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Ebbsfleet 4-0 Dorchester
Ebbsfleet United closed off the regular season in style with a win over Dorchester Town at Stonebridge Road on Saturday.
A first half Daryl McMahon brace and second half goals from Michael Thalassitis and Alex Osborn secured victory in front of 1,670 fans making the most of free entry to the game.
With Ebbsfleet’s place in the play-offs confirmed with a 2-1 victory over Concord Rangers the previous Thursday, manager Steve Brown made six changes to the starting XI, including the return of fans’ favourite Stacy Long to midfield.
With his side bottom of the league and already relegated, Dorchester manager Phil Simkin would have hoped to have seen some fight from his players to provide optimism for next season in a lower division.
Yet he received the opposite as his side put in an abject performance which allowed the hosts to dominate proceedings.
The Fleet started strongly and visiting keeper Alan Walker-Harris was called into action to turn away an in-swinging cross from Aiden Palmer before Long volleyed the resulting corner over from 12 yards.
However, the home fans did not have to wait too long for the first goal as, in the 13th minute, a ball over the top from Long found Billy Bricknell on the corner of the area.
He turned his marker, laid a pass off to the onrushing McMahon and the Fleet captain powerfully finished past Walker-Harris from 10 yards.
The Fleet then hit the bar through an Anthony Cook free-kick, who also saw a cross flash across goal and just wide.
Ebbsfleet’s free-flowing attacking football was too much for Dorchester, but they were unable to double their lead until the 40th minute.
A poor clearance found Long on the edge of the box and he picked out McMahon, whose 20-yard shot rocketed into the back of the net.
Some great build-up play between Osborne and Chris Sessegnon on the right saw a cross come in for Bricknell, but his close range shot was saved by the legs of Walker-Harris and Osborne fired the rebound harmlessly over.
The second half saw much of the same domination and Bricknell squandered the chance to make it 3-0 when he controlled Osborn’s cross, although he somehow managed to hit the crossbar from six yards with the goal at his mercy.
Walker-Harris then saved shots from Cook and Bricknell, who also had an effort cleared off the line.
The third goal came in the 70th minute when Thalassitis controlled a McMahon cross and although he scuffed his shot, it rolled into the goal off the post from 18-yards.
Dorchester then bought on substitute keeper Shane Murphy but his first job was to collect the ball from the back of the net as Osborn raced onto a Bricknell flick on and finished low under Murphy’s dive to complete the rout.
The Fleet now play host to Bromley in the play-offs on Wednesday evening before the return leg at Hayes Lane on Saturday.
Following this, Brown’s side also face Dover Athletic in the Kent Senior Cup Final on Bank Holiday Monday at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium.
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Ebbsfleet: Hall, Sessegnon, Palmer, McMahon, Lorraine, Huke, Osborn, Long, Thalassitis (May 72), Bricknell, Cook (Howe 73) Subs not used: Edwards, Acheampong, Rance. Att: 1,670.
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