Ebbsfleet 1-4 FC Halifax Town

FC Halifax Town
FC Halifax Town

The Pete Wild era got off to the perfect start as FC Halifax Town beat 10-man Ebbsfleet 4-1 in very encouraging fashion.

Moments after Ebbsfleet skipper Jack King was sent-off, Cameron King put Town in-front, although that was cancelled out by John Goddard a few minutes before the interval.

But second-half efforts from Niall Maher, debutant Jack Earing and a free-kick from inside his own half by Nathan Clarke, yes Nathan Clarke, earned Town all three points, and only their second win at Ebbsfleet in nine attempts.

Half of Town's matchday squad was made up of new signings, with Tobi Sho-Silva, Jeff King, Jerome Binnom-Williams and Danny WIlliams in from the start.

Ebbsfleet began quickly, with former Halifax target Gozie Ugwu squandering a chance six yards out when he awkwardly fired over on the turn.

But the pattern of the game changed completely when Ebbsfleet captain Jack King was dismissed for a professional foul on Tobi Sho-Silva after Cameron King had won possession on halfway and played in the Town striker.

Danny Williams' subsequent free-kick was saved by Nathan Ashmore, but the hosts failed to recover from King's red card as Town assumed superiority.

Cameron King was given a massive helping hand when his speculative shot from 25 yards was inexplicably spilled into his own net by Ashmore.

11 minutes in, 1-0 up and a man up. What a start for Pete Wild.

Ugwu fired narrowly over after winning a high ball from Matty Brown, who recovered from a dead leg to start, but other than that it was all Halifax.

Cameron King chipped the ball just wide after a poor clearance by Ashmore, while Josh Staunton headed Danny Williams's free-kick narrowly over.

All three Kings had an influence on proceedings, but in different ways, with Jeff King provoking the ire of the home supporters after a spat with left-back Aswad Thomas, and then getting involved in another coming together that drew the attention of most of the 21 on the pitch.

Sho-Silva's shot was saved after again being played in by Cameron King, and Jeff King's shot was kept out from range.

Town were cruising towards half-time, enjoying all the possession they could wish for, until Ebbsfleet equalised out of nothing when the ball fell to Goddard after a lofted pass into the box, and he swept the ball across the previously untested Sam Johnson into the far corner from 15 yards.

King then unsuccessfully tried an audacious lob when Ashmore was off his line just before half-time, but the fact he tried it emphasised the confidence flowing through him.

King was taken off before the hour mark here last season as The Shaymen were drubbed 4-0, but Town's number 10 had been the conduit to everything that was good about The Shaymen, winning possession high up the pitch, always in space to receive the ball and repeatedly picking out the right pass.

Ebbsfleet were playing on the counter-attack as Town dominated possession, but couldn't find a way through the hosts' defence.

Assistant manager Chris Millington urged The Shaymen to "keep it moving" as Halifax kept the ball, but didn't test Ashmore with any attempts.

The pace of the game had dropped by the hour mark, with neither team playing with the urgency or intensity needed, as the ball changed hands too often between the two sides.

But two goals in three minutes blew Ebbsfleet out of the water as Town found their touch.

First Maher struck a thunderbolt from the edge of the box that flew past Ashmore at his near post.

And then after Cameron King had set substitute Jamie Allen away with a delightful pass, his cross found fellow sub Earing, who lifted the ball over the prone Ashmore after his first effort was blocked.

Game over.

Johnson reacted brilliantly to keep out James Ball's low shot that was heading to the bottom corner, and then to palm behind the loose ball.

But Halifax saw the game out comfortably and confidently.

And as their day got better, Ashmore's got worse when in added time, Clarke scored an incredible fourth when his free-kick caught the Fleet keeper off his line from inside his own half, with Halifax scoring three goals or more away from home in the league for the first time since March 2018.

Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, Jack King, Obileye, Grimes, Thomas, Lawless (Egan 79), Wilson (Umerah 73), Ball, Goddard, Weston (Shields 75), Ugwu. Subs not used: Palmer, Achuba.

Scorer: Goddard (39)

Shots on target: 2

Shots off target: 4
Corners: 4

Halifax: Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Brown, Binnom-Williams, Staunton, Maher, Jeff King (Allen 65), Cameron King, Williams (Earing 69), Sho-Silva (Odelusi 75). Subs not used: Appleyard, Nolan.

Scorers: Cameron King (11), Maher (70), Earing (72), Clarke (90)

Shots on target: 8

Shots off target: 8
Corners: 7

Attendance: 1,091

Referee: Matthew Russell

Town man of the match: Cameron King