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Ebbsfleet unable to stop in-form Kidderminster despite early Shitta strike
GOALS from Dammy Shitta and Nathan Elder were not enough to prevent Ebbsfleet United falling to a 3-2 loss at in-form Kidderminster Harriers.
The Fleet may feel aggrieved to not have taken anything from the match, as they battled hard against a Harriers side which has now won 16 of their last 18 games to sit joint top of the league.
Manager Liam Daish was forced into making two changes to his Ebbsfleet side which lost to Grimsby, with Millwall loanees Shitta and Tobi Alabi both making their first starts for the club, replacing the injured Craig Stone and Stefan Payne respectively.
Kidderminster manager Steve Burr fielded a 4-4-2 formation which played slick, passing football, with striker Anthony Malbon leading the line superbly.
The Fleet took the lead early on when two loanees combined.
Dagenham’s Josh Scott went on a driving run before finding Shitta, whose 20-yard shot was parried by keeper Danny Lewis, yet had just enough power to loop across the line.
However, the hosts equalised immediately, although the goal was not without controversy.
Ebbsfleet failed to deal with a cross into the box and a poor back-header put keeper Preston Edwards under pressure from striker Greg Pearson.
Edwards could only punch to James Vincent, who applied a finish from eight yards.
Yet the visitors were unhappy at the amount of pressure their keeper was put under, and also at the fact the ball appeared to strike Vincent’s hand.
The goal rattled the Fleet’s defence, and both Vincent and Lee Vaughan missed chances to put Kidderminster ahead.
Harriers began the second half dominantly, with Greg Pearson hitting the bar with a header from a Marvin Johnson Cross before Kyle Storer fluffed a chance from close range.
It seemed to be a case of when Kidderminster would score rather than if and this proved true when Malbon chased onto a long pass and rounded Edwards to score his seventh goal in six games.
Ebbsfleet pushed for an equaliser and substitute Nathan Elder hit the bar with a free header from a Neil Barrett cross.
They were made to pay for this miss as Kidderminster sub Callum Gittings made it 3-1 with a smart finish from 18-yards.
This goal appeared to be the icing on the cake for Harriers, but they were given a scare in stoppage time as Elder converted a late penalty after Scott was fouled by Josh Gowling.
The result means Fleet stay 23rd in the table, but are now five points from safety.
Tomorrow night they play Wrexham away in a remarkable run which sees them face four out of the top five clubs.
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Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Howe, Lorraine, Saville, Gwillim, Carew, Barrett, Shitta (Bellamy 81), Enver-Marum (Azeez 82), Scott, Alabi (Elder 64). Subs not used: Menz, Walsh. Att: 2,048.