Tuesday 31st August 2004
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Louis stars as Fleet join pacesetters

GRAVESEND & Northfleet have climbed to third place in the Nationwide Conference after taking six points during a free-scoring Bank Holiday weekend that saw them hit nine goals in two games.

On Saturday Jefferson Louis who signed on loan from League Two side Oxford United last week, enjoyed a superb scoring debut against York City in a 4-0 rout.

In a sparkling performance Louis played a big part in the first goal in the 29th minute as his knock-on was picked up by Manny Omoyinmi, who beat the keeper and lobbed home into the empty net.

Louis then scored a goal all of his own making, after out-pacing the City defence and slotting the ball past Paul Crichton.

York did have a few chances - Andy Bishop and Paul Robinson both going close, but the strike pair were starved of opportunities as their midfield were forced to concentrate on defending.

Despite making a host of tactical and personnel changes in the second half, City still had little joy and Fleet made the game safe in the 52nd minute.

City's Chris Clarke tugged Chris Moore in the penalty area, and even though it took two attempts, Justin Skinner made it 3-0 from the spot.

The day got even worse for City, and in particular skipper Steve Davis, when he deftly headed a searching Moussa Sidibe cross into his own net.

Fleet boss Andy Ford said: "I did not expect to use Louis quite so quickly as Manny Omoyinmi and Roy Essandoh have been doing so well for us. But Roy got stuck in traffic on the M25 so Louis was an ideal replacement and he took his chance well."

After Monday's 5-1 win away at Forest Green, Ford said: "I'm pleased with our attacking, the players are scoring on a very regular basis.

"The only negative from the game was centre half Graham Porter picked up a calf strain, which makes him a doubt for Saturday's home game against Stevenage."

Fleet took the lead against Forest Green after 28 minutes through Andy Drury's drive and six minutes later had doubled their tally through a Justin Skinner penalty.

Forest Green cut the arrears in the second half through Mark Beesley, but G's dominance was reflected by Roy Essandoh's 60th-minute strike, Drury's second of the game five minutes later and a last-minute effort from Louis.

Gravesend v York: Wilkerson, Gledhill (Sidibe 58 mins), Skinner, Porter, Moore, Drury (Protheroe 58 mins), McKimm, Surey, Saunders, Louis (Essandoh 72 mins), Omoyinmi.

Gravesend v Forest Green: Wilkerson, Protheroe, Porter (Gledhill 76 mins), Moore, Skinner, Drury, McKimm, Surey, Saunders, Omoyinmi (Louis 73 mins), Essandoh.