Ebbsfleet put 4 past Boro
PUBLISHED: 11:23 27 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:29 05 May 2010
Ebbsfleet United 4 Stevenage Boro 0 It s hard to draw any positives from our start to the season, admitted Boro boss Graham Westley after a second wretched afternoon on the road left his side pointless and goal-less from their early season travels. The
Ebbsfleet United 4 Stevenage Boro 0
"It's hard to draw any positives from our start to the season," admitted Boro boss Graham Westley after a second wretched afternoon on the road left his side pointless and goal-less from their early season travels.
The good news is Westley's declaration that: "It's early days yet. We are going to pull together to get things going in the right direction."
The bad news is that, as far as Saturday's game at least was concerned, it could have been a whole lot worse.
Apart from the four they scored, Ebbsfleet missed a hatful of other chances. Their boss Liam Daish is too professional and polite to gloat - but it was all too easy for his young side.
As early as the second minute, Paul McCarthy headed on to Ashley Bayes' crossbar following a corner. It was a portent of things to come.
At the other end, the home defence struggled to clear Gary Mills' corner and Mitchell Cole beat Lance Cronin, only for McCarthy to be in the way.
Meanwhile Iyseden Christie went down under Sacha Opinel's challenge in the box and looked hopefully at the referee - but nothing was given.
But the fact was Stevenage were creaking badly and when Ricky Shakes limped off to be replaced by the powerful John Akinde on 13 minutes, it turned out to be a decisive moment.
Ronnie Henry and Luke Oliver, already finding Michael Gash a handful, began to crumble under the physical presence of two big men.
It took just six more minutes for the home side to find a way through. Henry, feeling he was fouled by Stacy Long's initial challenge, handled as he attempted to block his cross.
Bayes, who was unconvincing all afternoon, only punched the midfielder's free-kick to the edge of the penalty area where Neil Barrett volleyed home.
Boro were under siege. Bayes denied Luke Moore from point blank range before a horrible misunderstanding with Mark Albrighton presented Gash with a tap-in which he somehow put wide.
The Boro bench must have been praying for the break and a chance to regroup when, in first-half stoppage time, Long's corner found Craig Stone unmarked and he turned the ball back into the six-yard box for Akinde, similarly unattended, to score.
Stevenage opened the second half with new resolve but, apart from Cole's surge down the left, which ended with a shot deflected on to the near post, all the goal threat came from Ebbsfleet.
Bayes was well positioned to field Long's shot and he then tipped Akinde's header over to save Oliver's blushes. Eventually the dam broke when Henry's desperate lunge sent Akinde tumbling in the box on 67 minutes, leaving Moore to drill the spot-kick past Bayes' left hand.
Lawrie Wilson and Scott Laird, who stopped Barrett with a great saving tackle, were notable among those who continued to fight against the odds.
But yet another grotesque error in the middle of the Boro defence let Akinde in to lay on a tap-in for substitute Kezie Ibe.
Boro: Bayes 5, Albrighton 5, Oliver 5, Henry 5, Laird 6*, Wilson 6, Mills 5, Bostwick 4, Cole 6 (Nurse 80m), Christie 5, Thomas 6 (Anderson 67m, 5).