Boro ease through in FA Trophy

Boro 2 Ebbsfleet 0 Boro started their defence of the FA Trophy with this comfortable win over a limited Ebbsfleet. But despite their dominance, the home side had to wait until just two minutes from the end before they grabbed the decisive second which th

Boro 2 Ebbsfleet 0

Boro started their defence of the FA Trophy with this comfortable win over a limited Ebbsfleet.

But despite their dominance, the home side had to wait until just two minutes from the end before they grabbed the decisive second which they had always threatened.

After a sluggish start Boro, who were looking to avenge their recent defeat at Ebbsfleet, took a grip on the game and the chances began to materialise.

Michael Bostwick forced a partial save by keeper Lance Cronin from a free kick with Chris Beardsley just beaten to the loose ball before they took the lead on 14 minutes. A quick free kick found Mitchell Cole in plenty of space on the left flank and his cross was neatly turned in by Beardsley to set the home side on their way.

Boro had the ball in the net eight minutes later only for the goal to be ruled offside, but the chances began to dry up and the first half petered out with the visitors squandering half chances through Ricky Shakes and Stefan Bailey.

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For their part Boro found Jon Ashton, Beardsley and Cole all in good positions but they failed to find the net as the frustration grew.

The second half was a mixed affair as Boro carved out a host of clear cut chances but allowed the visitors to dominate territorially.

Time and again Ebbsfleet were gifted cheap free kicks around the penalty area from which they proved unable to fashion a chance, although Bostwick and Beardsley were both yellow carded for fouls.

Instead it was Boro, very often on the break, who found the Fleet defence stretched and liable to concede the second at any time.

Stacy Long had the best effort on the hour mark when he raced clear and forced a stunning tip over from Cronin, while Charlie Griffin, Cole and Beardsley all looked to have found the net in a three minute spell which culminated with a goalbound Cole strike being cleared off the line by Leon Crooks.

The introduction of Yemi Odubade for the last 15 minutes stretched the Fleet defence even further but when he saw a flick header go narrowly wide on 78 minutes it looked as if Boro would still have to live on their nerves.

In the end it was a telling move which did the damage as Cole and Odubade teamed up to feed David Bridges on the edge of the box and his drive into the top left hand corner confirmed Boro's passage through to the next round and kept alive dreams of a third Wembley appearance in four seasons.

Boro: Day, Laird, Ashton, Murphy, Long, Griffin (Odubade 75), Bridges, Beardsley, Cole (Albrighton 90), Bostwick, Henry.

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