Ebbsfleet United’s season burst into life this afternoon as a second six-goal haul in succession saw Steve Brown’s side equal the club’s record away victory in a league fixture – the other being a 6-0 win over Harrow Borough in February 2001.
Weston-super-Mare, sitting in third at the start of play and unbeaten in six games, looked certain to set the Fleet a tough test but Brown’s adventurous formation saw Alex Osborn start in place of Tom Phipp, while Joe Howe returned to the side at Osei Sankofa’s expense.
And, like last week’s FA Cup match, Fleet were ahead early on, when Anthony Cook’s cross was turned into his own goal by Martin Slocombe on five minutes, under pressure from Ben May. What could have been the turning point of the match occurred on 21 minutes when Preston Edwards saved Tristan Plummer’s spot-kick after Shane Huke had brought down Kane Ingram.
That was all the encouragement Fleet needed to put some daylight between themselves and the opposition and Billy Bricknell, thriving now his partnership with Ben May has been resurrected, fired home a second on 28 minutes after May’s shot had been parried by goalkeeper Luke Purnell.
And Fleet looked to have sewn the match up on 44 minutes when the luckless Purnell again got a hand to Bricknell’s effort but the ball came back out to Osborn who stabbed it home for 3-0.
Osborn, his first league strike for the Fleet confirmed, promptly equalled the two cup goals he scored in midweek to make it 4-0 four minutes into the second half when he kept a cool head to beat Purnell in a one-on-one, to kill off Weston’s attempts to get a foothold.
By now completely relaxed, the Fleet scored twice more in a three-minute spell at the end of the game, substitute Chris Sessegnon – freshly returned from Cray Wanderers – setting up Anthony Cook on both occasions to give Fleet a record-equalling 6-0 victory.
TEAM: Edwards, Howe, Palmer, McMahon, Lorraine, Huke, Osborn, Rance (Long 74), May (Thalassitis 79), Bricknell (Sessegnon 70), Cook. Subs not used: Hall, Sankofa