Fleet 3-0 Dover Athletic

Six wins out of six to start the season will have us reaching for the record books as Fleet rolled over Dover – but three goals and a clean sheet added to the pleasing stats for manager Dennis Kutrieb.

There were seven changes for the Fleet, with Jack Paxman returning to the matchday squad for the first time this campaign on the bench. Dover started with ex-Fleet duo Jake Goodman and Lee Martin, with Reece Grant a substitute.

And it was Martin with the first round of mind games, winning the toss and electing to attack the Swanscombe End to begin with. Fleet made most of the early running, however, with Darren McQueen getting a shot away within the first minute and the home side continued to take the game into the Dover half.

McQueen had a second effort fired over after a corner on 12 minutes was cleared and came back to him 20 yards out. But the best chance of the opening spell came on 15 minutes when Greg Cundle found McQueen out wide. He cut inside and swept a delivery towards Josh Wright whose effort to turn it over the line was blocked by Mitch Brundle.

But three minutes after that the goal the home side deserved arrived. It was courtesy of a quick move upfield, sparked by Luke O’Neill’s header into space for Rakish Bingham. His fourth assist of the season came as he found Poleon with room to run across Stuart Nelson. The club’s top scorer looked purposeful and rifled his shot at Nelson with enough power to evade the goalkeeper’s grasp and head over the line.

It might have been 2-0 on 21 minutes when McQueen broke down the right and found Wright who in turn laid off a ball for Cundle to have a crack but although he connected well, it rose past the upright.

Dover hadn’t really had a sniff to that point, Alfie Pavey’s glanced header the best effort but on 25 minutes, Luke Wanadio sent in a dangerous cross that was difficult for Mark Cousins to judge and Pavey was inches away from connecting.

And Cousins’ counterpart Nelson almost gifted a goal at the other end, fumbling a back pass that Poleon sprinted on to but the Dover keeper grabbed the ball and the referee then penalised the bemused Fleet goalscorer for a foul.

The rest of the half played out without further chances, though Bingham’s run the width of the pitch saw his shot come to nought.

Former teammates two-goal Poleon and Lee Martin tangle

Dover made a change at half-time, the experienced Tyrone Sterling replacing Luke Baptiste and not long after that lost Jordan Higgs to an injury, Arjanit Krasniqi coming on for him. And Dover had the first solid chance when Hollis was unfortunate that his clearance ricocheted backwards, lending Chike Kandi space to run into but Cousins was down well to his effort on target.

Solid chances were few and far between but with just the one-goal lead, Fleet had to defend against a couple of Dover incursions and set-pieces but defend them they did.

And the crucial second goal arrived on 75 minutes, the unlikely route of Hollis’ boot with unerring accuracy finding Bingham, who still had to do plenty of work to get the right side of Goodman before burying the ball past Nelson.

Dover might have set up a grandstand finish when Pavey took a long ball down in the box and although Hollis got a foot in, the Dover striker wriggled free and it required two smart stops from Cousins.

Fleet made extra sure of it five minutes from the end, substitute Craig Tanner powering through the middle on the break. He had Poleon in support to his right and duly sent the pass that way, the Fleet’s 14 finishing with great technique for his second and Fleet’s third.

Another substitute in the form of Omari Sterling could even have added a fourth when another ball into the box sat up and presented him with the opportunity – Dover escaped that one but were well beaten by the time 90 minutes rolled around.

EUFC: Cousins, O’Neill, Hollis, Solly, Wright (Paxman 83), N’Guessan, Cundle, McQueen (Sterling 77), Edser (Tanner 68), Bingham, Poleon. Subs: Coulthirst, Chapman
DAFC: Nelson, Judd, Paxman, Goodman, Brundle (Carney 70), Higgs (Krasniqi 50), Pavey, Wanadio, Martin, Kandi, Baptiste (Sterling 46). Subs: Sandford, Grant
Attendance: 1,765

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