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Tamworth 0-1 Ebbsfleet
EBBSFLEET United moved to within three points of safety and stretched their unbeaten run to three games with victory at Tamworth on Saturday.
On a cold afternoon at The Lamb, Tom Phipp’s well-taken goal on the stroke of half-time proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Fleet manager Liam Daish made two changes from the side which beat Woking in the FA Cup, with Louie Soares and Ashley Carew returning to the starting XI, replacing Lanre Azeez and Liam Bellamy respectively.
Tamworth manager Marcus Law, meanwhile, fielded a 4-4-2 formation which featured league top-scorer Adam Cunnington.
Ebbsfleet almost scored within the opening five minutes when Carew’s cross found Phil Walsh unmarked in the box, but his diving header bounced onto the bar and was cleared.
A moment of controversy occurred midway through the half when Soares appeared to be fouled in the area but the referee refused to give a penalty.
As the half progressed, the hosts began to have dominate possession, yet were unable to break down the Ebbsfleet defence.
When it looked like the two sides would go in level at the break, Ebbsfleet deservedly broke the deadlock.
Liam Enver-Marum chased after a long pass downfield and beat one defender before squaring to the onrushing Phipp, who tried an audacious first-time chip from just inside the area which flew over Tamworth keeper Tony Breeden and into the net.
Tamworth started the second half with more attacking intentions and Cunnington should have done better with a free header which went wide of the goal.
The Lambs’ bright start to the second period soon faded and it was Ebbsfleet who carved the best opportunities.
Breeden had to be alert to save well from Carew and Neil Barrett, while Sam Oji was forced to block a goal-bound shot from Enver-Marum after the Fleet striker had shown good technique to turn Breeden.
With 15 minutes of the match left, Tamworth suddenly burst into life and produced their best spell of the game.
Cunnington forced Fleet keeper Preston Edwards into parrying a shot straight into the path of Tamworth substitute Adriano Moke, but the recent loan signing from Cambridge saw his first time shot fall wide of the open goal.
Edwards then had to save a low drive from Kerry and Patrick Ada did well to deflect a Moke shot over the bar as the Fleet defence held firm to claim three points and end a run of seven league games without victory.
Next up for Ebbsfleet is Carlisle United away in the first round of the FA Cup.
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Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Stone, Howe, Ada, Lorraine, Barrett, Carew, Soares (Azeez 62), Phipp, Enver-Marum (Ashikodi 86), Walsh (Elder 78). Subs not used: Menz, Bellamy. Att: 838.