Stacy Long was on song as the year’s hottest day greeted a new dawn for Ebbsfleet United. The Fleet’s first gathering under new manager Steve Brown saw club hero Stacy Long score twice on his return while new signings Ben May and Dean Rance were on the scoresheet as well.
With only two trialists on show, ex-Charlton and Hayes goalkeeper Brandon Hall and Dagenham striker Alex Osborn – both on the bench – it was something of a novelty for travelling Fleet fans to watch a team composed of signed players so early in pre-season.
And the away fans were rewarded with a more-than-decent showing from their team, despite Thamesmead taking the lead in the 13th minute courtesy of the prolific Jon Main. But the lead didn’t last long – or indeed Long – as midfielder Stacy skipped past a challenge and drilled home the equaliser from the edge of the box two minutes later.
Fleet were playing some enjoyable stuff along the ground and with Long pulling most of the strings in midfield it was fitting he doubled his and his side’s tally on 28 minutes, rifling a free-kick from 25 yards in off the underside of the bar. It was 3-1 some 10 minutes later, May first to a quickly taken free-kick.
Given the heat, it was little surprise that both sides took it slow and steady in the second half, though there was no let-up in goals, with May exploiting a defensive lapse on the hour mark to make it 4-1. Rance, who had been replaced by Michael Corcoran at half-time, returned to the action to add a fifth goal shortly afterwards, with the home side having a reply chalked off after the linesman flagged for a foul on Paul Lorraine.
It will be a performance to cheer Steve Brown, albeit a first pre-season game in extreme temperatures, and he will take his charges to Maidstone next as Fleet inch closer to 2013-14’s kick-off.
Team: Edwards (Hall), Howe, Palmer, McMahon, Lorraine, Huke (Sankofa), Phipp (Osborn), Rance (Corcoran), May, Bricknell (Thalassitis), Long.