Published: 17:39, 08 February 2020
| Updated: 20:02, 08 February 2020
Sorry Ebbsfleet's season took another turn for the worse on Saturday when they were dumped out of the FA Trophy.
Fleet were taken to extra-time by lower-league Royston Town, who found their scoring boots in the additional half-hour to move a step closer to Wembley.
Royston had already knocked out Wealdstone, Chester and Boreham Wood to get this far - and they thoroughly deserved to keep that FA Trophy run going.
With Adam Mekki cup-tied, skipper Jack King returned to the starting line-up in a holding midfield role.
It was Royston who started brightest and they should have led inside three minutes. Fleet keeper David Gregory made the initial save to thwart Scott Bridges but Royston’s penalty appeals when they felt Spyros Mentis’ follow-up was blocked by a hand were turned down and Jamie Grimes headed away Josh Casiglione’s effort.
Fleet had a golden chance on 11 minutes but, with Tomi Adeloye drawing keeper Joe Welch out of position, Josh Umerah should have slotted home - only for visiting captain Adam Murray to make a brilliant last-ditch block.
Gregory’s poor goal kick let in Claude Ofosu but Fleet’s Lawrie Wilson was in a good position to turn his low cross behind for a corner.
Fleet created another good opening four minutes before the end of a largely scrappy first half. Adeloye put the ball across the face of goal but Ugwu was unable to convert at full stretch.
It needed a fine save by Welch early in the second half to prevent Umerah putting Ebbsfleet ahead while Fleet had penalty claims of their own ignored by referee Paul Howard after Umerah went to ground following a Frankie Sutherland free-kick.
Wilson was in the right place at the right time again for Fleet to block substitute Josh Oyinsan’s goalbound effort following James Brighton’s right-wing corner.
Fleet nearly snatched a winner three minutes into stoppage time but Jermaine McGlashan sidefooted wide from Gozie Ugwu’s cross and the tie went to extra-time.
It took just two minutes of extra-time for the breakthrough to arrive. Casiglione crossed perfectly as Royston broke from a Fleet corner and Oyinsan headed in at the far post.
Oyinsan’s afternoon ended just three minutes later with a hamstring injury.
Sutherland and Wilson both had long-range shots saved by Welch, leaving the Fleet 15 minutes to remain in the tie.
Gregory kept them in the match with a fine stop to deny substitute Brandon Adams but within seconds Matt Bateman burst through and slotted home the second goal with six minutes left.
Ebbsfleet: Gregory, King, Obileye (Blackman 95mins), Wilson, Ugwu, Umerah (Egan 91mins), Grimes, Sutherland, Ekpiteta, Adeloye (Goddard 70mins), McGlashan. Subs not used: Palmer, Achuba, Holmes.
Royston: Welch, Scott-Morris, Brighton (Warner-Eley 90mins), Bridges, Murray, Martin, Mentis (Green 77mins), Asafu-Adjaye, Ofosu (Oyinsan 62mins, Adams 95mins), Bateman, Casiglione. Subs not used: Braithwaite, Parr, Smart.
More by this authorMatthew Panting