Fleet emerge unscathed from frenetic clash
PUBLISHED: 12:23 04 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:04 23 August 2010
EBBSFLEET United fought back from an interval deficit to earn a creditable draw with Cambridge in the Blue Square Premier on Tuesday night. Boss Liam Daish made one change to the starting XI that began Saturday s stalemate against Oxford with Jamie Hand
EBBSFLEET United fought back from an interval deficit to earn a creditable draw with Cambridge in the Blue Square Premier on Tuesday night.
Boss Liam Daish made one change to the starting XI that began Saturday's stalemate against Oxford with Jamie Hand coming in for Craig Stone, who took his place among the Fleet substitutes. The other changes involved the hosts' bench warmers as Dean Pooley and Ricky Shakes replaced Peter Hawkins and Kwesi Appiah.
Both sides attempted to attack at every available opportunity in a well-contested first half, yet neither goalkeeper was called into action for most of the 45 minutes.
The frenetic, end-to-end football was unrelenting as Ebbsfleet and Oxford traded forays forward, though with little goalmouth incidents of note, it appeared the teams would go in deadlocked at 0-0.
However, the match sparked to life just before the half-time whistle. Hand sent a curling, deflected drive inches wide of Danny Potter's far post and Wayne Hatswell almost inadvertently headed Michael Gash's nod-back past his own keeper, who made a smart save close to the base of the woodwork.
It was Cambridge though who went ahead deep into injury-time after poor Fleet defending. Robbie Willmott's corner was allowed to scoot through a cluster of red shirts for striker Lee McEvilly to lash home at the far post.
The visitors could have extended their advantage immediately after the restart, but Mark Beesley's diagonal shot lacked sufficient purchase to go beyond a sprawling Lance Cronin.
Ebbsfleet drew level on 52 minutes as a couple of daintily lofted backheels eventually fell for Neil Barrett inside the area. He skipped past an onrushing Potter and cut back from the byeline for Moore to slide home from close-range.
A more-advanced Barrett and Gash then did their utmost to muster a winner, while a great rearguard action from Cronin and his back four consistently thwarted Cambridge's dangerous duo, Beesley and McEvilly.
The final act of this progressively-better encounter saw Rory McAuley receive a straight red card for a late lunge on Sacha Opinel from referee John Hopkins, who had hardly endeared himself to the crowd by already brandishing eight needless yellows.
Ebbsfleet United: Cronin 7, Ricketts 8, McCarthy 8, Charles 6, Opinel 6, Purcell 6 (Ibe 85), Hand 8, Barrett 8, Long 7, Gash 7, Moore 8. Subs not used: Mott, Stone, Pooley, Shakes. Att: 1,832.