Fleet 3-0 Cheshunt

Five days after the 100th goal came – for the very first time in Fleet history – the 100th point. It came in miserable ‘spring’ conditions but there was nothing miserable about the home side’s performance as they took revenge for the pre-Christmas defeat at Cheshunt.

The result plunged the visitors into further relegation trouble but for the champions, after a fairly quiet first-half, it ended up a straightforward enough victory. It was marred near the full-time whistle by the sending-off of opposition manager Craig Edwards for a touchline flare-up but Dennis Kutrieb preferred to take the plaudits for reaching the historic points total.

Six changes were on the cards after Fleet’s first defeat in 19 at Braintree on Monday and back in the starting lineup were Joe Martin, Alex Finney, Christian N’Guessan, Greg Cundle, Darren McQueen and Toby Edser.

Cheshunt left experienced Jamar Loza on the bench, where he sat alongside former Fleet favourite Preston Edwards.

The early exchanges of fire lacked sparkle but once those first five minutes were passed, Fleet unlocked the Ambers defence – a simple but deadly ball forward by on seven minutes from Joe Martin set up Edser for a run on goal. His initial effort was blocked but Cheshunt’s defence was all at sea and the ball ended up over the line nonetheless.

Jamie Reynolds had a cast-iron opportunity to level things six minutes later when his initial interception troubled Finney and then N’Guessan’s back pass fell to the Cheshunt man again. Chris Solly cut out the resulting cross but it needed Mark Cousins to make the final save.

Ken Charles was well-placed from a corner to see a shot blocked and then on 21 minutes, Reynolds again was on the offensive, striking a shot from a tight angle that arrowed up and past the upright.

The Fleet’s next sight of goal arrived on 25 minutes, Martin recycling an attacking move for Cundle to square into Edser but eyeing up his second of the afternoon, his shot was blocked.

A sweeping move three minutes later had Luke O’Neill haring into the box, cutting a ball back for McQueen whose shot had power but missed the target.

Fleet were finding their groove by this stage and Josh Wright’s effort was thwarted before his header in the box was cleared. N’Guessan fired a low shot just wide as half-time approached and McQueen sent another one over the bar.

Poleon hadn’t had much to feed off and just couldn’t get on the end of an Edser flick-on before his purposeful run just before the whistle just failed to hit the target.

Goalscorer Edser turned provider as Fleet extended their lead in a sudden downpour. Put through the middle in a similar fashion to his opener, the Fleet’s No.17 could have gone it alone but invited Cundle alongside him to take better advantage of the space available and he buried a shot low into the far corner.

With conditions worsening as heavy rain swept in, it didn’t stop the Fleet from playing some pleasing football. Just past the hour, Martin won a corner – and it was clearly a training-ground one as a dummy on the edge of the box prepped McQueen for a shot. Cheshunt managed to block that one but crucially not clear it and O’Neill was first to react to turn the ball over the line as the Fleet bench celebrated a practiced routine.

More good football almost produced a fourth as N’Guessan and McQueen’s interchange saw a ball loop up and deflect over the bar.

Both Shaq Coulthirst and Poleon then went close with Adam Desbois saving both those, after a couple of efforts on goal at the other end from Cheshunt.

For once, Poleon’s luck just wasn’t in as another targeted swipe at the ball on 87 minutes was kept out and McQueen was quick to the follow-up but sent it fizzing just wide. And right after the incident on the touchline, into time added on, another excellent run by Poleon deserved more but Desbois saved low.

Fleet will now continue to target as high a points total as possible with 106 the ultimate ambition plus what would be another club record of 32 wins.

EUFC: Cousins, O’Neill, Martin, Finney, Solly, N’Guessan, Wright (Clifford 75), Cundle (Domi 57), McQueen, Edser (Coulthirst 65), Poleon. Subs: Domi, Chapman, Hollis
CFC: Desbois, Cracknell, PItblado, Alexander, McKenzie, Da Silva, Obeiro, Hobbs, Charles (Loza 81), Reynolds (Newton 80), Maja (Beckles-Richards 68). Subs: Cue, Edwards
Attendance: 1,409

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