Ebbsfleet United were left stunned on Saturday after losing on penalties to Maidstone in the National League South play-off final.

Fleet came within seconds of promotion but conceded a last-gasp equaliser in extra-time before coming up short from the spot.

Daryl McMahon could not hide his disappointment after the dramatic defeat.

He said: “It was a huge disappointment in injury-time to concede the goal.

“I thought we were excellent. It is just disappointing. It is hard for me to try and dissect the game because there is a lot of emotion following what has happened.

“I do not know what to say to be honest. I am disappointed for the players. They have played so well and they are gutted.”

The deadlock was broken on 19 minutes when Ebbsfleet were awarded a penalty after a Manny Parry handball, which Danny Kedwell duly dispatched.

Maidstone got their equaliser through a sensational strike from Bobby-Joe Taylor after he skipped through the Fleet defence and fired past Nathan Ashmore.

After the game went into extra-time, Fleet regained the lead as Kedwell slotted home another penalty.

The home side were minutes away from victory when Dumebi Dumaka pounced on poor defending to equalise and send the final into penalties.

Despite shootout success against Whitehawk in the semi-final, misses from Tom Bonner and Kedwell saw Maidstone bag promotion.

McMahon added: “While you are only one goal in front, the other team always has a chance.

“We had more than enough chances to clear the ball from the box which we did not take.”

McMahon insisted there was no blame placed on Kedwell, who missed the match-defining penalty.

“He has been unbelievable this season. There will be no blame left at his door,” the manager added.

“I am gutted for him because he has been a real talisman for us. He is a strong character and will bounce back from this.”

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