MATCH REPORT: Much-improved Weston-super-Mare slip to defeat against Ebbsfleet United
PUBLISHED: 18:02 08 October 2016 | UPDATED: 18:02 08 October 2016
Weston-super-Mare's head coach, Scott Bartlett, was unable to get off to his dream start as high-flying Ebbsfleet United ran out 2-0 winners at The Woodspring Stadium today (Saturday).
Weston 0 Ebbsfleet 2
Ahead of the game, Bartlett signed a contract which will keep him in charge of Weston until the end of the 2017/2018 season and he told the Mercury he sees ‘no reason’ why they cannot over achieve and push for play-offs next season.
But it was in-form Ebbsfleet who showed why they are promotion contenders when they took the lead after six minutes.
Weston failed to clear their lines and Danny Kedwell’s solo run was followed by an emphatic finish from just inside the box.
But Weston’s heads did not drop after the early blow and Bradley Ash – who is yet to find the net since his return on-loan from Barnsley – almost brought the Seagulls level soon after.
Purnell, Withey, Williams (Cane 66), Kington, Pope, Fortune ©, McClennan, Ingram, Ash, Grubb, Mullings (Simpson 66)
Subs not used: Richards, Meechan, Powell
He sprinted forward on the right flank and gave Nathan Ashmore a scare in the visitors’ goal. Ashmore failed to beat Ash to the ball but his final shot sailed wide of the post.
Ash was causing the visitors all sorts of problems and forced a corner after he put pressure on Ashmore again. But the height and strength of the Ebbsfleet defence proved far superior and they easily cleared.
As the half hour mark approached Weston started to enjoy an extended spell of possession with Joe McClennan at the heart of the attack. His neat footwork gave him some space in the middle before he set up Jordan Williams for a perfect opportunity to cross the ball into the box.
But Williams’ ball in was poor and gave Ebbsfleet time to clear with ease.
Ashmore, Cook, Connors, Phillips, Winfield, McCoy, Lewis (Sheringham 92), Deering (Rance 60), Kedwell, McQueen (Bubb 78), Powell
Subs not used: Miles, Boulding
Weston’s best chance of the half then fell to Williams in what was a remarkable miss.
Dayle Grubb broke free of the defence and slid the ball to Williams. The ball only needed the slightest of touches and it was in the back of the net. But somehow his shot sailed way over the bar and Ebbsfleet kept their lead intact.
Luke Purnell then proceeded to make two quick-fire saves as the visitors looked to take advantage of the gaps Weston were leaving at the back.
But the Seagulls defence managed to hold firm and ensured there was only a one-goal deficit at the break.
Weston came out with plenty of endeavour in the second half with Joe McClennan again testing Ashmore early-on.
But the vistors’ class then showed and four minutes in the Seagulls had an even bigger mountain to climb.
Darren McQueen – who had been a handful all match – went on a great run after a brilliant through-ball from Sam Deering. His speed and power saw him hold off any pressure and he hammered home to double his side’s advantage.
There was then a very bizarre few minutes as Ashmore was penalised for a pass back, which no-one else in the stadium saw.
The players looked even more bemused when the referee kept delaying the indirect free-kick as the Ebsfleet wall moved too quickly.
But the Seagulls still couldn’t score and Ashmore gathered the ball well.
Weston continued to push throughout the rest of the half with both Grubb and McClennan going close.
As the match came to a close, it became more and more clear the home side were unlikely to find the back of the net but their performance was a lot better than in recent weeks.
"It was almost what I expected, there were lots and lots of positives and some areas we need to work on. "
Weston now travel to East Thurrock United on October 15 in search of a first three points under the new boss.