Boro the lead.
Boro should have doubled their lead on the half-hour mark with Odubade once again proving to be the architect. He danced past Stavrinou and his pull back looked to have left Ronnie Henry with the simple task of prodding the ball home.
However, just as the defender was poised to make it 2-0 West stole the ball off his toe to clear the danger.
Darius Charles gave the Boro travelling contingent a scare in the 32nd minute with a terrific 25-yard effort that was too hot to handle for Chris Day but fortunately Mark Roberts was following the ball in to clear the danger.
Odubade did not return for the second half after picking up a knock but Boro were able to call upon the pace of Mitchell Cole as his replacement.
Boro's lead lasted just three minutes into the second half as Ebbsfleet's equaliser left the Stevenage bench fuming. Bostwick was adjudged to have fouled Holmes on the edge of the penalty area after appearing to win the ball cleanly.
Vieira took the free kick and his effort was beaten out by Day only for Bailey to slam home the rebound.
Suddenly Boro were rocking and looked a shadow of the side that had exercised such dominance in the first period.
Ebbsfleet had the scent of victory in their nostrils and Bailey grabbed his second in the 54th minute to make it 2-1.
Day flapped at Holmes free kick and Bailey was on hand at the back post to nod into an empty net.
Odubade's enforced substitution had nullified the fluency Boro had going forward in the first half.
However, Stevenage still managed to carve out two very presentable opportunities but Griffin had left his shooting boots at home.
The striker hit the post after meeting Cole's cross from the right before showing a heavy touch when trying to round Cronin to score.
Vieira almost wrapped up all three points in the 77th minute when he rode a couple of challenges before unleashing a fierce strike from a tight angle that Day did well to tip away.
Ebbsfleet United (4-5-1): Cronin, Smith, Bailey, Holmes, Shakes, West (Welsh 46), Charles, Stavrinou, Vieira (Wills 90), Heeroo, Crooks. Subs not used: Lamprell, Pooley, Ginty, Wills.
Boro (4-3-3): Day, Henry, Bostwick, Roberts, Laird (Long 79), Murphy, Byrom Bridges (Beardsley 67), Drury, Odubade (Cole 46), Griffin. Subs not used: Bayes, Albrighton.
Referee: Stephen Ross (Lincolnshire)