Ebbsfleet United 4-1 St Albans City
Ebbsfleet United 4-1 St Albans City

Ebbsfleet United won convincingly against ten man St Albans with two goals each from Charlie Sheringham and Billy Bricknell.Ebbsfleet United ground

The Conference South’s two out of form teams met at the PHB Stadium with Ebbsfleet not winning since their second game of the season against Havant and Waterlooville and their visitors had also been suffering from disappointing recent results having lost their last two league matches; despite this, the Saints started the day in 8th place, two places above Ebbsfleet.

Steve Brown made four changes from the side which lost 1-0 at Basingstoke the previous weekend, Shane Huke took the place of Chris Sessegnon, in midfield Alex Osborn and Dean Rance who was making his first appearance of the season, came in for Matt Johnson and Tom Fraser and Charlie Sheringham replaced Matt Godden to partner Billy Bricknell who was making his second successive start, up front for the Fleet. They faced a team with one familiar face in it, as an Ebbsfleet goalkeeper Joe Welch was the team’s second choice goalkeeper during the 2011/12 season.

Welch was the first goalkeeper to be tested after a slow opening ten minutes, from Ebbsfleet’s short corner on the edge of the penalty area Daryl McMahon’s powerful shot was deflected which lead to a corner on the left for the Fleet, McMahon’s out- swinging corner fell perfectly onto the head of Charlie Sheringham who hit a strong effort past Welch to give Ebbsfleet an early lead. The striker had another chance from a similar situation minutes after but this time he was unable to connect with McMahon’s corner.

The host’s attacking continued, but they were still looking comfortable in defence; Preston Edwards was kept quiet thanks to Anthony Acheampong’s strong physical presence.

The lack of attacking options left St Albans frustrated as they began to commit fouls in dangerous areas but with 32 minutes gone they were exposed yet again. Anthony Cook’s free kick from the left fell to Kenny Clark at the far post, but instead of taking the shot himself he laid the ball down into space for Sheringham to hit his second goal of the afternoon.

The Saints came back and looked hungry to get back into the game, Charlie Gorman’s long pass got Dean Shields behind the Ebbsfleet defence but after he pulled the ball back to John Frendo the best the attacker could do was force Preston Edwards into a simple save.

From the attack, Ebbsfleet came straight back through Anthony Cook’ s strong, quick run but once the winger put his cross in Billy Bricknell’s header was spectacularly saved by Welch before the goalkeeper got down to his right to stop Alex Osborn’s shot as half time approached.

Just four minutes into the second half St Albans were able to close the gap between themselves and Ebbsfleet, Sam Shield’s cross from the right fell to the onrushing John Frendo but the striker’s header cannoned off the bar straight into the path of Steve Wales to give the visitors a chance to turn the game around with the first goal scored by an away team in the league at Stonebridge Road this season.

Ebbsfleet came back with a chance of their own but after Billy Bricknell span around John Kyriacou and Ben Martin but his left footed curling shot went wide of the goal. Soon after Sheringham got on the end of Alex Osborn’s pass through the defence before placing his shot agonisingly wide.

Halfway through the second half controversy struck St Albans after substitute David Keenelyside was cautioned for coming on to the pitch without the referee’s permission, moments after play continued the midfielder made a crunching tackle on Dean Rance which forced the referee to send him off .

Ebbsfleet were able to capitalise on being one man up and minutes after Billy Bricknell converted to regain the host’s two goal lead before he scored again after Anthony Cook’s cross was brought down by Matt Godden to allow the striker to volley home his second goal of the year soon after he scored his first.

With only six minutes remaining and Ebbsfleet still streaming forward quick movement from Joe Howe allowed space in the area for Cook and Bricknell, after both their shots were cleared off the line Charlie Sheringham poked the ball in for his hat trick, however the referee saw a foul in the scramble and Ebbsfleet were denied a fifth, however, St Albans came straight back and hit the bar after a cross from the left wing but that was the last opportunity of the game as St Albans will return to Hertfordshire with a third successive loss.

Steve Brown praised his team after the game, but he believed the result should have been confirmed earlier than it was “By the end of the game four was the least we deserved, in the first half we had the Billy Bricknell header from point blank. We should have wrapped the game up by half time but the best team won”.

Brown also accepted that his team’s recent results are not what he wanted but the team have shown they are capable of doing well in the league “We were three games without a goal and there was a confidence issue, but we have addressed that today; both strikers scored twoand that brings confidence back to the rest of the team”

“I don’t think we got what we deserved from out recent games but to put that performance out today was very important.”

After Alex Osborn was carried off in pain by Daryl McMahon and Billy Bricknell late in the second half Steve Brown explained the extent of the winger’s injury “I don’t know what it is at the moment, it could be a groin injury or it could be cramp, he has an ice pack on his groin, I put Matty [Godden] out on the right and he was terrific, there may be a place on the right side during the week but I don’t know yet.”

Today’s win puts Ebbsfleet into seventh in the Vanarama Conference South, just two points off the play off positions with a game in hand, they travel to 16th placed Western Super Mare as they hope to finally win on the road this season.

Ebbsfleet United: Edwards, Huke, Howe, McMahon (Johnson), Acheampong, Clark, Osborn (Godden), Rance (Fraser), Sheringham, Bricknell, Cook

Subs not used: Palmer, Hall

Booked: Sheringham

St Albans City: Welch, Kyriacou, Chappell, Green (Mitchell), Martin, Ward, Gorman (Keenleyside), Comley, Frendo (Clarke), Shields, Wales

Subs not used: Pires, Bola

Booked: Martin

Sent off: Keenleyside

Attendance: 1034