Former Claret Kenny Clark powered home a header after just ten minutes following a corner kick routine before Billy Bricknell tucked away a penalty after some tugging in the area.
City debutant Jaanai Gordon then halved the deficit before the interval, but Fleet skipper Daryl McMahon curled home an outstanding free-kick to restore their two goal advantage.
And, in an attempt to gain at least a point from the festive encounter, City were caught out with too many men up the pitch. Keeper Bradley Watkins let a ball slip and was caught out when Sean Shields lofted a ball into the empty net behind him.
Billy Bricknell then added a fifth to flatten the Fleet, tucking away a Watkins save as the Clarets’ three game unbeaten home run came to an abrupt end.
City manager Mark Hawkes handed three debuts following last week’s disappointing defeat at Hayes & Yeading, a result that subsequently brought to an end the Clarets’ three match unbeaten league run. Harry Hickford – who played for Chelmsford back in April – was straight into the starting eleven, lining up alongside former Ebbsfleet centre-back Yado Mambo. Michael Toner made his first start for the club, coming in for Leon Redwood, while Jaanai Gordon – on loan from West Ham United – replaced the departed Jason Williams who returned to parent club Southend United earlier this week.
The Fleet, under the management of Jamie Day after his appointment just a couple of weeks ago, started impressively and had a goal disallowed when Billy Bricknell’s shot on the turn hit the back of the net, only for the linesman’s flag to be raised.
But the Clarets were not to be alarmed by the Fleet’s decisive manner and came close themselves when Rohdell Gordon kept in Michael Cheek’s flick-on. The Stevenage loanee then sent in a teasing cross that was headed onto the bar by Harry Hickford as he flew forward.
Fleet survived the attacking onslaught by the Clarets, although it was brief in its nature, and broke the deadlock after just ten minutes. Two former Clarets were involved in the goal as Anthony Cook’s corner was powered home by Kenny Clark.
Cook then almost doubled the lead with an effort that was worthy of a goal. The tricky winger controlled a cross from the right with his chest before connecting cleanly with an acrobatic overhead kick. The City keeper was equal to his effort however, tipping it around the post, and the home side cleared.
Ebbsfleet opened the City defence up once more when Billy Bricknell, another player returning to Melbourne Stadium, was denied by fine save from Bradley Watkins at his near post
And Kenny Clark almost doubled his tally for the afternoon when he met the resultant corner, only to be denied by Rohdell Gordon who fulfilled his defensive duties admirably and headed off the line.
Then came arguably the best chance of the match when Joe Ward – who had a close-range shot saved moments before – watched as his cross was poorly dealt with by Shane Huke. The ball then fell to Yado Mambo in the area and the centre-back took a swipe at the chilly fresh air and landed on his back as the chance evaporated, leaving the management team frustrated.
And that chance was to prove costly when Ebbsfleet doubled their lead with nine minutes of the first-half remaining. A combination of Yado Mambo and Harry Hickford was guilty of pushing in the box as Daryl McMahon whipped in a corner, and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Billy Bricknell, who made no mistake in smashing it home past Bradley Watkins to double the Fleet’s lead.
Debutant Jaanai Gordon, on a month’s loan from West Ham United, was unlucky when his header at the back post flew over, but made no mistake a moment later when he found space inside the area to head home Rohdell Gordon’s cross as the Clarets were rewarded for their attacking intent.
Ebbsfleet, and credit to them, looked to restore their two goal advantage before the break and came mightily close when skipper Daryl McMahon curled his shot against an upright. Matt Godden then followed up, tapping home into the empty net, but was denied by the offside flag.
The second-half was a fiery affair with tackles flying in from all areas, but it was Ebbsfleet who regained the lead ten minutes into the second-half. Daryl McMahon used a free-kick around three minutes early as a dress rehearsal for what was about to follow. The first effort was disappointing – Bradley Watkins comfortably collected the effort – while the one that followed was majestic. Cook won a free-kick around 25-yard from goal and the Fleet skipper stepped up to curl a beautiful strike right into the top corner and beyond the reach of the City shot stopper.
Michael Cheek then stabbed wide following some outstanding wing-play from Rob Girdletone as City looked to get their foot back in the game.
But where City came undone throughout the afternoon as from set-pieces. Despite Kenny Clark’s opening goal, the Clarets failed to pick him up for the third time as his free header was planted into the arms of Bradley Watkins.
And Watkins was at fault for the Fleet’s fourth when he failed to get hold of a loose ball, allowing substitute Sean Shields to lob home from the wing and into an empty net to further add salt into the Claret wounds.
Billy Bricknell added a fifth when sub Brendan Kiernon strolled into the box unopposed before seeing his shot parried into the patch of the former Billericay Town man who tucked home from close-range to conclude a comfortable Boxing Day afternoon for the visitors.
1. Bradley Watkins
2. Rob Girdlestone
3. Michael Toner
4. Mark Hughes (C)
5. Harry Hickford
6. Yado Mambo
7. Lee Sawyer
8. Joe Ward
9. Jaanai Gordon
10. Michael Cheek
11. Rohdell Gordon
12. Leon Redwood
14. Nicky Nicolau (On for Lee Sawyer, 79)
15. Christian Smith (On for Rohdell Gordon, 69)
16. Marvin Ekpiteta
19. Niklas Freund (GK)
1. Brandon Hall
2. Shane Huke
3. Joe Howe
4. Matt Johnson
5. Anthony Acheampong
6. Kenny Clark
7. Tyrone Marsh
8. Daryl McMahon
9. Billy Bricknell
10. Matt Godden
11. Anthony Cook
12. Alex Osborn (Tyrone Marsh, 77)
13. Jamie Turner (GK)
14. Brendon Kieron (On for Anthony Cook, 60)
15. Dean Pooley
16. Sean Shields (On for Matt Godden, 63)
Referee: Mr Ashvin Degnarain (London)
Assistant referees: Mr Stuart Franklin and Mr Rick Bloy
Bookings: Chelmsford City: Rohdell Gordon (51, simulation),
Ebbsfleet United: Anthony Cook (57, foul)
Scorers: Chelmsford City: Jaanai Gordon (40)
Ebbsfleet United: Kenny Clark (10), Billy Bricknell (36 (pen), 76), Daryl McMahon (55), Sean Shields (71)
HT Score: 1-2
City Man of the Match: Rob Girdlestone