Ebbsfleet United fell to their first league defeat in six games as Darlington deservedly took home all three points.
Welcoming back Ricky Shakes to the starting XI, an out of sorts Fleet barely got going in a first half that saw too many passes go astray and too much ground surrendered to an assured Quakers side. For all that, however, Liam Daish’s side could easily have taken the lead inside the first two minutes when Calum Willock’s strength dug him out a chance to fire a shot past goalkeeper Sam Russell but it was cleared off the line before the waiting Neil Barrett could pounce.
But that was as good as it got for the Fleet as Darlington enjoyed the bulk of possession, orchestrated by Jamie Chandler who provided the engine of the visitors’ midfield. Indeed Chandler’s powerful run through the middle on 19 minutes should have yielded more for Darlington but his ball wide to Liam Hatch was too far in front of the former Fleet striker who was forced to cross instead of shoot.