Published: 16:45, 20 January 2018 |
Updated: 14:45, 23 January 2018
Ebbsfleet earned an excellent draw at title-chasing Aldershot on Saturday.
Gary Waddock's Shots are second in the National League and playing some good football this season but Fleet matched them all the way at The Rec and had chances to win the game themselves.
This was a good response from the visitors after crashing out of the FA Trophy in midweek.
There were always going to be changes after that humbling at Warrington and boss Daryl McMahon made four. In came Marvin McCoy at right-back, Chris Bush at centre-half and Luke Coulson wide on the left while Jack Powell was chosen to play off Danny Kedwell up front. Lawrie Wilson stepped forward from full-back to the wing.
On-loan Portsmouth striker Nicke Kabamba made his home debut for the Shots, having scored the winner at Dover in their previous outing two weeks earlier. There was a recall for ex-Maidstone winger Bobby-Joe Taylor while striker Scott Rendell dropped to the bench.
Aldershot never got going in the first half, which was credit to Ebbsfleet's defensive solidity. The visitors quickly quietened the home crowd and created the best openings.
Dave Winfield, making his 50th start for the club, glanced a header wide from McCoy's long throw before Jim Kellermann fired wastefully wide at the other end when Shots found themselves three-on-three just outside the penalty area.
The home fans grew increasingly frustrated as the half wore on.
Kedwell won possession high up the field but Coulson's pass forced Andy Drury too wide and his dinked cross was easily gathered by goalkeeper Lewis Ward.
Kedwell should possibly have scored moments later. Coulson squared from the left and the ball bounced off Kedwell, who seemed surprised it had reached him in the heart of the penalty area.
Powell's powerful shot from the right forced Ward to concede a corner, from which Bush hedaed over.
Gradually the hosts began to assert themselves, with Manny Oyeleke starting to dictate play centrally. His shot from outside the box forced an awkward-looking save from Nathan Ashmore, who blocked the ball with his legs before Bush cleared to safety.
Fleet, though, ended the half on top. Coulson almost got on the end of Drury's right-wing cross and then sprinted 50 yards before being dispossessed by Shots captain Will Evans.
Seconds before the whistle, Winfield got a touch to Powell's whipped free-kick from the left but Ward saved to keep the scoresheet blank.
Oyeleke gifted possession to Coulson within two minutes of the restart but his shot from the left lacked power and Ward got right behind it.
At the other end, Kellermann's glorious cross from the left evaded everyone in the middle but Ward then had to rush out and save at Drury's feet after he'd played a one-two with Powell which had sent him running clear in the box.
The game started to open up. Coulson ran onto Powell's fine pass and shot wide before Kellerman blazed a shot past the post for Aldershot. Kabamba's first effort of the afternoon was well saved by Ashmore and the rebound was turned wide from a couple of yards although the offside flag was up.
Ebbsfleet were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position when Coulson was hauled down but Powell's set-piece was straight down Ward's throat.
Kedwell had the ball in the net after latching onto Powell's through-ball but he was flagged offside. Winfield then had a swing and a miss when the home side failed to clear another long throw from McCoy.
Aldershot pushed hard for a late winner but shots from substitutes James Rowe and Matt McClure few wide as the men in yellow stood firm.
Aldershot: Ward, Alexander, Evans, Fenelon (Rowe 76mins), Oyeleke, Kabamba (Rendell 76mins), Gallagher (McClure 46mins), Kellermann, Kinsella, Fowler, Taylor. Subs not used: Cole, Rendell, Rowe.
Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, McCoy, Winfield, Bush, Magri, Wilson (Weston 78mins), Payne, Drury, Coulson, Powell, Kedwell (Bubb 87mins). Subs not used: Rance, Shields, Jordan.
Attendance: 2,457 (176 away).
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