National League South Tue 7 March The Kuflink Stadium
Ebbsfleet Utd
  • Coulthirst (21')
  • Bingham (27')
  • O'Neill (45')
  • Sterling-James (49')
  • Edser (62')
  • Clifford (85')
  • Own Goal (83')
  • Meekums (12')
  • Barker (80')

The Rebels made the trip to the Kuflink Stadium off the back of a frustrating draw at Arbour Park against nine-man Slough last time out.

While Ebbsfleet had drawn their two previous games against Hemel Hempstead and Farnborough. But those two results helped extend the Fleet’s unbeaten run to 13 games. A run that has cemented their place at the top of the table.

Adam Hinshelwood made one change to the starting eleven from the weekend as Kane Wills returned to the midfield to replace Finlay Chadwick.

A fascinating tactical battle unfolded in the opening ten minutes of the contest as Ebbsfleet had plenty of possession while the Rebels looked to use the pace of Reece Meekums and Lewis White on the counter-attack.

It was Worthing who threatened first after some nice intricate play in their own half saw Josh Chambers released to advance forward. He played in White who forced a save from Mark Cousins to his right.

The Rebels took the lead some five minutes later when they broke once more, this time through Meekums. He played in Pearce on the left who cut inside and fired towards the bottom right corner. Cousins saved it but the ball fell straight to the feet of Meekums who couldn’t miss.

The hosts then rallied as they looked for an instant reply. First, Rakish Bingham was sent through on the left and his shot was deflected wide by Joe Rye.

Next, it was Ben Chapman who threatened, but Harrison Male saved comfortably.

The Rebels reminded the league leaders of their threat on the break when Meekums was sent through, but Luke O’Neill made a good recovery tackle to deny any chance for Meekums to net his second.

It was a moment to forget for Male on 21 minutes when the Rebels looked to play out from a goal kick. Male miskicked his pass, unintentionally hitting Franklin Domi with it. The ball bounced straight into the path of Shaq Coulthirst who prodded home into the empty net.

The hosts were threatening again some five minutes later when Omari Sterling-James cut back to Coulthirst, but Aarran Racine did well to put himself in the way of the striker’s shot.

From the resulting corner, the Fleet were in front. The corner ended up reaching Bingham at the far post who turned his effort in from a tight angle.

The lively Meekums threatened again for the Rebels on the half-hour mark as he cut inside onto his right but couldn’t find the target as he aimed for the far post.

Coulthirst had a fantastic chance to double his tally after beating Worthing’s offside trap, but Male made himself big to make a fantastic stop.

Up the other end once more, the Rebels were denied a penalty when Meekums went down under a challenge on the left.

Five minutes later, Chambers forced a one-handed stop from Cousins with a curling effort towards the top right corner.

In the end-to-end contest, it was the Fleet who were presented with two chances for Toby Edser. Both were denied by incredible blocks from Rye, putting his body on the line for the Rebels.

O’Neill produced a bit of excellence just on the brink of half time as he curled into the top left corner from the edge of the box. A sucker punch for the Rebels just before the interval.

Chambers appeared to be closed off and brought down by two Ebbsfleet defenders in the box in the last play of the half. But rather than pointing to the spot, referee Andrew Humphries blew his whistle for half time.

It was a nightmare start to the second half for the Rebels as Sterling-James, free on the right-hand side of the area, fired into the top corner at the near post for four-one.

Hinshelwood then turned to his bench, bringing on Reuben Livesey Austin and Davide Rodari for James Beresford and White.

It was another moment to forget at the back for the Rebels when Dominic Poleon intercepted Rye’s throw in towards Male. With an empty net at a tight angle, he remained composed to pick out a pass to Chapman who rolled in

The Rebels’ final change saw Suk-jae Lee come on to make his debut for the Club, replacing Chambers.

On 71 minutes, O’Neill nearly doubled his tally when he headed just over at the far post.

With ten minutes left in the contest, Danny Barker got a consolation goal for the Rebels when he fired in from distance. He was left unopposed by the Fleet and decided to unleash a strike from some 20 yards which travelled into the bottom right corner.

But, within two minutes, the league leaders scored their sixth and seventh goals through an own goal and a Billy Clifford strike to secure an emphatic win.

Worthing will look to put this result behind them quickly and bounce back on Saturday when they welcome Bath City to The Crucial Environmental Stadium.