Ebbsfleet United recorded new manager Jamie Day’s first league win with a comprehensive 5-1 Boxing Day victory away to Chelmsford City.

Goals from Daryl McMahon, Sean Shields, Kenny Clark and a Billy Bricknell brace secured the victory in a high quality display of counter attacking football against their play-off rivals.

Day made two changes to the side that lost to Weston-super-Mare, with recent signing Tyrone Marsh replacing Sean Shields in a free attacking role, and Matt Johnson coming into the centre of midfield instead of the injured Dean Rance.

Chelmsford fielded a 4-3-3 formation that featured former-Fleet defender Yado Mambo and, although they carried an attacking threat, they often lacked a cutting edge that may have seen them score more.

Both sides came close to taking the lead in the opening stages, as Bricknell had a goal ruled out for offside, and City’s Harry Hickford had a looping header fly off the bar.

The opening goal came shortly after, when Clark powered in a header from an Anthony Cook corner.

Cook then could have scored himself as he produced a brilliant overhead kick from a Matt Godden cross that was turned away by City goalkeeper Bradley Watkins.

Watkins then had to be at hand to turn behind a Bricknell shot after a good turn from the striker and, from the resulting corner, Clark had a header cleared off the line.

Brandon Hall was called into action when The Fleet defence failed to properly clear the ball, allowing Chelmsford’s Joe Ward to go sprinting through, but Hall saved with his leg.

Clark was causing havoc in the host’s box from corners and it proved this way again as he won a penalty after being pushed by Mambo, who could have no complaints after the referee had previously stopped the set piece from being taken in order to lecture the defender over his physical style of marking.

Bricknell converted the penalty, although the hosts pulled one back five minutes later when Rohdell Gordon’s cross was met by West Ham loanee Jaanai Gordon, who headed home on his debut for the club.

The final action of the half proved to be controversial, as, after McMahon had gone on a driving run that ended in his shot being tipped onto the post by Watkins, Godden tapped the ball into an empty net, and, although the linesman flagged for offside and the goal was disallowed, there was some debate over whether the striker was in an offside position when McMahon had the original shot.

The lead was doubled five minutes into the second half when McMahon unleashed a brilliant 25-yard free-kick into the corner of the net, although Michael Cheek should have made it 3-2 but he somehow missed the target from six yards after good work from Gordon.

Ebbsfleet put the game out of sight on 71 minutes when a long ball downfield from Hall prompted a race between Bricknell and Watkins and, although the goalkeeper got there first, he spilled the ball directly into the path of substitute Sean Shields, who showed good composure to lob Watkins from the corner of the box.

The scoring was rounded off five minutes later when substitute Brendan Kiernan raced downfield on the counter attack and broke into the box, where the ball rolled to Bricknell, whose low shot beat Watkins and sent Fleet fans home with Christmas cheer.

Ebbsfleet team: Hall, Huke, Clark, Acheampong, Howe, Marsh (Osborne 77), McMahon, Johnson, Cook (Kiernan 60), Bricknell, Godden (Shields 63) Subs not used: Turner, Pooley

Attendance: 779

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