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Chatham Town 0-1 Ebbsfleet United
Chatham Town 0-1 Ebbsfleet United

Dominic Poleon struck the only goal of the night to propel the Fleet to their second win of pre-season as newly promoted hosts Chatham Town defended stoutly.

With the new away shirt on show for the first time, the boys in teal – as the song may now go – were full value for their win, Poleon capping a lively second-half display with his second goal in as many games.

Once more in these early warm-up matches, Dennis Kutrieb opted to give minutes to pretty much different sides in each half though for Jack Paxman and Alex Finney, they received fewer than they might have expected as they both left the field early in an injury-affected and stop-start first half.

It was tough on Paxman who had begun the night in lively fashion down the left as Shaq Coulthirst also tested Chatham early on, only to be thwarted by a save after getting a shot on target in the first few exchanges.

The home side were the first to suffer on the injury front, making a substitution early on with numerous stoppages for players going to ground. Paxman limped off on 20 minutes following a challenge in midfield to be replaced by Greg Cundle and he was soon followed by Finney, who took a blow to the face.

It all certainly interrupted the flow of the game and only after all the substitutions did Fleet find their fluency. Cundle was industrious from the left and he delivered a ball for Elliott Romain that was well met, headed down where goalkeeper Harry Brooks was able to gather.

Ben Chapman was busy in his midfield berth, too, and six minutes from the break he released Omari Sterling-James to bring the pass down and ease into the box – the signing from Kidderminster seemed to be upended as he was poised to shoot but nothing was given.

Chapman was at the heart of the next move too, a raking diagonal delivery to Cundle crossed back into the danger area but Brooks was again equal to it.

The home goalkeeper could do little but watch when Trialist A popped up 20 yards out after good build-up play to rifle a shot just wide that looked odds-on to be heading in for another goal for the midfielder after his opener at Punjab.

Fleet came closest on the stroke of half-time, however, when Cundle attacked only to see the ball hooked away by a Chatham defender; that looped over the stranded Brooks and headed for the net, but the goalkeeper recovered well to hastily scramble it off the line.

The home side were restricted to only sporadic attacks, though they did force the ball over the line from a deep cross from the left, but that was chalked off for offside.

Greg Cundle was a lively first-half substitute for the Fleet

Fleet’s second-half side set about their hosts with Darren McQueen proving to be a thorn in their side as he gobbled up the passes sprayed his way by Josh Wright and Chris Solly. Poleon showed his strength on 56 minutes with a powerful turn and run through midfield that Brooks again stopped.

Craig Tanner might have had a penalty on the hour mark as he jinked through following Rakish Bingham’s brilliant long delivery to McQueen but once more the referee waved that aside.

Fleet’s goal came on 68 minutes, when Wright slipped a pass to Poleon whose sure run down the middle once more was rewarded when his shot from outside the box sped goalwards and left Brooks clutching air.

Poleon fires home his second goal in as many games

The visitors applied plenty of pressure, with Cundle dangerous down the left and Franklin Domi cool and calm advancing from his defensive position to launch attacks.

Chatham broke from one such spell of Fleet pressure, however, on 74 minutes – a good press that saw the ball moved quickly across goal but slotted wide of Chris Haigh’s post.

That was a busy spell of the game with McQueen then winning a free-kick that was floated towards the tall figure of substitute Haydn Hollis before Cundle chipped it over as he met the ball at the far post. Bingham then unleashed an excellent 30-yard drive that Brooks pushed behind for a corner.

Haigh made two further saves, one from a free-kick and another good stop from a long-distance shot before the last action of the evening, Tanner’s energetic run releasing Wright into the box but his shot met the obstacle of Brooks once more.

EUFC 1st half: Haigh, O’Neill, Finney (Domi 32), Martin, N’Guessan, Chapman, Paxman (Cundle 21), Sterling-James, Trialist A, Coulthirst, Romain.

EUFC 2nd half: Haigh, Domi, Solly, Jombati, Wright, Trialist A (Hollis 61), Cundle, McQueen, Tanner, Bingham, Poleon.