Woking 3-0 Ebbsfleet Utd

Even the most ardent of Woking fans might have felt their six-game winning streak and wonderful record of clean sheets would at least have been put to the test by an equally in-form Ebbsfleet tonight. But it wasn’t to be for the visitors as Garry Hill’s side romped to victory in a style no other side has quite managed against the Fleet this seaosn.

For once, Fleet fans were denied goalscoring action in the opening five minutes, but Woking more than made up for that in what remained of the first half. Craig Dobson fired an early warning over the bar after bursting through in the fourth minute and the Fleet central defenders were busy from the off as a well-drilled home side exerted plenty of pressure.

It paid off on 14 minutes when Kieran Murtagh laid off a ball for Elvis Hammond and he raced through the Fleet defence, controlled the ball and sent in an unstoppable shot to give Woking the lead. Fleet could find little response and even less rhythm as they cleared balls straight to the home side’s pacy front runners.

There was no let up and on 21 minutes some great passing football saw Ademola peel away down the left; he found Dobson who drew a superb save from Preston Edwards. A minute later, the Fleet had their only concrete chance of the half, Clint Easton’s ball in eluding the Woking defence but it seemed to hit Calum Willock on the leg and he couldn’t divert it home from close range.

That was Easton’s final contribution as he limped off and on 26 minutes Woking stretched their lead. Hesitation in the Fleet defence as the visitors awaited an offside flag allowed Joe McInerney to steal in and slot home a second.

And the roof caved in on the Fleet five minutes later after a rare spell of pressure as Woking cleared the ball from a corner to Dobson. He raced clear upfield, twisted past Derek Duncan and unleashed a powerful shot that left Edwards with no chance.

Fleet had no answer as Hammond, Dobson and Murtagh in particular enjoyed a field day while ex-Ebbsfleet man Mark Ricketts kept his midfield steadfast. Hammond had another shot that was a whisker wide on 34 minutes and Fleet did well to stem the tide until the break.

The introduction of Jacob Erskine for Ricky Shakes at half-time made little difference as the one-way traffic continued unabated. Murtagh flashed a shot wide of the post on 52 minutes, Aswad Thomas found Hammond two minutes later and he flashed a header centimetres adrift of the goal and the same player blasted a shot just over the bar on 56 minutes as Woking’s pace and hunger showed no signs of easing off.

After the hour mark, the Fleet dug in but only got going in fits and starts as the likes of Ram Marwa, Gareth Williams and Tom Phipp were reduced to the role of mere spectators. The ever-lively Dobson got sight of goal again for Woking on 65 minutes, Murtagh’s late cross needed only a touch to divert it over the goalline while substitute Oliver Palmer twice had opportunities for 4-0 but was thwarted by Duncan on one occasion and his own eagerness on the other.

It was all a far cry from Saturday’s defeat of Chelmsford as Woking announced their arrival in play-off contention in style. But as this Fleet side have shown after defeats at the likes of Braintree, if there’s one thing they can do it is shake off reverses like this one. And the sooner this is out of the players’ system the better as far as Liam Daish will be concerned as he plots three points against Boreham Wood on Saturday.

TEAM: Edwards, Howe, Duncan, Carew, Easton (Pooley 24), Lorraine, Phipp, Marwa, Willock, G Williams (Okus 73), Shakes (Erskine 46).
Att: 1,005

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