Salisbury make life even more difficult for the Fleet, despite Magno Vieira’s first goal in six games…
With many of their rivals catching up in games played having already caught up in points gained, there was always going to be a fine line between success and failure in this Bank Holiday clash. And despite a brave performance from an improved Fleet, they fell short of that divide as the Whites recorded a victory that considerably eased their own relegation worries.
Having enjoyed plenty of time on the training ground of late, Liam Daish restored Dean Pooley and Will Salmon to the line-up and also handed Kane Wills a rare start of late, with Stefan Bailey and Gavin Heeroo dropping to the bench. And it was the home side who settled earliest, Chris Flood’s cross posting warning to the Fleet defence.
And the game was only seven minutes old when Sean Clohessy’s corner drifted wide to find Chris Shepherd and he shrugged off a challenge to launch a cross that Matt Tubbs flicked on and Aaron Martin buried from close range. Clohessy, who scored the winner for City in last season’s corresponding fixture, provided further ammunition from his wide position to keep the Fleet defenders on their toes but thereafter, and until City grabbed their secodn midway through the second half, it was Daish’s side who looked the more purposeful.
With rain starting to teem, and later hail too, Fleet upped the ante and Ricky Shakes should have done better than clear the crossbar. As half-time closed, Darius Charles fired over and James Bittner had to foil Wills shot after Fleet broke upfield.
But the visitors got it right straight after the restart, Vieira racing past former Fleet loanee Chris Giles and firing home. Cronin saved well from Tubbs but as the Fleet pressed for an all-important winner, carefree defending let them down. And it was Giles, completely unmarked, who headed home on 66 minutes. This was followed up seven minutes later when Ben Adelsbury took advantage of a ball at perfect height and thundered it home off the post from fully 35 yards.
TEAM: Cronin, Salmon (West 80), Pooley, Crooks, Charles, Stavrinou (Bailey 71), Holmes, Wills, Shakes (Ginty 71), Vieira, Ashikodi. Subs not used: Heeroo, Welsh.