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Ebbsfleet United boss Daryl McMahon on their penalty shootout win over Aldershot Town

Daryl McMahon was left drained by the epic nature of Ebbsfleet's play-off win at Aldershot.

Fleet were twice on the brink of elimination at The Rec but somehow fought back to keep their promotion dream alive.

They equalised with a minute left in extra time and then won 5-4 on penalties having trailed the shootout 3-1.

Ebbsfleet manager Daryl McMahon Picture: Andy Jones
Ebbsfleet manager Daryl McMahon Picture: Andy Jones

Wild celebrations followed as McMahon, his staff and players joined the party atmosphere at the away end.

McMahon said: "I'm drained, like I normally am when we play. I'm delighted for everyone. A lot of hard work's gone into that game and a lot of belief as well.

"The depth of the players' character came shining through again.

"You never let go until the game's over - ever - and this team's got that in abundance.

"I've been saying it for the last few weeks about the characters in this team and it very rarely gets mentioned.

"Other stuff gets mentioned but this team is full of character and belief and togetherness."

Memories of Ebbsfleet's play-off final defeat to Maidstone in 2016 came flooding back as the late drama unfolded.

Danny Kedwell, who scored two penalties that day, had one saved in the second half at Aldershot.

But Kedwell, whose decisive penalty in the shootout was saved by Lee Worgan two years ago, this time nailed the fifth spot-kick to force sudden-death.

Dave Winfield's header in the 119th minute pulled Fleet back from the brink, just as Dumebi Dumaka had broken their hearts with a last-gasp equaliser for Maidstone at Stonebridge Road.

McMahon said: "We actually turned and said, when there was a minute to go, it would be nice if we could do Maidstone what did to us and get a goal in the last minute and win the penalties and it did.

"In that instant, you always get one chance. As Dean Rance hooked it in, I saw Dave Winfield going over their lad Rowe and I always felt Dave was going to win the header.

"It was just a matter of whether he could score or not and I'm delighted for him because he's been unbelievable for me for two years.

"He's a terrific captain and leader and he deserved that."

Even greater drama was to follow, however, with Marvin McCoy and Jack Powell seeing their penalties saved by Shots keeper Lewis Ward to leave Aldershot with two kicks for glory.

But Lewis Kinsella hit the post and Nathan Ashmore saved from Febian Robert while Kedwell and Southend loanee Norman Wabo held their nerve to make it 3-3.

Wabo, aged just 19, showed nerves of steel to put his penalty away when Ebbsfleet's whole season was on the line.

McMahon said: "When he started doing that little step, I didn’t know where it was going to go.

"Wabs is very unorthodox when you watch him play, how he wears his socks, he is that kind of guy. He’ll control a ball he shouldn’t control, he’ll miscontrol a ball he should control, he needs some work to round him off.

"As he took the penalty, I was thinking ‘please don’t miss because they win if you miss this.’ In the development of his career, when he goes back to Southend, it can be really tough to have that against him but he showed really good character.

"It was a fantastic penalty and probably energised us to go ‘well played Wabs’. It gave everyone a lift.

"The belief and confidence you get from this is huge. The belief we’ve got in the group, to achieve something, is huge.

"We said before the game, it’s up to us to try to make history by getting into the next round and the final if we can.

"We know that’s going to be really tough but we want to be successful, we’re trying to be successful and we’ll see where it takes us."

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