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Ebbsfleet 0-0 Boreham Wood
EBBSFLEET United continue to search for their first home league win under Steve Brown after drawing their sixth game of the season against Boreham Wood.
In a match low on clear-cut scoring opportunities, the main talking point came in the substitute referee’s refusal to award two penalties to the hosts in the closing stages, decisions which saw Fleet players surrounding the officials after full-time.
Ebbsfleet manager Brown made two changes from the side that lost to Chelmsford City, with Stacy Long replacing Dominic Green in midfield and Michael Thalassitis making way up front for debutant Andy Pugh, on loan from Cambridge United.
Boreham Wood fielded a 4-3-3 formation, with captain Charlie O’Loughlin a rock in the centre of defence.
The game got off to a quiet start, with Wood keeper James Russell saving a Daryl McMahon free-kick and then getting down well to save a goal-bound placed shot from Long.
At the other end of the pitch, Fleet keeper Preston Edwards comfortably saved Graeme Montgomery’s 10-yard volley after the defence had failed to properly clear a cross.
Towards the end of the half, McMahon then saw a 30-yard shot unconvincingly turned round the post by Russell before Bricknell had a shot from the edge of the penalty area go across goal and wide.
Half-time saw an unusual tannoy announcement asking if there was a qualified referee in the crowd, and it soon became apparent referee Lloyd Wood had injured himself and could no longer continue.
A linesman took his place with a member of the crowd becoming linesman.
The second period was a scrappy affair, as neither side was able to keep hold of the ball.
Midway through the half, McMahon teed himself up for a volley from the corner of the penalty area which flashed across goal and wide with Russell beaten before Wood’s Luke Garrard was forced to clear a Shane Huke shot off the line.
With the game wearing on, a long pass downfield allowed speedy Fleet substitute Alex Osborn to chase.
He was seemingly pulled down by Garrard after looking like he was winning the race, but the referee waved play on.
If that decision enraged the Fleet, then their anger was doubled in the final minute of the game when winger Anthony Cook appeared to be tripped in the box after a mazy run, but the referee was once again unmoved as the match ended in controversy.
Fleet now take a break from league action and host Folkestone Invicta in the FA Cup next Saturday.
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Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Howe, Palmer, McMahon, Lorraine, Huke, Cook, Rance, Pugh (Osborn), Bricknell (Thalassitis 63), Long (Phipp 83) Subs not used: Hall, Sankofa. Att: 771
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