Fleet downed as Rebels fire

Ebbsfleet United

Ebbsfleet United

Barnett (83)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Allen (10), Marshall (67)
League Attendance: 468 Keith McPherson
Slough started the season with a 2-1 win at Gravesend after giving full debuts to four first team players, one of which made a surprising debut for the Rebels.

That player was Steve Mautone, the former West Ham & Reading keeper, signed on a short term loan from Barry Town as Danny Honey had to attend a wedding. The other debutantes were Damian Markman, Chris Allen and Keith McPherson.

When kick off arrived Slough started off initially as the better side and after only two minutes they were within inches of taking the lead. Allen's corner found its way to Townley who saw his half volley go just wide.

Slough did not have to wait long for the breakthrough to come. With just 10 minutes gone Chris White crossed the ball in towards Barrowcliff. The midfielder played the ball back into the danger area, towards Barnett who could only clear the ball under pressure from Markman straight to Allen, who slotted home with ease.

The goal seemed to spark Gravesend into action and they had a half chance to equalise soon after when Danny White's long ball fell to Stadhart, but his toepoke was easily saved by Mautone.

They had another chance again midway through the first half and it fell to striker Stadhart again. Skipper Jimmy Jackson took a quick free kick into Stadhart who turned under pressure from Townley and fired about a yard wide of the goal.

Slough had the next chance when a long ball through from Barrowcliff was well controlled by Marshall and he took a great first touch which pushed him towards goal, but his half volley was brilliantly turned round the post by Turner in the Gravesend goal.

Just before half time Gravesend could, and maybe should have equalised. Lee produced a long throw into the box which was helped on towards goal by Booth, only to see Kemp clear the ball off the line.

Immediately from the kick off Slough could have produced a two goal advantage. Kemp played a ball through to Marshall who crossed the ball into the box towards Timothy, but his header went straight at goalkeeper Turner.

Gravesend then had two half chances to equalise. The influential Jackson crossed the ball into the box with Hegley waiting to pounce at the far post, were it not for Chris White's intervention. The ever dangerous Lee Spiller then produced a good first time effort moments later after turning Kemp, but his shot went straight at Mautone.

Substitute Junior Haynes, on for Dave Timothy could have given Slough a more comfortable lead with his first touch after coming on. Markman played the ball through which was perfect for Haynes, but he miskicked in front of goal under pressure from Wilkins.

Soon after that chance it looked like Gravesend would equalise when Jackson crossed the ball in towards Stadhart who toepoked the ball towards goal, but Mautone managed to keep the ball out of the net by producing a tremendous diving save on the line.

On 56 minutes Slough increased their lead when a good ball from Hawthorne found its way to Marshall. He turned full-back White and fired the ball across goal and defender Barnett, arguably Gravesend's best player, turned the ball into his own net, with Marshall claiming the goal regardless.

Four minutes later, with Slough looking comfortable with their lead, Gravesend pulled a goal back. Spiller crossed in after a free kick, and a scramble in the box ensued. Leon Townley attempted to clear the ball, only for the ball to hit Barnett and go into the net.

The last 15 minutes and injury time all belonged to Gravesend and Slough were on the back foot. When they should have been holding onto possession, it unfortunately was a case of 'kick it anywhere' for the Rebels.

Luckily for Slough, Gravesend only had one real chance in this period which fell to Smith on the edge of the area, who volleyed wide when he should have hit the target.

Ebbsfleet United Lineup

Turner, Lee, White, Jackson, Barnett, Wilkins, Smith, Spiller, Booth, Stadhart, Hegley. Subs: Watts, Hawley, Restarick.


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