Get involved: Send pictures, video, news and views - text NEWS SHOPPER to 80360 or email us
Basingstoke Town 2-2 Ebbsfleet United
EBBSFLEET United left it late to record a draw away to Basingstoke Town on a chilly Saturday afternoon at The Camrose.
Despite dominating large periods of the match, it looked like the Fleet would return to Kent empty handed until Shane Huke’s controversial last minute equaliser secured a deserved point.
Manager Steve Brown made two changes from his side’s frustrating draw against Bath City, with Michael Thalasittis returning from international duty to replace Alex Osborne up front, while midfielder Dean Rance started in place of Stacy Long.
Basingstoke’s Jason Bristow fielded a well-drilled 4-3-3 formation, with the combative midfield three of Neil Barrett, Wes Daly and Andrew Jenkinson providing a perfect example of why the Dragons remain unbeaten at home this season.
The game got off to an explosive start when Ebbsfleet keeper Preston Edwards was forced to save winger Kezie Ibe’s near post shot before the visitors took the lead with less than three minutes on the clock.
Striker Billy Bricknell found space on the wing and showed good awareness to hook the ball back into the path of Rance, whose 25-yard effort evaded home keeper Louis Wells and flew into the top corner.
Wells pulled off a brilliant double saved on 10 minutes to prevent the Fleet from doubling their lead as he first parried Rance’s shot before turning Thalasittis’ effort from the rebound around the post.
Daryl McMahon then had a 20-yard drive fly just over the bar while Michael Corcoran’s free header also went over the bar.
The visitors were made to regret their misses 10 minutes before the interval when Barrett’s smart footwork played in the unmarked Manny Williams, whose well-placed finish made it 1-1.
The second half began like the first, with the Fleet on top.
Rance had a shot from the corner of the penalty area which went across goal and wide and Bricknell saw his header from an Anthony Cook cross rattle the crossbar.
Wells then pulled off a fine save to deny a Thalassitis header from point blank range before grabbing hold of a speculative drive from Cook.
But just like in the first half, Fleet’s dominance faded and the hosts were allowed back into the game, an opportunity they once again seized, as former Stonebridge Road player Barrett was allowed to head home from a corner to make it 2-1 Basingstoke on 78 minutes.
This setback initially knocked the stuffing out of Ebbsfleet and it looked like they were heading for a disappointing defeat until they were awarded a late free-kick on the wing midway inside the Basingstoke half.
Joe Howe delivered the set piece into the area and Wells jumped with Huke but spilt the ball, allowing the defender to bundle it over the line as the hosts screamed for a foul.
Remarkably, this was Ebbsfleet’s fifth draw of the season and they now hope to record their first home win this week with Stonebridge Road fixtures coming up against Chelmsford City on Tuesday (7.45pm) and Boreham Wood on Saturday (3pm).
Follow us on Twitter @NewsShopperSprt
Ebbsfleet United: Edwards, Howe, Palmer, Corcoran (Green 56), Lorraine, Huke, Rance, McMahon, Thalasittis, Bricknell (Osborne 78), Cook Subs not used: Sankofa, Long, Hall. Att: 371.
Comments are closed on this article.