Published: 16:45, 28 October 2017 |
Updated: 04:31, 29 October 2017
Ebbsfleet battled well for a point at Sutton on Saturday.
Daryl McMahon said his team would have to fight for a result at Gander Green Lane and they did just that, matching the U's physically and defending bravely when required.
Sutton applied plenty of pressure in the second half but a new-look Fleet backline stood firm and a point was no more than the visitors deserved.
McMahon rang the changes following Ebbsfleet's 1-0 home defeat to lowly Torquay in midweek.
Sam Magri returned at right-back and there was a recall for Yado Mambo in central defence as Chris Bush was moved to left-back in place of Jack Connors.
Anthony Cook made a rare start on the right wing and Luke Coulson also played, on the opposite flank, with Jack Powell in the hole behind Danny Kedwell.
Sutton, having lost Craig Eastmond to a serious injury at Hartlepool seven days earlier, were unchanged from their midweek draw at Aldershot.
Ebbsfleet should have been ahead inside two minutes when a low cross from the right reached Coulson but he was unable to force the ball past Jamie Butler.
Tommy Wright dragged a low shot across the face of goal at the other end and Ross Lafayette was caught on his heels when a delivery from the Sutton right reached him in front of goal.
Lafayette then nodded a Kenny Davis cross down for Kieron Cadogan, whose shot from just inside the box wasn't far wide.
Most of the game was taking place in the middle third and there was a flashpoint on the half-hour mark. Josh Taylor kicked out at Cook, who was shielding the ball out for a throw-in, and was rightly cautioned.
Powell hooked a volley well over and Kedwell shot wide after bringing down a high ball and creating space for a shot towards the end of an unremarkable first half.
Sutton went close at the start of the second half, Jamie Collins putting a cross into the corridor of uncertainty and Louis John, on the slide, unable to hit the target from close-range.
Dean Beckwith went into the book for a challenge on Coulson and when Kieron Cadogan's cross dropped for Lafayette, the former Dover man was crowded out by red shirts in the six-yard box.
All the pressure was coming from the home side, though, and Kenny Clark had to be at his best to keep pace with Tommy Wright and then block his shot.
Kedwell fired a shot well off target for Fleet, who were lucky not to concede moments later. Ashmore flapped at a cross, the ball wasn't cleared and Mambo had to scramble Kenny Davis' effort off the line.
Still the U's pushed forward and Ashmore made a good diving save to push Cadogan's 30-yard strike behind for a corner.
Ashmore then denied John and Fleet survived a couple of goalmouth scrambles before Febian Brandy was sent on for his debut late on.
Cook had a chance to net a late winner on the break but Fleet, for whom Kenny Clark was a rock at centre-half, should be pleased to leave Surrey with a share of the spoils.
Sutton: Butler, Beckwith, John, Collins, Davis, Lafeyette (Thomas 60mins), Cadogan, Dundas, Bailey, Wright (Coombes 76mins), Taylor (Jeffrey 60mins). Subs not used: Spence, Walton.
Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, Magri, Clark, Mambo, Bush (McCoy 83mins), Cook, Rance, Drury, Coulson (Weston 65mins), Powell (Brandy 86mins), Kedwell. Subs not used: Miles, Mills.
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