Primped up, plans for huge redevelopment and maybe on their way to Wembley?
Ebbsfleet brushed aside Braintree to secure a winnable tie against North Ferriby United on Saturday.
New signing Adam Cunnington proved the key as the team formerly known as Gravesend and Northfleet beat mightier opposition in this FA Trophy third round replay.
Cunnington it was who chased a hopeful first half ball down the right channel, held off his marker to play it to the edge of the box where Matt Fish took a potshot, which kippered the Braintree keeper and Danny Kedwell pounced on the rebound to make it 1-0.
That was somewhat against the run of play but Conference side Braintree didn’t turn their possession into goals and only stayed in the contest when Ebbsfleet’s Kiernan had a cross headed off the line.
The Essex boys ramped up their game in the second half and produced a couple of chances but the only way was out after the relentless Cunnington – a noted non-league hotshot with Tamworth and Cambridge United – harried the visiting defender Alan Massey who more or less got the ball caught under his feet late in the game. Mugging completed, Cunnington advanced unchallenged to score the second from inside the box.
He looks the main threat to North Ferriby United this weekend. Four goals in three games tells its own story – tall and strong he was almost impossible to push off the ball and caused all sorts of problems for defenders who weren’t strong or wily enough to outwit him.
Ebbsfleet may be in with a shout of a return to the Conference and everything looks ready for it. Twenty years back this ground was a dismal dump – grey and dilapidated and one of the grumpiest sets of fans I can ever remember.
All surfaces have been emulsioned a bright orange/red since, the place has an Essex TOWIE glow like it’s been put on a sunbed. A stand named after club stalwart and ex-manager Liam Daish is a nice touch. There’s a new concrete terrace, sponsors and, it’s believed, a cash injection, which at non-league level usually leads to a rise in league status.
So perhaps the Fleet have set sail for a repeat of their 2008 Trophy win.