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Ebbsfleet United 2 Macclesfield Town 2 match report

Ebbsfleet came from 2-0 down to draw with leaders Macclesfield in a National League thriller live on BT Sport.

It looked like game over when Tyrone Marsh added to Nathan Blissett's opening goal just before the hour.

But Danny Kedwell pulled one back from the penalty spot and after Blissett was shown a red card, Dean Rance scored a brilliant equalising goal.

Danny Kedwell scored Ebbsfleet's first goal from the penalty spot Picture: Andy Payton
Danny Kedwell scored Ebbsfleet's first goal from the penalty spot Picture: Andy Payton

Ebbsfleet, so impressive in their Bank Holiday win against Dover, were unsurprisingly unchanged, while for the visitors Scott Burgess replaced the injured Danny Whitehead. The Silkmen's leading scorer, Elliott Durrell, missed the game with a groin injury and ex-Fleet striker Tyrone Marsh lined up wide on the right

Fleet could, and perhaps should have taken the lead inside the first minute. Corey Whitely showed great speed down the right and his low cross ran for Luke Coulson. although the midfielder couldn't adjust his feet quickly enough to get a shot away.

Playing with the sort of confidence you'd expect given their recent form, Ebbsfleet kept on the front foot. The attacking axis of Whitely, Coulson and Sean Shields looked particularly effective and Whitely forced a low save from Shwan Jalal after some good hold-up play by Kedwell.

A clumsy foul by Dave Winfield on Mitch Hancox gave the Silkmen a good shooting opportunity but Burgess' free-kick from 25 yards failed to trouble Nathan Ashmore.

Not did another Burgess strike, from similar distance moments later, after Rance had committed himself in the tackle.

The home side continued to play with a swagger and when Andy Drury spread play wide to Shields, he delivered a cross which was headed wide by Kedwell.

Coulson forced a low save from Jalal but it took a huge sliding challenge by Winfield to deny Blissett after Kenny Clark's slip had let the big striker in down the right.

There was no offside flag when Kedwell's flicked header from a Chris Bush long throw ran for Whitely but Jalal gathered anyway. Bush's next throw also found Kedwell but although his first header wasn't cleared, Kedwell's volley from the second phase was a long way over.

It was somewhat against the run of play, therefore, that Macclesfield took a 29th-minute lead.

Fleet skipper Dave Winfield up for a header Picture: Andy Payton
Fleet skipper Dave Winfield up for a header Picture: Andy Payton

A calamity of errors in the Ebbsfleet defence allowed Blissett a free shot at goal and he wasn't about to miss from just a few yards out.

The goal rather knocked Fleet out of their stride and passes which had earlier found their targets started to go astray.

A neat turn in midfield by Whitely did create an opening but Jared Hodgkiss' timely interception prevented Drury finishing Coulson's through-ball.

Winfield flicked on a cross from the right but the final header from his centre-half partner Clark lacked the power to trouble Jalal.

There was real concern for Winfield at the start of the second half when he went down and stayed down after blocking a Blissett volley but the Fleet skipper was eventually able to carry on.

Ebbsfleet, though, took an age to get going in the second half and Macclesfield pressed for the second killer goal.

Hancox was only denied by a last-ditch Whitely tackle and Rance was screaming at his defence moments later when more sloppy play allowed Danny Whitaker a free shot at goal.

The warning signs were there but Fleet failed to heed them.

Corey Whitely on the ball against Macclesfield Picture: Andy Payton
Corey Whitely on the ball against Macclesfield Picture: Andy Payton

Winfield blocked a shot from Hancox and Marsh shot wastefully over before the Silkmen doubled their lead in the 58th minute.

Whitaker's corner from the left went straight to Marsh and although Ashmore got a hand to his header, he couldn't keep it out.

On came loan striker Norman Wabo to support Kedwell, who lashed a volley over when Shields' left-wing cross dropped at his feet.

But Kedwell made no mistake from the penalty spot on 70 minutes when Jalal came flying out and felled Winfield when Fleet slung a cross into the box.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men when Blissett was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball clash with Winfield which left the defender with blood pouring from his head.

Now it was game on and Whitely powered a shot over when teed up by Shields on the left.

Ebbsfleet equalised 11 minutes from time - and what a goal it was. Kedwell helped the ball into Rance's path and the midfielder swept a brilliant shot across Jalal at the Plough End.

The home fans had Stonebridge Road bouncing in the closing stages as Fleet threw everything at Macclesfield.

Myles Weston, on from the bench, gave Ebbsfleet a new outlet down the right and he was denied by a great recovery tackle before setting up Whitely for a shot which flew over.

The Silkmen were hanging on at the end, a real compliment to Fleet given their position at the top of the league.

Kedwell headed over in stoppage-time and Shields went close with the final kick of the game as the supporters in the ground, and those watching at home, were treated to a grandstand finish.

Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, McCoy (Weston 68mins), Clark, Winfield, Bush, Whitely, Rance, Drury, Shields, Coulson (Wabo 60mins), Kedwell. Subs not used: Connors, Powell, Miles.

Macclesfield: Jalal, Hodgkiss, Fitzpatrick, Lowe, Pilkington, Marsh (Wilson 81mins), Blissett, Hancox, Evans, Burgess (Kennedy 84mins), Whitaker. Subs not used: Ramsbottom, Baba, Kennedy, De Girolamo.

Attendance: 1,501.

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