Struggling Ebbsfleet stun Latics

Reporter: Mark Rooney
Date published: 23 November 2023

Latics were brought down to earth with a shock 4-1 loss at home to third-bottom Ebbsfleet.

Micky Mellon's Latics conceded an early goal to the visitors and then, having equalised, conceded a further three in quick succession in the last 15 minutes of the match.

The hosts went into this game following two impressive away wins on the bounce at Woking and Barnet in the last seven days.

So, it was little surprise that manager Mellon named an unchanged side looking to build on this.

They were rocked as early as 10 minutes gone when the visitors took the lead when some neat low passing in the box found Greg Cundle on the edge of the six-yard box and he calmly slotted home.

The rest of the first half was a fairly even affair.

James Norwood had a great chance to equalise on 34 minutes when Devarn Green’s right-wing cross found the striker in space- his first effort was well saved by Ebbsfleet keeper Mark Cousins who then managed to scramble away Norwood’s follow up shot – impressive double saves.

Though Nathan Sheron blasted over on 38 minutes from 20 yards, the away side kept their lead at the break.

Kurt Willoughby replaced Dan Gardner at half time and Hallam Hope and Liam Hogan replaced Mike Fondop and Kieron Freeman respectively on the hour mark as Mellon looked to freshen things up.

Latics equalised on 70th minute when as Hope fired goalwards they gained a penalty on account of handball in the Ebbsfleet defence.

From the spot kick, Norwood sent the keeper the wrong way and into the roof of the net for his 11th goal of the season and his fourth in three games.

At this point optimism was high amongst the home fans that Latics could now press for a winner to keep up their impressive run.

Sadly, the opposite was to become true when Ebbsfleet regained the lead on 82 minutes as a cutting through ball saw former Latics striker Dominic Poleon clean through and with only Hudson to beat - he finished with aplomb.

For chairman Frank Rothwell, who before the game had spoken to the 6,425 faithful ahead of missing the next few months rowing across the Atlantic, this certainly took the wind out of his sails, the players, and those of fellow supporters.

Matters got worse when Ebbsfleet made it 3-1 after 87 minutes when another low cross found Nathan

Odokonvero, who had only just come on as a substitute, made no mistake.

To finish off a miserable afternoon for Latics in the fifth minute of added time the visitors made it 4-1 when a tremendous run by Dominic Samuel saw him fire past a hapless Matt Hudson.

Latics have a chance to improve on their dismal home form next Saturday - boss Mellon still hasn't won a game at headquarters - when they host Boreham Wood at Boundary Park.

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