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Fleet a Long Wey better' - Daish thankful for return to form

PUBLISHED: 10:02 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 23 August 2010

EBBSFLEET United manager Liam Daish believes his side can continue the excellent form they showed in their Setanta Shield victory over Stevenage Borough on Tuesday night, writes Fintan Quinn. George Purcell got the opener and Stacy Long added a brace to

EBBSFLEET United manager Liam Daish believes his side can continue the excellent form they showed in their Setanta Shield victory over Stevenage Borough on Tuesday night, writes Fintan Quinn.

George Purcell got the opener and Stacy Long added a brace to complete the scoring in a 3-0 win, which saw them progress to the fifth round of the non-league knock-out competition.

The performance was in stark contrast to last Saturday's tame Blue Square Premier defeat against Cambridge United. Daish made six changes to that starting XI and admitted he was satisfied with an improved showing ahead of Saturday's league visit of Weymouth.

"The difference to Saturday was that I had more players out there who wanted to make a difference to the game," he said.

"I changed it about a bit and the lads that came in took the bull by the horns and gave me a lot to think about. It will be different on Saturday - with a quite different team to play against - but, hopefully, we will take confidence for that result and get back to how we want to play."

Daish also praised the performance of Charlton trainee Long who, he said, is at his most impressive when he does the simple things well. "It's good to see Stacy mixing his game up. Sometimes he tries to do a little bit too much and be too precise, but he mixed it up well."

The Fleet made their intentions clear early on when Luke Moore flashed in a challenging snap shot. Then, after 14 minutes, Purcell opened the scoring when he latched onto a superb pass from Long and fired across the box and into the bottom right corner.

Borough mounted a fightback and tried to release striker Tony Thomas with several throughballs, but they could find no way past rock solid centre-half Darius Charles, back to form after a poor display against Cambridge.

If the first goal was well-worked, the second - after 26 minutes - was of a more routine vintage. The visiting defence failed to clear a cross and Long slammed home from just outside the box.

Stevenage started the second half with renewed vigour, but were again frustrated by a defence playing at the top of its game.

What little chances the Hertfordshire outfit had went begging and Peter Vincenti, in particular, should have done better than blast high and wide from the edge of the area.

With just under 10 minutes remaining, man-of-the-match Long put the result beyond doubt when he played a one-two with Purcell to create space and slot past Ashley Bayes with precision.

An already bad evening for Borough got even worse when Mark Albrighton received his marching orders for a second bookable offence late on.

Ebbsfleet: Cronin 7, Slatter 7, Pooley 7, Charles 9, Opinel 6, Moore 8, Hand 7, Long 9, Murray 7, Purcell 8, Ibe 6(Shakes 83). Subs not used: French, Hawkins, Gash, Stone. Att: 286.

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