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Ebbsfleet United 2 Doncaster Rovers 6 match report

By Steve Tervet

Ebbsfleet crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.

The home side led 2-0 before conceding twice in first-half stoppage-time.

Two divisions' difference showed in the second half as League 1 Rovers racked up another four goals while Fleet finished with 10 men after Chris Bush was sent off.

Danny Kedwell battles for the ball against Doncaster Picture: Andy Payton
Danny Kedwell battles for the ball against Doncaster Picture: Andy Payton

Andy Drury was ruled out by a hamstring injury so Myles Weston came into the Ebbsfleet team. Luke Coulson moved inside and Weston started on the wing in a 4-2-3-1 system.

Doncaster fielded much the same side that won 1-0 at Bury in their previous league game, Matty Blair replacing the injured Joe Wright in their only change. Gravesend-born striker Alfie May, who joined Rovers from Hythe Town in January, missed the game with a groin injury.

A booking inside the first minute meant Dean Rance was walking a tightrope for the rest of the afternoon against a Doncaster side who looked slick in possession early on.

Fleet threw bodies in the way of a James Coppinger shot and Mathieu Baudry then lifted an effort well over from distance.

John Marquis, the former Millwall and Gillingham striker, then went close twice in a minute. He ran onto Tommy Rowe's through-ball and flashed a shot across the face of goal before heading wide from Harry Toffolo's dinked cross.

Coppinger then saw a shot deflect wide as Rovers continued to apply pressure.

But the game began to turn and Fleet had penalty appeals waved away when Anthony Cook, trying to get on the end of Weston's cross from the left, appeared to be held in the middle.

Rance then won the ball high up the pitch and laid it wide to Danny Kedwell, whose attempted cross was blocked. Coulson then went close from the right-hand side after Weston had charged through midfield.

The tie exploded into life with the opening goal on 34 minutes. Bush chased Nathan Ashmore's monster kick upfield, jumped with Ian Lawlor and won the header, after which the goalkeeper dragged him to the floor.

Lawlor, who was booked, got a hand to Kedwell's penalty but couldn't keep it out.

Things got even better for Ebbsfleet with a second goal just three minutes later. A clever flick from Kedwell sent Coulson racing clear and he finished coolly past Lawlor to send the home crowd wild.

Luke Coulson makes it 2-0 to Ebbsfleet in the 37th minute Picture: Andy Payton
Luke Coulson makes it 2-0 to Ebbsfleet in the 37th minute Picture: Andy Payton

It could even have been 3-0 before half-time as Coulson had a shot blocked and Kenny Clark headed just wide from Jack Powell's right-wing corner.

But two goals in stoppage-time at the end of the half changed the whole complexion of the tie.

Rowe poked the ball beyond Ashmore to make it 2-1 before Marquis pounced from close-range after Rodney Kongolo's shot had been pushed into his path.

An open start to the second half saw Marquis in the thick of the action for Doncaster although Clark got back well to dispossess him before the striker blazed a wild shot almost out of the ground.

But the visitors took the lead on 52 minutes - with a slice of luck. Coppinger's shot took a big deflection and Ashmore, who was wrong-footed, couldn't adjust in time to stop the ball crossing the line.

Doncaster were threatening a fourth goal now and Fleet boss Daryl McMahon rolled the dice by sending on striker Febian Brandy for his home debut. Centre-half Yado Mambo was sacrificed as the home side went to a back three.

But the visitors took the sting out of the game and continued to look dangerous going forward. Clark charged down a Kongolo shot and Ashmore then saved from Rowe.

On came Sean Shields for the last 15 minutes but when Jordan Houghton forced the ball home from close-range Ebbsfleet were left staring down the barrel.

Bush was sent off 10 minutes from time after picking up a second booking and Doncaster rubbed salt into the wound when Coppinger made it 5-2 from the penalty spot.

There was still time for Rowe to double his tally with a low shot that snaked into the bottom corner as Doncaster marched into round two.

Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, Magri, Mambo (Brandy 57mins), Clark, Bush, Rance, Powell, Weston, Coulson, Cook (Shields 76mins), Kedwell (McCoy 84mins). Subs not used: Connors, McLean, Miles, Mills.

Doncaster: Lawlor, Alcock (Mason 46mins), Butler, Baudry, Blair, Kongolo, Houghton, Toffolo, Coppinger (Khemis 83mins), Rowe (Beestin 86mins), Marquis. Subs not used: Marosi, Amos, Williams, Mandeville.

Attendance: 2,069.

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