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Bricknell at the double for Fleet as Sutton put to the sword
EBBSFLEET United recorded a club record ninth successive competitive victory as they ran out 2-0 winners over Sutton United on a wet and windy Stonebridge Road.
Billy Bricknell scored twice for the hosts to secure a victory which moves the Fleet above the visitors and perfectly sets up a mouth-watering Boxing Day clash against league leaders Bromley.
Manager Steve Brown made one change from the side that beat Whitstable in the FA Trophy, with Michael Corcoran replacing the ill Daryl McMahon.
Sutton boss Paul Doswell fielded a 4-4-2 formation that was well-drilled and looked to exploit the pace of wingers Lee Sawyer and Dale Binns.
On the bench for the visitors was former FA Cup finalist and two-time SPL winner Paul Telfer.
The game got off to a quiet start, with both sides trying to get used to conditions that did not suite the style of play of either.
Sawyer should have done better when he advanced on goal and miscued an effort well wide.
Ebbsfleet winger Anthony Cook had a curling shot straight at visiting keeper Tom Lovelock after the wind had caught Lovelock’s clearance and put the Sutton defence in trouble.
The hosts took the lead in the 12th minute when Bricknell cut in from the right and fired a cross that flew past everyone before finding Cook on the opposite wing, whose delivery was met by a Bricknell glancing header that nestled into the far post.
Cook then had a 30-yard free-kick fly over the bar before beating a defender with a clever step-over having a lobbed shot go just over.
Ebbsfleet left-back Aiden Palmer delivered a wicked cross from a free-kick that bounced just wide of the goal, although as the half progressed the visitors managed to turn their possession into a more substantial threat.
Ali Fuseini saw a long-range volley fly inches over the bar before Charlie Clough blazed a close range shot high and wide after a superb cutback from Damien Scannell.
If the crowd could not believe that miss, there was a worse one just after the interval when Sutton’s Dean Sinclair somehow fired wide from just five yards with Ebbsfleet keeper Preston Edwards beaten.
This proved costly for the visitors as Fleet’s lead was doubled on 62 minutes when Bricknell was sent clear by Michael Thalassitis and coolly finished past the advancing Lovelock from outside the box.
That second goal, combined with worsening conditions, clearly killed off Sutton and they were unable to muster any more efforts.
The final chance of the match falling to Cook, whose vicious 30-yard free-kick flew past Lovelock at pace before rattling the crossbar and bouncing clear.
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Ebbsfleet United: Edwards, Sessegnon, Palmer, Corcoran, Lorraine, Sankofa, Osborn, Rance, Thalassitis (May 78), Bricknell (Long 87), Cook (Phipp 90) Subs not used: Hall, Howe. Att: 774
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