Ricky Shakes’ brace inspired Ebbsfleet United to an important win as his side began their final month of 2010-11 in style.
Despite the signing of Jody Banim late last week, Liam Daish opted to return to a tried and tested formation with Shakes and Michael West in support of Calum Willock while Derek Duncan’s suspension meant a swift return from injury for Ryan Blake.
Proceedings got off to a quiet start with only Matt Warner’s high free-kick for the home side of much note. Shakes looked lively for the Fleet but the first real chance came Willock’s way on 25 minutes when Clint Easton’s ball forward was headed down by Tom Phipp but the goalkeeper got down well before Willock could connect properly.
With both sides fighting for scraps it was something of a surprise when the game erupted after half an hour with two goals in as many minutes. First, on 32 minutes, the home side broke as Stuart Lake supplied Matt Warner and though his fine effort cannoned off the post, Greg Draper was on hand to convert the rebound from 10 yards out.
But Fleet roared straight back and when a Basingstoke defender fluffed at a high ball, it landed kindly for Shakes who fired low past Chay Morris from 12 yards. It was a relief for the Fleet to claw their way back so soon but the home side closed the half out the stronger when Preston Edwards had to be alert to Delano Sam-Yorke’s useful solo effort while Paul Lorraine got a good block on David Pratt’s shot in time added on.
It took just 10 minutes of the second half for Daish to shuffle his pack as he introduced Jacob Erskine and Giannoulis Fakinos for Phipp and West. Willock and Shakes continued to look a threat and indeed Shakes almost scored a bizarre second on 68 minutes when his hopeful cross swirled in the wind and managed to scrape the crossbar. But seven minutes later he did register a second, doing well to win the ball from Blake’s forward pass and even better to get the space to shoot past Morris.
The home side introduced ex-Woking midfielder Matt Pattison to go 3-4-3 in an attempt to get back on level terms but the Fleet were not unduly worried as they closed the game out to steal a march on a few of their rivals.
TEAM: Edwards, Stone, Blake, Carew, Easton, Lorraine, West (Fakinos 56), Marwa, Willock, Shakes, Phipp (Erskine 56). Subs not used: Howe, Ginty, G Williams
Clint Eastone won last week’s man of the match. Vote for today’s now.