When last these clubs met it was all about four sendings-off but Matt Godden’s magnificent performance made this one all about his four goals, consecutive strikes that saw him soar past the 40-goal mark for the club.
Fleet made four changes, with Bryan van den Bogaert replacing Joe Howe, while John Paul Kissock, Tom Bonner and Sean Shields came in for Dean Rance, Anthony Acheampong and Aaron McLean.
Fleet were soon into top gear on a wide pitch that suited the football they were playing, with Shields and Jordan Parkes in particular the pick of the bunch, making the visitors’ midfield tick and putting the home side on the back foot immediately. It only took Matt Godden four minutes to trouble the defence as he sprung the back line but Darren Purse was first to the bouncing ball as it moved towards goal.
Godden wasn’t to be denied, however, and three minutes later Fleet were ahead. Defender Adetayo Osifuwa made to clear a ball forward but succeeded only in looping it across his own penalty box and Manny Monthe could only head it as far as Godden who managed to keep his marker at bay and fired low the wrong side of the goalkeeper for 1-0.
The visitors kept the pressure up for the remainder of the half but couldn’t extend their lead. On 12 minutes, Shields delivered a perfect ball into Danny Kedwell’s feet eight yards out but the Fleet No.9 got in a tangle and couldn’t divert the pass goalwards. The yellow shirts were playing some excellent football and some of Parkes’ one-touch lay-offs to the flanks were a joy to behold.
The midfielder started an excellent move that saw Kedwell again well placed inside the box but he squared a pass to Godden when he might have been better off shooting. Shields had another effort on the half hour from the right wing that floated just over before Godden’s flick found Kedwell who in turn back-heeled it into van den Bogaert’s path before Parkes fired narrowly wide.
A Parkes corner was the next line of supply for the Fleet and Godden flicked that into the six-yard box where Purse just managed to clear from under Shields’ nose. The home side had been restricted to very little and other than Purse’s header and a cross that Ashmore didn’t quite gather, the Fleet were untroubled.
They duly scored a deserved second in added-on time in the first half. Shields battled well to win the ball and his pass reached Godden wide on the right. The Fleet’s top scorer controlled the ball, cut inside and unleashed a rasping half-volley that cannoned off the upright and fell the right side of the line to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Hayes were sent out early in the second half but it didn’t do them much good. Fleet, kicking down the slope, almost made it three when van den Bogaert sent a ball into the middle and Stuart Lewis got a header away that seemed to be cleared by a Hayes arm but the referee waved play on. Kedwell tested James Hamon with a turn and shot and Godden’s effort was parried into the danger zone but there was no Fleet attacker on it.
From that came the home side’s best chance and Max Worsfold raced upfield on the break, striking an excellent shot that would have beaten a smaller goalkeeper but Ashmore just grabbed it at full stretch.
From that point, Fleet took full control. Lewis broke through the rearguard, got beyond the goalkeeper and crossed low into the six-yard box but a defender was there ahead of Kedwell. But on 68 minutes it was 3-0 – Sean Cronin’s attempted clearance smacked off Godden who intercepted, nodded the ball down to his feet and kept his cool to go past Hamon and convert low into the goal.
Six minutes later it was 4-0 as van den Bogaert broke down the left, speeding forward and though his deep diagonal cross looked a touch optimistic, it reached Godden who thundered it past Hamon with all the confident air of a striker on form.
Four minutes from time, Fleet wrapped up their fifth. Picking apart the Hayes defence, Lewis had an effort blocked which spun into Shields’ path and he diverted it across towards substitute Charlie Sheringham who was able to finish from close range to leave the relegation-haunted home side well and truly deflated.
Sutton and Maidstone play each other in midweek but if Fleet can replicate this sort of performance in their remaining three games, there’s every chance supporters won’t need to look over their shoulders at other clubs’ results.
HYUFC: Hamon, Osifuwa, Worsfold, Monthe (Brown 49), Purse, Cronin, Murombedzi (Collins 63), Everitt (Lodge 83), Benyon, Durojaiye, Harper. Subs not used: Ehui, Kearney
EUFC: Ashmore, Fish, Van den Bogaert, Lewis, Clark, Bonner, Kissock (Rance 81), Parkes (Cook 83), Kedwell, Godden (Sheringham 83), Shields. Subs not used: Miles, McLean