A MUDDY Friday night at Stonebridge Road saw Conference basement side Ebbsfleet slump to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Macclesfield Town.

Just two hours before kick-off the game looked odds-on to be postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

However, a huge effort from staff and fans meant the game did go ahead, although they must have questioned afterwards whether it was it worth the hassle.

Not for the first time this season, the home side left themselves with a mountain to climb after conceding less than two minutes into the game. A slow start from the Fleet saw new signing Stefan Payne give away a free-kick on the edge of the area and Keiron Murtagh gratefully obliged, curling a low effort around the wall and into the bottom corner.

Macclesfield could almost have been out of sight seconds later as a swift break from the restart saw Matthew Barnes-Homer force a good save out of Preston Edwards with a strike across goal.

Ebbsfleet then settled but neither side could force a real opening, the only action being Town’s John Paul Kissock receiving a yellow card soon after the 20 minute mark for diving in the area.

From then on it was all Ebbsfleet, who finished the half in the ascendency.

Tom Phipp volleyed powerfully wide from the edge of the area and Neil Barrett saw a similar effort trickle wide of the other post.

The closest Liam Daish’s side came to drawing level before half-time came when Craig Stone found Josh Scott, but the new recruit spurned a simple header from a matter of yards.

Stone’s long range effort forcing a good save from Rhys Taylor early in the second half but in the 58th minute Macclesfield extended their lead, Waide Fairhurst getting the final touch to poking the ball into an open net after a melee in the area.

Just three minutes later Jack Mackreth beat Gareth Gwillim for pace, stormed into the area and cutely finished touching past Edwards to beat him at the near post with a fine solo effort.

Mackreth was at it again in the 85th minute. He beat Gwillim down the line, squared to Barnes-Homer, but somehow the striker hit the bar with an open goal gaping.

But Mackreth finished on a high when substitute Dean Mcdonald floated a lovely pass through to the winger, who burst through before slotting under Edwards.

Manager Daish cut a disappointed figure as he headed down the tunnel, hardly surprising given his efforts to bring in players during the transfer window.

This was the first of several home games on the spin for Ebbsfleet and next up are Gateshead on Saturday (3pm).

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