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Ebbsfleet United 1-1 Maidenhead United
Ebbsfleet United 1-1 Maidenhead United

Dominic Poleon was back on the scoresheet as the Fleet earned a point against in-form Maidenhead United – but the visitors responded within seven minutes to deny the home side the win they tried hard to produce.

After the defeat to Oxford, it came as no surprise that changes were made and in came Ben Chapman, Ouss Cissé, Franklin Domi, Darren McQueen and Luke O’Neill.

The first chance of the match fell to the visitors when Sam Barratt tried his luck with a shot from distance that had Mark Cousins backing into his goal quickly to tip over the bar. A few minutes later, the Fleet had a chance of their own – a free-kick whipped in from Domi picked out O’Neill edging towards the far post to deliver across the six-yard box but no red shirt was present and the visitors just about cleared their lines.

Poleon had several chances to display his strong running against the Maidenhead back line and midway through the half he released Chapman to latch on to a pass but despite his fall in the box and protests from Fleet players around him, the goal-kick was given. As the half-hour mark approached, neither side had created much of a threat in front of goal and when they did, such as the long ball from the left that found Jayden Mitchell-Lawson, the volley was off-target. Equally, Josh Wright was unable to keep his shot down.

Reece Smith had two good chances in quick succession as Maidenhead did find their way through the Fleet defence at last, but both those were met by brave blocks by red shirts.

Jayden Mitchell-Lawson earned the scorn of Fleet supporters when he went to ground once too often throughout the game, rolling dramatically back on to the pitch at one point – although that injury did prevent him from reappearing in the second-half.

The second half featured another long-range attempt from Maidenhead when Casey Pettit tried his luck from near the halfway line as he spotted Cousins moving forward but his effort was just off target, while Shawn McCoulsky was inches away from turning Sam Beckwith’s long-range free-kick in, the ball running past Cousins with blue shirts arriving.

And it was the Fleet who found the breakthrough on the hour mark, Dominic Poleon scoring his ninth of the season. It came from the right, O’Neill sending a ball in behind the covering defender to allow Poleon to run to the sort of ball he excels at and he executed a shot from a tight angle to the delight of the home faithful. 

That lead was short-lived, however, with the equaliser coming from a Maidenhead free-kick in a central area. Barrett’s kick was deflected off the wall and typical of Fleet’s luck, it ran free to the visitors’ in-form Reece Smith. He took a touch before picking put the top corner with a well-executed shot.

O’Neill had a chance to put the Fleet back in front but he couldn’t keep his effort on target while at the other end Cousins pulled off a remarkable save to deny Barrett who let fly from outside the box with a fierce drive.

The Fleet were the more adventurous in the search for a winner though the visitors had one more late chance on the break that Toby Edser managed to break up with an excellent challenge and the two sides settled for a 1-1 draw.

EUFC: Cousins, O’Neill, Kenlock, Olagunju, Cissé, Wright (Odokonyero 89), Chapman, McQueen (Cundle 72), Domi (Edser 59), Samuel, Poleon.

Subs: Tanner, Amoo

MUFC: Ross, Asare, Beckwith, De Havilland, Golding, Ferdinand, Mitchell-Lawson (McCoulsky 46), Sho-Silva (Omilabu 67), Pettit, Smith, Barratt.

Subs: Zimba, Massey, Kinsella

Attendance: 1,159