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Ebbsfleet United 2 Slough Town 2 FA Cup match report: Two own goals keep Ebbsfleet in the FA Cup

Ebbsfleet avoided a major FA Cup upset after visitors Slough scored two own goals on Saturday.

The Fleet twice trailed to their lower-league visitors and remain in the competition after two blunders by on-loan Cardiff keeper Rohan Luthra.

Ebbsfleet striker Nathan Odokonyero lines up a shot at goal on Saturday. Picture: Adam Mitten
Ebbsfleet striker Nathan Odokonyero lines up a shot at goal on Saturday. Picture: Adam Mitten

It means Dennis Kutrieb’s men have a Fourth Qualifying Round replay at Slough on Tuesday night.

Ebbsfleet made four changes to the team that last time out against FC Halifax, including a debut at right wing-back for Matthias Fanimo.

Slough made a flying start and nearly led after 16 seconds when former Fleet man Johnny Goddard’s right-foot shot was turned behind for a corner by Mark Cousins.

But the Fleet keeper was picking the ball out of his net from the resulting set-piece as the unmarked Dan Bayliss met Matt Lench’s cross to put Slough ahead on 62 seconds.

It could have got much worse for the hosts who looked like strangers in defence. George Alexander’s shot was comfortable for Cousins before Hayden White had to clear off the line to deny Goddard after seven minutes.

The Fleet hit the woodwork on 10 minutes through Craig Tanner’s near-post corner and it was corners which seemed their biggest threat, although that was mainly due to how uncomfortable keeper Rohan Luthra was with dealing with any crosses.

Smart footwork by Fanimo ended with Toby Edser shooting over before a corner was half-cleared to Nathan Odokonyero, who shot narrowly over the bar.

Keeper Luthra dropped a Tanner corner at his near-post but got down quickly to gather the ball before it went over the line. Then five minutes later, he let a Tanner delivery slip through his hand and was fortunate that the ball bounced narrowly past the post.

At the other end, Alexander was booked by referee Steven Hughes after a needlessly late challenge on Cousins who came out to clear a short back-pass.

Alexander was squeezed out at the start of the second half, the referee waving away his optimistic penalty appeals.

But the Fleet were immediately level. On-loan Cardiff keeper Luthra fumbled Tanner’s 48th-minute near-post corner and the ball squirmed inside his near post for an own goal.

Luthra was then out smartly three minutes later to keep out Odokonyero’s left-foot shot.

Slough came out of their defensive block and regained the lead on 56 minutes when Cousins failed to gather a left-wing cross and Goddard slammed the ball home.

Johnny Goddard celebrates putting Slough 2-1 ahead against this former club. Picture: Adam Mitten
Johnny Goddard celebrates putting Slough 2-1 ahead against this former club. Picture: Adam Mitten

Fleet boss Dennis Kutrieb immediately called for Dominic Poleon, who had half an hour to rescue his side. He nearly did it inside a minute when Tanner picked him out but Poleon’s shot flashed across the face of goal.

On 66 minutes, McQueen was played in behind the full-back by Domi but his cross was too hard for Poleon, who would have had a tap-in otherwise.

Ebbsfleet’s frustrations were growing and Odokonyero was booked for a push on Temi Eweka, who successfully shielded the ball out of play.

Poleon was denied by a point-blank Luthra save, the keeper going someway to redeeming himself after the Fleet striker met Domi’s header across goal with 16 minutes left.

The Fleet needed a helping hand yet again to get themselves back on level terms and the unfortunate Luthra gave it to them with 10 minutes left as he punched Sterling-James’ corner into his own net.

Ouss Cisse headed wide with virtually the last touch deep into stoppage time but a draw was the least Slough deserved for an excellent defensive display.

Ebbsfleet: Cousins, White, Hollis, Domi, Cisse, Tanner, Edser, Fanimo (Sterling-James 46mins), Amoo (Poleon 61mins), McQueen, Odokonyero (Coulthirst 74mins). Subs not used: O’Neill, Wright, Chapman, Ibe.

Slough: Luthra, Jackman, Bayliss, Lench, Goddard, Chambers-Parillon (Ogbonna 74mins), Davies, Eweka, Dyce, Sundire, Alexander (North 90+3mins). Subs not used: Minhas, McElroy, Spicer.

Referee: Steven Hughes.

Attendance: 1,134.

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