Matt Godden continued his blistering streak of form with another two strikes as Fleet’s early blitz of goals rocked a Molesey side who, after the initial setback, gave as good as they got in the second half.
Daryl McMahon went for a 3-5-2 formation for the second week, though this time by choice, as Anthony Acheampong kept his place in a back three, with Matt Fish making way as Danny Haynes earned a recall. It was a stronger line-up than perhaps anticipated while Molesey started without two of their three top scorers, neither Staf Palmer or the suspended James McShane named in the squad.
And the Ryman League side were caught like rabbits in the headlights early on as Fleet threatened a cricket score with three goals in eight minutes. Danny Haynes had caused problems with his speed and running from the word go and on four minutes he slipped a great through ball into Godden’s path, allowing the Fleet’s top scorer to zip forward and stroke the ball past Luke Allan to give Molesey the worst possible start.
It got even worse for the visitors four minutes later. Haynes again launched an attack and sent in a cross for Godden who got a touch that Allan parried. It ran clear to Danny Kedwell at the far post and he made space for himself, firing a low shot home as the defenders floundered.
Another four-minute interval passed before Molesey must have hoped the final whistle would end their torment as Godden made it 3-0. This time Kedwell supplied the defence-splitting ball and Godden rounded the goalkeeper before burying a shot from an angle.
The home supporters wondered how many more their team might rattle up, with the visitors looking vulnerable to every attack as they chased shadows, the midfield of Dean Rance, John Paul Kissock, Stuart Lewis and Jordan Parkes free to roam forwards.
But all credit to Molesey who dug in and managed to get the ball forwards on occasion. They were unfortunate not to reduce the arrears on 26 minutes when a free-kick was cleared to Dre Grobler and he struck the bar. Immediately, Fleet had a golden opportunity for a fourth as Godden fired just wide from a similar position to his first two goals.
And looking for a second successive hat-trick, the Fleet No.10 almost had it a minute later when he was through on goal once more but this time Allan got down well to gather the ball at his feet. Allan was the saviour once more on 35 minutes, getting in the way of Godden’s effort and as the ball spun out to Acheampong, he took a swing at the ball only to find the goalkeeper again in the way.
With Haynes and Parkes having swapped wings, the former was as effective and shortly before half-time he burst through the Moles midfield and fired off a decent shot from 30 yards, though was caught by a tackle in the process that led to him failing to reappear for the second half.
After the efforts of the first half, it was perhaps little surprise that Fleet contented themselves with the scoreline and eased off in the second period. But Molesey quickly sensed an opportunity and their front pairing of Reis Stanislaus and James Cottee began to stretch the Fleet back line. Osborn teed Godden up for a chance early on in the second half, and on the hour Godden laid a ball off for Parkes when he might have been better advised to go for goal, Parkes missing the target.
But there was little else for the home fans to cheer and with their attack blunted, a little frustration crept in. And Molesey took full advantage when they were gift-wrapped a goal – Hall scuffed a routine clearance and Stanislaus was straight on to it, firing it low into the empty net for 3-1.
The visitors almost found an unlikely route back into the game minutes later when the impressive Rob Sheridan forced the ball over the line from a corner as Hall couldn’t gather, but fortunately for the Fleet – and something of a mystery for the Molesey players – it was disallowed. Cottee then fired over from a good position as Molesey were able to play something of a passing game.
But Fleet woke up from their slumbers on 74 minutes and Osborn forced Allan into a good stop by his near post before reimposing their three-goal cushion two minutes later. It was substitute Michael West who grabbed it, rifling a shot past Allan from the left edge of the box and that killed the visitors off.
Kedwell, who had played deep for much of the second half, was finding an excellent range of passing and three or four times he delivered inviting crossfield passes that his teammates couldn’t quite convert into shots on target. Fleet could have added to their total in the closing stages, especially when neat footwork from substitute Charlie Sheringham set West free but his shot was wide. West then produced a clever lob for Parkes to run onto but his effort was high while Kedwell was the picture of frustration when another excellent pass from him was missed by Osborn.
EUFC: Hall, Acheampong, Parkes, Lewis (West 62), Clark, Bonner, Rance, Kissock, Kedwell, Godden (Sheringham 74), Haynes (Osborn 46). Subs not used: Miles, Fish.
MFC: Allan, Chalke, Elliott, Lewington, O Robinson, Sheridan, T Windsor, S Robinson, Stanislaus (Ofori 89), Cottee (Charles 80), Grobler (Ngoy 83). Subs not used: Reynolds, Rodney.