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Off the pace at the races

PUBLISHED: 18:16 17 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:07 23 August 2010

A DETERMINED Ebbsfleet United pushed hosts Wrexham all the way at the Racecourse Ground on Saturday, but fell just short of securing anything from the match in the end. The result means the Fleet s six-game unbeaten run, which lasted just a day over a m

A DETERMINED Ebbsfleet United pushed hosts Wrexham all the way at the Racecourse Ground on Saturday, but fell just short of securing anything from the match in the end.

The result means the Fleet's six-game unbeaten run, which lasted just a day over a month, also came to an abrupt halt leaving them mired in the bottom half of the table.

Liam Daish's side looked the more adventurous in the scrappy opening exchanges and ensured that Gavin Ward in the Dragon's goal was the busier of the two keepers.

However, the Stonebridge Road outfit were fortunate to remain on level terms when Levi Mackin was denied by the woodwork after his powerful drive had beaten Lance Cronin.

Despite this let-off, the visitors took a deserved lead in the 27th minute when Neil Barrett, arriving at the back post, headed home a flicked-on Stacy Long corner with a diving finish.

This spurred the Welsh outfit into action and they began to pressurise the Fleet's rearguard. Darius Charles, in particular, proved adept at breaking up Wrexham's regular forays into Fleet territory but, after a failed penalty shout had signalled their intent, a moment's hesitation proved decisive for the Robins.

Awarded a free kick deep inside Ebbsfleet's half, Wrexham made the most of a motionless defence and Jefferson Louis reacted quickest to Tom Kearney's quick play of the dead ball to fire a deflected shot through a mass of bodies that left Cronin clutching at thin air.

Barrett had a glimpse of a chance just before half-time from 10 yards that he squandered, although it was the Fleet who were happier to retreat to the safety of the dressing room.

They got a little light relief on their return with Ricky Shakes stinging the hands of veteran Ward, yet found themselves trailing in the 51st minute when Louis headed home his second.

Long went close as the match became increasingly disjointed before Simon Brown extended Wrexham's lead from the penalty spot after Charles had felled him in the area.

The introduction of Danny Slatter for his first competitive action in 12 months brought a smile to the travelling band of supporters, but at two goals down and with little chance of taking anything meaningful from the game, Fleet could have been forgiven for letting their heads drop. However, they soldiered on and were unfortunate that Michael Gash's goal came at a stage where it could only count as a consolation.

Ebbsfleet United: Cronin, Ricketts, Smith, Charles, Opinel (Slatter 81), Long, Hand, Barrett, Shakes (Ibe 55), Gash, Moore. Subs not used: Stone, Pooley, Mott. Att: 3,132.

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