Monday 21st March 2005

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Fleet bounce back

GRAVESEND & NORTHLEET scored the fasted Conference goal of the day on Saturday and it was just the tonic for Liam Daish's side, which was dumped out of the FA Trophy quarter final by Bishop's Stortford in a dramatic replay four days earlier.

Daish was delighted at how his side bounced back.  He told the Non-League Paper: "We worked extremely hard today.  It was a lively ball and a bumpy pitch.  It wasn't a pretty performance, it was a war of attrition and we won it."

After Andy Drury put the Fleet ahead after only 77 seconds, they sealed the three points, in a 3-2 win, thanks to strikes from Justin Skinner's penalty (33) and a Nathan Bunce header (70).

French signing Cedric Anselin made his Fleet debut on 63 minutes replacing Roy Essandoh.

After Dave Theobald levelled for the Essex side after 13 minutes, Boylan wasted a glorious chance to pull the Gulls level when Steve Burton set him free in the Fleet box, but the hitman squandered the chance.

However, in the last 15 minutes it was the Fleet who created the best chances with crosses from Drury and James Pinnock going begging.

After the heartbreak of the FA Trophy defeat, when the Fleet were undone by last minute goals in both matches, the announcement of four minutes added time was greeted with a nervous reaction from the home fans.

They were right to be concerned as in the 92nd minute Skinner brought down Junior McDougald on the edge of the box and from the free kick, Chris Duffy rolled the ball to Boylan who arrowed it into the net.

"It was all about concentration today," added Daish.  "I told the lads we had to play it like a derby.  We've had a bad week, but now we can enjoy our weekend.  We earned our money today."

Meanwhile, the Bishop's Stortford striker that dumped the Fleet out of last Tuesday's FA Trophy replay at Stonebridge Road insists he wants to finish as the competition's top scorer.

Steve Morison, the 21-year-old former Northampton Town striker, whose now scored 9 goals in the FA Trophy this season, told the Non-League Paper: "I want to finish as top scorer in the competition and I certainly hope I can get a few more in the semi-finals against Hucknall Town.

"We have already beaten three Conference sides and I don't see why we can't go all the way."

Morison was also quick to praise the man who has masterminded Stortford's Trophy's run this season.  He added: "Martin Hayes is a fantastic manager because he is really calm, which is just what you need as a player in big cup games like these.

"As a former striker himself, he really helped me to improve my game as well as showing great faith in me.

"Before the match against Gravesend I had played poorly in the four previous games, but he stuck by me when other managers might have dropped me.  It proved to be the right decision because I came good by scoring the winner."


Northwich Victoria v Gravesend & Northfleet    Gravesend & Northfleet v Forest Green Rovers
Nationwide Conference                                     Nationwide Conference
Good Friday, 25 March 2005                              Monday 28 March 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm                                                 Kick Off 3:00pm
                                                                         at Stonebridge Road, Northfleet