Ebbsfleet United’s endeavour at the Kuflink Stadium this afternoon was rewarded with a win as National League visitors Dover Athletic were defeated courtesy of goals by Rakish Bingham and Lee Martin.
Fleet recovered from an early Dover opener to hit back straight from the restart before Martin’s fine shot completed the turnaround.
Three changes from the Barnet game saw Tom Hadler in goal for Jordan Holmes, while Bobby Joe-Taylor and Lee Martin also returned.
Three minutes had barely ticked past the 12.30pm kick-off before the visitors opened the scoring. Josh Passley’s low delivery from the right was parried by Hadler but Fleet failed to clear the loose ball and Dover eventually forced it over the line from inside the six-yard box, with either of their two players in attendance eligible to claim the last touch.
Fleet refused to let that disappointment impede them, however, and responded immediately. Ben Chapman’s long ball from the kick-off got the home side going and it was the energetic Chapman who raced into the box covering fully 80 yards to meet Adam Mekki’s pass, sliding an assist towards Bingham who fired into the net for 1-1.
Bingham might have had a second a minute later when he curled an effort towards the far post but the Dover goalkeeper punched that one away.
Hadler had similar work to do on 12 minutes and commanded his area well when called upon. Dover should have done better on the break on 20 minutes when Jack Munns’ drive upfield merited more than the wide shot from the winger that resulted.
The lively Mekki teed up the next opportunity on 23 minutes, his skill taking him into the Dover box and he landed a delivery in the six-yard box where the visitors hurriedly cleared under pressure from Bingham on the goal-line.
Fleet’s best moment of the game undeniably came on the half-hour, multiple balls to feet exhibiting Dennis Kutrieb’s penchant for the passing game. Chapman cut a ball inside to Martin who played a one-two with James Dobson before firing off a great left-footed effort from the edge of the box that flew in off the inside of the post.
A similarly speedy movement upfield three minutes later presented Martin with another chance but this time his effort was easy enough for the goalkeeper to take down.
Taylor’s mazy run against his former club four minutes before half-time released Mekki into the box but Dover cleared that one before Martin could pounce.
Mekki was then upended right on the edge of the box just before half-time but the referee decided it was outside and awarded a free-kick.
Jack Paxman and Will Wood were introduced for the second-half and it was Wood’s corner that gave Fleet an early sight of goal, West eventually firing an effort too high.
Dover had improved, meanwhile, but their shooting was a little too optimistic at times. They had an excellent opportunity on 50 minutes, however, but Hadler did very well to block a shot from close-range and Paxman tidied up before the rebound could inflict damage.
Munns had Hadler leaping for a free-kick on the hour but it crept just up and over the bar before Fleet introduced a couple more substitutes.
Louis Collins set up another Dover chance on 67 minutes, playing a good ball into the Fleet box but that one was lifted over the bar as well as the visitors continued to feel frustrated by efforts off target.
Martin might have thought he’d extended Fleet’s lead on 73 minutes when he received a short pass from Greg Cundle and belted a shot from 15 yards just wide. And Martin again wasn’t far off converting Iffy Allen’s break and cross but a Dover foot blocked that one in the box.
Fleet fended off a couple of late Dover attacks, Hadler smothering the best of those with a minute to go to see his side safely over the line.
EUFC: Hadler, Chapman (Adebayo-Rowling 76), Taylor (Wood 46), Kahraman (Trialist No.23, 62), Frempah (Goodman 76), Payne (Egan 76), West (Grant 62), Dobson (Paxman 46), Mekki (Allen 69), Martin (Trialist No.13, 44), Bingham (Cundle 62)