Long on song again as Fleet beat York

Stacy Long makes it 12 goals this season as Fleet take all three points at York…

YORK CITY 0-1 EBBSFLEET UNITED

Report by Allan Main

Never mind all the recent talk about who will be picking the Fleet team in the weeks to come – at York on Saturday the team picked itself, with Liam Daish down to barebones as John Akinde had aggravated an abdominal strain while Paul McCarthy, James Smith and Gary MacDonald all failed fitness tests. Add to that Sacha Opinel’s suspension, and Daish sent a patched-up defence and strike force into action searching for the Fleet’s first away win since Crawley Town six weeks ago.

With the rain teeming down on the Kit-Kat Crescent, the Fleet started the brighter of the two teams and went in front as early as the eighth minute. Chris McPhee was felled as he surged towards the box and though the contact was minimal, referee Naylor awarded the Fleet a free-kick 25 yards out. Stacy Long struck a high shot which deflected off York defender Richard Brodie on the edge of the wall, leaving Tom Evans to stand and stare as the ball skipped past him into the opposite corner. York’s best opportunity to draw level came on 12 minutes from Martyn Woolford who found space among the defending yellow shirts, bamboozling Mark Ricketts and Peter Hawkins in the process, to hook a shot towards the top corner but Lance Cronin was equal to it and produced a decent save.

Cronin was busy again on the half hour, saving from Chris Hall, Richard Brodie and Woolford, while seeing another Brodie shot flash across goal as he cut inside the otherwise impressive Darius Charles.

George Purcell should have done better on 34 minutes when he latched onto a long ball over the top and cut inside to loose off one of his trademark shots on the edge of the box but it flew skywards. Purcell had a better effort on the stroke of half-time after Long showed good skill in getting to the byline, taking out two defenders and the goalkeeper, and as he cut it back to Purcell, the young striker’s shot seemed destined for the back of the net but Daniel Parslow got in the way.

Before that Chris Hall should really have tested Lance Cronin after Manny Panther’s surging run through midfield and precise through ball which eliminated the Fleet defence but as Hall ran on to it, his tame shot was easy for Cronin.

The second half was an altogether duller affair as York, who had been stringing together neat passes for the most part earlier on, became increasingly ragged in their quest for a goal, as substitute Stuart Elliot’s ambitious 20-yard volley on 65 minutes typified.

Former Fleet favourite Onome Sodje looked strangely out of sorts though the service to him was inconsistent as York failed to turn possession into chances. The Fleet battled manfully and defended in numbers, though could have added some gloss to the scoreline when Raphael Nade and Luke Moore combined at the death, but the resulting shot went over the bar.

TEAM: Cronin, Ricketts, Bull, Hawkins, Charles, Bostwick, Hearn, McPhee, Long (Barrett 90), Nade, Purcell (Moore 77). Subs not used: Mott, Maskell, Stubbs.
Attendance: 2,256

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