Chris Denham cancels out Chukki Eribenne’s goal at Droylsden to give the Fleet their third draw in two weeks…
DROYLSDEN 1-1 EBBSFLEET UNITED
Report by Allan Main
Liam Daish rang the changes for his side’s long trip to Manchester with Sam Mott winning his first start of the season in goal while Ronnie Bull, Gary MacDonald, Chukki Eribenne and Raphael Nade also came into a side looking to increase last season’s points total by taking the maximum three on offer here at the Butchers Arm Ground.
But relegated Droylsden were not in the mood to give those points away lightly and started the brighter of the two sides, with Chris Denham shooting wide of Mott’s post on 5 minutes and forcing the goalkeeper into a decent save on 10 minutes after the defence stood off. The Fleet took all of 28 minutes to even register an interest up front, Nade getting up well to send a header off-target. Ged Murphy and Sean Newton both snatched at half chances as the first 45 minutes crawled to a halt and a paltry crowd of 252 seemed glad to hear the half-time whistle.
Interest was regained inside the opening eight minutes of the second half as far as the Fleet were concerned when Eribenne created space for himself and pulled wide in the box, cracking an accurate shot past Bloods’ goalkeeper Paul Phillips.
If that first shot on target warmed the hardy few travelling from Kent, they could barely contain their excitement nine minutes later when George Purcell got another on target, but he could only hit Charley Hearn’s corner wide from close range. Droylsden picked up the pace after that and despite John Akinde’s entrance for Eribenne on 71 minutes, the Fleet seemed content to sit back.
They paid for it on 73 minutes when the impressive Jamie McGuire fed Danny Ellis who advanced down the right wing and sent in a ball that Denham drilled past Mott into the bottom corner. There was precious little endeavour on show for the final quarter as two sides who had seemingly accepted their respective league fates went through the motions, although the result did lift Droylsden off the bottom and sent the Fleet back into the top 10.
TEAM: Mott, Ricketts (Hawkins 63), Bull, MacDonald, Smith, Hearn, Barrett, Bostwick, Purcell, Eribenne (Akinde 71), Nade. Subs not used: French, Stubbs, Maskell.