FC Halifax Town suffered a miserable away day to forget as they lost 4-0 at Ebbsfleet.
It was a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show for Halifax, who were sent crashing back down to earth with a bang after the high of their FA Cup first round replay win over Morecambe on Tuesday.
Two goals from Michael Cheek and one apiece for Chris Bush and Danny Kedwell saw Ebbsfleet ease to victory on a day when nothing went right for Town.
The Shaymen went into the game not having conceded in just under five hours, while Ebbsfleet hadn’t scored in five-and-a-half hours.
Just shows how much statistics can tell you sometimes.
Halifax have a rotten record at Ebbsfleet, losing without even scoring a goal on six of their last seven visits.
And it was the same story again here.
Town had contained Ebbsfleet pretty well until the opening goal, restricting them to a Kedwell header that was put wide from near the penalty spot, a Kedwell hook towards goal from a corner, and Jack Payne’s tame effort at goal from the edge of the penalty box.
Front-two Kedwell and Cheek had been lively, supported well by wingers Myles Weston and Corey Whitley, but it had been a scrappy opening to the game in which neither side had really got going.
That was until Cheek appeared to live up to his name by apparently using his elbow to help the ball over the line, although Town will have been disappointed a long-throw was allowed to get through to the striker without a touch from a green shirt.
Town’s best response was Josh Staunton’s ambitious effort from over 30 yards that, in fairness, wasn’t far wide.
The Shaymen just weren’t able to make an impression going forward though. They had been so incisive, creative and fluid on Tuesday, but that kind of play just wasn’t there, with the visitors struggling to impose themselves as an attacking force.
But if Town had reason to feel aggrieved at Ebbsfleet’s first, there was nothing they could so about their second, as Bush produced a terrific free-kick 20 yards out that flashed over the wall and whistled into the top right corner, with Sam Johnson left motionless.
Cheek nearly scored again within a minute but his shot inside the box was deflected over thanks to excellent defending from Matty Brown.
By half-time, Halifax had a lot of work to do to salvage anything from the game, with Ebbsfleet also having gone close when Whitley dragged a shot wide from 18 yards, and when Payne’s shot inside the area was well blocked.
Town, unsurprisingly, were unchanged from the Morecambe win, but the same group of players hadn’t produced the same level of performance.
Any hope of a second-half fightback was extinguished when the hosts were awarded a penalty during a scuffle for the rebound when Johnson saved a well-struck shot from Bush.
Kedwell smashed the ball home from 12 yards.
Cameron King dragged a shot narrowly wide from range after Staunton and Matty Kosylo had shots blocked, but The Shaymen were still yet to test Ebbsfleet keeper Nathan Asmore, and wouldn’t for the whole game.
Cheek should have added a fourth when he raced through on goal and rounded Johnson, but slipped as he was about to apply the finishing touch.
Town’s misery was compounded when substitute Jonathan Edwards was forced off injured 15 minutes from the end, with the game already petering out.
Town’s misery was completed when Cheek nodded in from close range after a free-kick was headed back across goal.
Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, Wilson, King, Winfield, Bush, Weston (Graham 75), Payne, Drury (Adams 68), Whitley, Cheek, Kedwell (Allassani 80). Subs not used: Miles, Coulson.
Scorers: Cheek (24, 90), Bush (41), Kedwell (48)
Shots on target: 10
Shots off target: 7
Halifax: Johnson, Hanson, Clarke, Brown, Sellers, Staunton, Maher, Preston, King (Edwards 60, Odelusi 76), Kosylo, Southwell. Subs not used: Rowley, Duckworth, Skarz.
Shots on target: 0
Shots off target: 8
Referee: Matthew Dicicco
Town man of the match: Jacob Hanson