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Fleet 3-0 Barnet

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A lot, lot better was what Garry Hill asked for and a lot, lot better was what Garry Hill got.

Ebbsfleet achieved their first win at home, their first clean sheet and their first three-goal tally to lift themselves three places off the bottom of the league with a fine win over play-off-chasing Barnet.

Supporters who hadn’t seen their side win at home since seeing off Wrexham last April now travel with much more hope to Wrexham for what could be an early six-pointer this Saturday.

Fleet made one change as Josh Umerah came in for Gozie Ugwu, who was suffering from an eye infection. Mathew Achuba got a place on the bench, with the home side still reduced in number by other injuries.

It was a frantic start with the pitch perhaps a little slick and Barnet in particular were victims of the ball zipping off the surface and out of play as they tried to get at the Fleet from the whistle.

It seemed their pre-match work had galvanised the Fleet as even in those early exchanges, they were a cut above Saturday.

A couple of crosses weren’t far off falling for Alex Reid while Ayo Obileye and Jamie Grimes threw themselves at a corner that flashed wide.

Weston continued to be the main outlet for the Fleet as they seemed to target young Barnet left-back Loic Hernandez and in midfield, Frankie Sutherland’s tenacity allowed James Ball to link up well with those ahead of him.

Barnet saw less of the ball for a period but were quick to break with Wes Fonguck and Ephron Mason-Clark capable of stretching play. Mauro Vilhete had his moments, too, but too many of the Bees’ passes from midfield went astray, were overhit or miscontrolled.

Fleet looked keen to get shots away on goal and Sutherland had one decent effort from 25 yards on 29 minutes that was blocked by goalkeeper Scott Loach and it almost fell for Umerah before being hooked away.

And with Fleet appearing to be ever so slightly the more adventurous of the two sides, they went in front on 33 minutes. Weston’s trademark run from the right resulted in a cross aimed at the head of Reid but Loach came for it and it flew over him without taking a touch off Reid and went straight in.

Reid might not have been credited with that one but there was no arguing who the second goal belonged to. And it arrived only three minutes later. Good movement in front of the Barnet box was only half-cleared by a white shirt. It was collected by Reid who made a nimble turn and lashed a shot into the far corner for 2-0.

Fleet fans were in dreamland and their side didn’t disappoint in their desire to protect that lead, seeing out the remaining nine minutes of the half in a calm and collected manner.

Barnet took the game to their hosts a little more in the second half and they looked much brighter in attack, winning a free-kick four minutes in that caused some angst.

Fleet were a little deep for a time, with Bees centre-back Ricardo Santos almost playing as a midfielder at times but marshalled by Jack King, the back four performed sterling work. Barnet’s Jack Taylor was tidy in the centre and the best outlet as he constantly found a white shirt with balls into his supporting midfielders and front men but more often than not, his efforts were in vain.

Vilhete fired just wide and Jordan Holmes then made a decent stop from Mason-Clark in his first real involvement. Substitute Josh Walker, another who showed some neat touches, also troubled Holmes but couldn’t beat him.

Fleet gradually stemmed that Barnet tide, Wilson and Grimes doing excellent work from their respective full-back positions. And they delivered the killer blow on 71 minutes. A free-kick into a crowded box saw Grimes felled as he went for it. With supporters baying for a penalty, Obileye ignored the confusion to prod the ball over the line.

Grimes is grounded but Obileye fires home No.3

Barnet were thoroughly beaten by then and their night was summed by some wayward efforts from Simeon Akinola. They should have pulled one back on 74 minutes when Mason-Clark rifled an effort past Holmes but Tyler Cordner was on hand to clear off the line.

And six minutes later Barnet came again but Fleet were in no mood to surrender their clean sheet. Alfie Pavey got in behind the defence for the first time and had a clear sight of goal but Holmes stood up well to his initial shot and then pushed his follow-up behind.

The final stages saw Ball’s excellent pass forward and Umerah’s strength carve out a chance for Weston, whose cross was almost turned into his own net by Callum Reynolds.

Substitute Alfie Egan’s long pass in time added on came to Reid who let fly with a fine effort just over the bar as Fleet finished the 90 minute on a real high.

EUFC: Holmes, Wilson (Egan 76), Grimes, King, Cordner, Obileye, Ball, Sutherland (Achuba 90), Weston (Biabi 84), Reid, Umerah. Subs not used: Ugwu, Palmer
BFC: Loach, Alexander, Santos, Reynolds, Hernandez, Mason-Clark, Vilhete (Vasiliou 77), J Taylor, Fonguck (Walker 58), Akinola, Pavey. Subs not used: Matrevics, H Taylor, Rowan.
Attendance: 809

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