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Ebbsfleet United midfielder Dean Rance on his late equaliser against Macclesfield Town

Dean Rance said Ebbsfleet's disappointment at not beating Macclesfield spoke volumes for the progress they've made this season.

Fleet came from 2-0 down to hold the National League leaders to a draw live on TV at Stonebridge Road on Saturday.

There were euphoric scenes when midfielder Rance swept in the equaliser 11 minutes from time and it was all Fleet in the closing stages.

Ebbsfleet's players celebrate the equaliser Picture: Andy Payton
Ebbsfleet's players celebrate the equaliser Picture: Andy Payton

However, it finished all square and the draw extended Macclesfield's lead at the top to 10 points.

Rance said: "It was entertaining but we gave two sloppy goals away and against top of the league, you can't do that because you're chasing the game.

"We were the better team for 90 minutes, apart from the five minutes after they scored. We had to soak a little bit of pressure up but other than that, we were comfortable.

"Only one team was going to win it at the end. It shows how far we've come as a club and a team that we've come off a little bit disappointed with a 2-2 draw against Macclesfield."

Rance insisted there was no panic when the Silkmen went 2-0 up in the 58th minute.

"We've come from behind numerous times this season and we were playing well," he said. "We created chances so it was just a matter of taking them. When we got the first goal, our tails were up. We pressed on for the second and then it came.

"We started slow in the second half, considering how well we'd played first half. Their first goal deflated us a little bit because we knew we were on top but it showed great character from us to have gone 2-0 down to top of the league and still come back to 2-2 and looked like the team that was going to win it."

Rance's goal - only his second of the season - was a cracker.

Dean Rance rifles in Ebbsfleet's dramatic equaliser Picture: Andy Payton
Dean Rance rifles in Ebbsfleet's dramatic equaliser Picture: Andy Payton

Corey Whitely picked out Danny Kedwell with a low ball from wide on the right and when Kedwell laid the ball back for Rance, he smashed a first-time shot beyond the reach of Macclesfield keeper Shwan Jalal.

"I only score good goals!" he said. "I've always said I want to add more goals to my game and it's just about getting in those areas because when it dropped like that, I knew I could finish.

"It was the first time I'd really pushed forward because Jukesy (Andy Drury) kept running forward.. With three at the back, I had to stay a little bit more but I felt like we needed a goal so I squeezed on and Keds set me. It fell to me and I hit it nicely."

In a grandstand finish Ebbsfleet had the champions-elect on the ropes.

"They defended well to be fair," Rance said. "They got everyone behind the ball and defended their box well but there were a couple of times when, if we were a little bit sharper in the brain, we could have got an open chance.

"At the end, Jukesy was out on the right and if they look up and get the pass to him, he's by himself and it's a free shot at goal but I don't think we could have done much more to try to get the third goal.

"We've thrown everything at it and sometimes you have to give credit to them. That's probably why they are top of the league because they defend well, they get together and they're a solid team.

"Were they better than us? Not at all, and it shows the fine lines in this league. We can take confidence from this game, that we're more than good enough to compete with the teams at the top."

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