Fleet pipped at post for top spot

Luke Moore’s second goal of the season isn’t enough to send the Fleet top of the table as Cambridge bag late goal.



CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-1 EBBSFLEET UNITED

Fleet will feel they lost two points rather than gained one after substitute Scott Rendell’s last-minute header cancelled out Luke Moore’s 42nd minute strike. It was a fair reflection on the hosts’ endeavour throughout the game, but the Fleet also had the opportunities to extend their lead in an entertaining Bank Holiday clash.

Liam Daish opted for the same side which beat Halifax on Saturday but there was some lethargy about the visitors as Cambridge set about them in the opening 20 minutes. Old nemesis Lee Boylan thought he’d opened the scoring on six minutes, tucking away Leo Fortune-West’s rebound off the post, but luckily for the Fleet the linesman had deemed Fortune-West offside. Boylan was looking lively but the Fleet defence were gradually getting the measure of him and as the visitors settled, so they eased themselves back into the game, Chukki Eribenne failing from close range on 19 minutes as he spilled a Luke Moore cross into Danny Potter’s arms.

Moore’s running was causing some problems and he won a free-kick on 37 minutes, that Mark De Bolla was unlucky not to dispatch, his fine shot looking destined for the back of the net but for Potter’s excellent save. At the other end, the impressive Gavin Hoyte must have been cursing his luck as a wonderful, unchallenged 30-yard strike sailed past Tynan but back off the woodwork. Luke Moore was increasingly finding himself at the centre of things and, after endearing himself to the home crowd following something of a set-to with Potter, he then conjured up the first goal. Given space again by the U’s defence from Eribenne’s pass, Moore let fly into the right side of the net from 20 yards to nudge the Fleet in front.

A spell of pressure from set pieces after the break was all the breathing space the Fleet got as Cambridge, their ears burning from a half-time roasting, gradually turned the screw. With the Us finding themselves frustrated by the Fleet’s gameplan, Jimmy Quinn hauled off Fortune-West and sent Scott Rendell into the fray. The tricky substitute had a number of chances to restore parity, but Scott Tynan had the measure of his efforts. A free-kick skimmed the Fleet bar on 70 minutes and a Courtney Pitt cross should really have been tucked away by Boylan a few minutes later.

With Raphael Nade replacing the injured Eribenne and one former Cambridge player replacing another in James Smith coming on for Warren Goodhind, the beleaguered Fleet just about looked like holding on. Almost non-existent as an attacking force by the end, it did the Fleet no good to see five minutes of injury time added and sure enough the pressure was too much. With time ticking away, substitute Michael Hyem picked the ball up from Stephen Smith, moved into space and hit a fine shot which looked to have bounced down over the line from the underside of the bar as Tynan grappled to clear, but Rendell was on hand to head it home anyway from close-range, to the massive delight of the home fans.

TEAM: Tynan, Goodhind (Smith 72), McCarthy,
Hawkins, McPhee, DeBolla, Bostwick, Long, Purcell (Slatter 58),
Eribenne (Nade 71), Moore. Subs Not Used: Cronin, Coleman.

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