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Dover enjoy Kent derby success over Ebbsfleet
EBBSFLEET United are still looking for their first win of the season as Steve Brown’s much anticipated return to Dover Athletic ended in a 2-1 loss.
Manager Brown was previously a coach at the Crabble Ground and many of the players signed by him in the summer had previously played for Dover.
The hosts had numerous ex-Fleet players themselves, creating an air of familiarity around the game.
Overall, there were 12 players in the squads who had previously worn the other side’s shirt and this helped to make an absorbing encounter which was eventually settled by Tom Murphy’s fine goal.
Brown made one change to the Ebbsfleet side that had an opening day draw against Havant & Waterlooville, with Daryl McMahon replacing Dean Rance in midfield.
Dover manager Chris Kinnear, meanwhile, fielded a 4-3-3 formation with powerful striker Elliot Charles a constant aerial threat.
The hosts took the lead just six minutes into the game when Ashley Carew’s corner was headed in by Richard Orlu.
Ebbsfleet should have been back on level terms almost immediately as Dover keeper Mitch Walker was left stranded from his goal after failing to claim a through ball.
But Anthony Cook hit the bar with a header from a Daryl McMahon cross and Stacy Long fired the rebound harmlessly over.
Dover then could have doubled their lead when Murphy was played through on goal, but his snap-shot was well saved by Preston Edwards before he then tipped the same player’s shot onto the post minutes later.
Cook had an angled shot saved by Walker, but the winger made no mistake from virtually the same position on 38 minutes as he equalised with a shot into the top corner after being delightfully played through with a Long back-heel.
The goal meant for the first time in the game the visitors were in the ascendency and striker Michael Thalassitis, who has just been called up by the Cyprus U21 squad, saw a shot deflect just past the post and a header fly across goal and wide on the stroke of half-time.
The Fleet dominated possession at the start of the second half and McMahon had a long range shot deflected wide.
From the resulting corner, Walker pulled off a superb save to tip Cook’s curling, dipping shot over the bar.
However, the Fleet failed to conjure anymore clear cut goal-scoring opportunities and in the 68th minute the hosts retook the lead with a moment of magic fit to win such an entertaining game.
A long pass downfield was flicked on by Charles and found Murphy, who chested the ball down on the turn and fired in a long range half-volley which flew across Edwards and nestled into the bottom corner.
This visibly took the wind out of the Fleet’s sails and, aside from long range shots hit more in hope than expectation, they were unable to test Walker again, meaning they head to Eastbourne Borough on Saturday hoping to record their first win this season.
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Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Howe, Palmer, Corcoran (Rance 75), Huke, Lorraine, Green, McMahon, Thalassitis (Bricknell 67), Long (Phipp 82), Cook. Subs not used: Sankofa, Hall Att: 1,562
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