Published: 16:45, 13 January 2018 |
Updated: 18:03, 13 January 2018
Ebbsfleet got out of jail in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
They were poor all over the pitch against lower-league Warrington, who took the lead seven minutes from time through substitute Gerard Kinsella.
But three minutes into stoppage-time Sean Shields grabbed a dramatic equaliser to force a replay on Tuesday night.
Kenny Clark missed the game after injuring his knee in training, so Chris Bush partnered Dave Winfield at centre-half. There were two other changes to the team which won at Maidstone with Dean Rance and Myles Weston preferred to Andy Drury and Jack Payne in midfield.
Warrington were forced into a late change when goalkeeper Anthony McMillan injured his calf in the warm-up. Ben Ascroft stepped in for the visitors, who are third in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
But there was no evident difference in quality during a first half in which Fleet were sloppy, sluggish and well below their best.
Warrington, by contrast, were bright and inventive early on. Jamie McDonald's clever flick left Bush standing and goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore had to deal with his low cross.
William Hayhurst swirled a free-kick wide for the Yellows before Ebbsfleet went close twice in a minute.
Danny Kedwell glanced a header just wide from Myles Weston's free-kick and Weston then picked out Coulson in the middle but he couldn't keep his header down.
Ascroft dived to his right to keep out a snapshot from Kedwell but the home side's passing was so wasteful at times and that encouraged Warrington to push forward.
Daryl McMahon had a face like thunder as the teams walked off at half-time, his instructions to get tighter and move the ball quicker having seemingly fallen on deaf ears.
The Ebbsfleet players were sent out early for the second half and immediately there was more tempo to their play. Coulson thumped a long shot wide and Shields saw an effort charged down after cutting inside from the left.
But when Dave Winfield gifted possession to McDonald moments later, he almost scored with an outrageous lob from 40 yards which had Ashmore scrambling to tip the ball over the bar.
Williams then worked a good short corner with Davarn Green and whipped a cross-shot right through the six-yard box with no-one in blue able to apply the crucial touch.
With Jack Connors already on for Bush, the home side had used all three substitutes with half an hour to go, Jack Powell and Rance making way for Drury and Payne.
Still things looked shaky in the Fleet backline and when Green was allowed to run unchallenged towards the penalty area, he hit a low shot which forced a sprawling save from Ashmore.
There were groans all round when Weston let the ball run under his foot and out of play with no Warrington player close - a moment which rather summed things up. Ebbsfleet, although they were seeing more of the ball as time ticked away, could barely string five passes together.
Warrington almost broke the deadlock 12 minutes from time when Ashmore flapped at a cross and Liam Goulding's shot was blocked on the line by Connors.
Kinsella thought he'd won it when he touched a left-wing cross inside the far post but with Fleet staring down the barrel Shields drove the ball low across Ascroft to keep them in the competition.
Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, Wilson, Winfield, Bush (Connors 39mins), Magri, Weston, Rance (Payne 61mins), Powell (Drury 54mins), Shields, Coulson, Kedwell. Subs not used: McCoy, Jordan.
Warrington: Ascroft, Carden, McCarten, Goulding, McKeown, Green (Barnes 90mins), Williams, Vassallo, Hayhurst (Kinsella 74mins), McDonald, Gray (Beeley 86mins). Subs not used: Bakkor, Milne.
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