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Ebbsfleet United 0-1 Braintree Town
EBBSFLEET United suffered a narrow defeat in their opening home game of the season to Braintree Town on Tuesday evening at Stonebridge Road.
After a disjointed opening 15 minutes, Ebbsfleet had the first chance when Joe Howe’s’ cross caused havoc for the away side’s defence and fell to Nathan Elder, who saw his tame shot saved.
Braintree replied immediately when James Mulley’s volley was blasted over from the edge of the box.
Moses Ashikodi came close to giving the home side the lead on 27 minutes but saw his curling shot just drift wide of the far post.
Three minutes before the break the best move of the match was produced by the home side.
Tom Phipp played through Liam Enver-Marum who returned the cross to Phipp on the edge of the box and his superbly struck volley hit the inside of the post, which had the Fleet supporters up in their seats celebrating too soon.
The home side thought they had taken the lead straight after the restart but Neil Barrett saw his edge of the box effort stopped by away keeper Danny Naisbitt.
Ebbsfleet were then reduced to 10-men after Patrick Ada was turned by Sean Marks and he brought down the striker as the last man.
With their one man advantage, Braintree applied pressure to Fleet’s defence and Mulley saw his strike graze the side-netting before the away side took the lead.
Daniel Sparke’s initial shot was blocked on the line by Phil Walsh and after a scrappy clearance, the ball fell to captain Kenny Davis whose stunning 25 yard strike flew into the top corner past the diving Preston Edwards.
Braintree looked to double their lead late on, firstly with Sparke’s effort being denied by the post and then Kane Shepherd being stopped by Edwards.
In the dying moments the visitors were also reduced to 10-men themselves as Marks was awarded a second yellow and saw his game end prematurely.
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Ebbsfleet United: Edwards, Blake, Ada, Lorraine, Enver-Marum, Elder (Walsh 54), Ashikodi, Phipp, Howe, Barrett, Bellamy (Greenhalgh 74). Subs not used: McNeill, Williams Folkes. Att: 857.