Substitute Harry Ottaway came off the bench to head Dorking Wanderers to all three points as Fleet fell to a second 1-0 home defeat. Another substitute, Shaq Coulthirst, had Fleet fans off their seats in expectation of an equaliser but when the net rippled, unfortunately it was the side netting.
There were five changes as in came Luke O’Neill, Haydn Hollis, Ben Chapman, Toby Edser and David Amoo with Chris Solly, Darren McQueen, Omari Sterling-James, Craig Tanner and Coulthirst making way
It was Ebbsfleet who started the brightest, racking up a number of corners early on. And the first big chance of the match fell to the Fleet when Ouss Cissé collected the ball from Edser and fired his shot just wide from close-in.
The hosts continued to enjoy the edge in possession terms and on 18 minutes, Chapman collected from a good position on the left and sent a low shot along the six-yard box which was blocked by the Dorking defence.
Dorking grew into the game and began to assert themselves in midfield but none of it did much damage to the Fleet defence. Matt Briggs got in ahead of Franklin Domi from a poor back-pass, but Domi recovered well and turned the winger to clear.
It was mainly a slow-paced and scrappy first-half as Chapman had another shot saved by Harrison Male and Amoo continued to try to create from the right, his delivery for Nathan Odokonyero not quite coming off. The Fleet had the best chance when they almost found the opener on the brink of half-time. Amoo’s swift run from the halfway line laid a ball into the path of Edser but the midfielder was stumbling as he took the shot and he pulled it just wide with the Dorking defence playing catch-up.
The Fleet once again started the next half with their eyes on goal and Amoo whipped an effort across goal early on. Joe Cook then got in the way of Odokonyero before it was Dorking who broke the deadlock. It came on 59 minutes when a deep delivery into the Fleet box picked out Jason Prior and he headed the ball back across the box. Wanderers substitute Ottaway, on the pitch only five minutes, climbed to meet Prior’s header with one of his own and in it went.
Fleet sent on Coulthirst and Tanner and it was Tanner who drove a shot through a crowd on target but it was straight at goalkeeper Male. Dorking had a chance of their own from a free kick, Tom Blair the man to step up but his strike was superbly cleared by Cousins.
The Fleet nearly claimed an equaliser with 10 minutes remaining when a superb turn by Coulthirst – who had only just steered a Cissé cross wide – got him away through the middle. He exchanged passes with Odokonyero and then ran on to the return ball, steering the ball off the pole behind the goal and back into the side netting.
Despite Male having fallen to the floor injured three times in the second-half, on top of the usual additions for what has been huge amounts of additional time this season, the referee stopped counting at five minutes this evening, leaving Fleet only a short time to attempt further attacks but it was Dorking who took the points home.
EUFC: Cousins, O’Neill (Tanner 77), Domi, White, Hollis, Wright, Cissé, Chapman, Edser (Coulthirst 70), Amoo (Sterling-James 60), Odokonyero. Subs: McQueen, Clifford
DWFC: Male, Briggs (Seager 60), Prior (Philpot 67), McShane, Kennedy, Cook, Taylor, Gallagher, Kuhl (Ottaway 54), Blair, Francomb.
Subs: Huk, Lankshear
Vote for your man of the match below…