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Fleet fire quenched by floodlight failure

Ebbsfleet United may have rocked Weston-super-Mare with two goals in two minutes before half-time but had clearly unsettled the Stonebridge Road floodlights in the process as an electrical failure during the break put paid to any hopes of a conclusion to the match and an anticipated three points.

The two lights at the Plough End failed seconds after the half-time whistle before all four were plunged into darkness as attempts were made to diagnose the problem. All four lights briefly returned, before the two at the opposite end of the ground went out and, under pressure from Weston manager Ryan Northmore and the lengthy delay in restarting the lights, the referee called the game off.

As luck would have it, moments after that decision, all four lights came back on and stayed on but it was too late for the Fleet to benefit.

It was a real shame for supporters who had enjoyed a 45 minutes in which Fleet gave everything and were rewarded with two quickfire goals at the end of it all.

There was one change to the line-up, with Stuart Lewis in for Dean Rance, and the early exchanges were unremarkable with Weston fairly composed in the opening 10 minutes. Fleet misplaced a few passes early on and took a while to settle but from the quarter-hour mark were dominant and the visitors rarely got out of their own half thereafter.

Matt Godden twice had chances, the first a rather ambitious half volley from Jordan Parkes’ knockdown that flew well wide and the second when he glanced a header just over the bar from a Matt Fish cross.

Joe Howe had two deliveries that almost opened things up for the Fleet, his first resulting in a goalmouth scramble and his second blocked in the box, leaving Godden with the goal at his mercy but he fired at goalkeeper Luke Purnell.

Fleet got better as the match proceeded, with Robbie Willmott lively down the right while Danny Kedwell twice went close with a header and then a shot low past the post. It seemed Fleet’s bad luck in front of goal was going to continue into the break when Parkes sent in a fine shot from 25 yards that was just millimetres over the crossbar.

But that all changed inside two minutes. Willmott advanced down the right, got the run of the ball to beat one man, skipped past two more, and delivered for Kedwell to head home. Kedwell turned provider moments later to double Fleet’s lead, nipping in at the post to supply Godden who rifled a shot past Purnell…

…and then the lights went out, extinguishing any hopes of Fleet remaining top of the table.

EUFC: Hall, Fish, Howe, S Lewis, Clark, Bonner, Godden, Parkes, Kedwell, Kissock, Willmott. Subs: Miles, Acheampong, Rance, Cunnington, Haynes

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