Macclesfield’s play-off hopes were dented as Ebbsfleet came from behind to inflict a second successive defeat.
Chris Holroyd’s first goal since early October put the Silkmen ahead just before half time but for the first time this season they failed to go on the win after scoring first, with Phil Walsh equalising and Nathan Elder firing home from the spot with four minutes to go.
Macc boss Steve King paired Holroyd and Waide Fairhurst in attack with leading scorer Matthew Barnes-Homer dropped to the bench and Charlie Henry was given a rare start on the right of
The Silkmen looked good on the ball early on, keeping possession very well, but were limited mainly to shots from the edge of the box.
In the third minute a great diagonal ball by Carl Martin found Craig Braham-Barrett out wide to whip a cross in which was knocked down by Fairhurst to Henry. He shifted the ball to his left foot and tried
to catch the keeper out with a chip but Preston Edwards was able to back-peddle and catch before it dropped in.
Another great interchange minutes later between Holroyd and John Paul Kissock gave Holroyd a good opportunity, the loanee striker tried to place his shot but saw it blocked by Walsh.
Henry’s 20 yard effort lacked power when he collected a return pass from Holroyd on the edge of the box, and he was then off target when cutting in from the left to shoot just wide from the corner
of the area.
Macc were given a let off when Elder’s cross from the left looked perfect for Louis Soares but his poor header was blocked behind from just six yards.
Former Brentford striker Elder was heavily involved in most of Ebbsfleet’s attacks and when he sprung the offside trap down the right channel he disappointingly failed to pick out a team mate with his low cross.
On 26 minutes Elder reacted first to reach the ball following a deflected shot and from a tight angle forced Lance Cronin out of his goal to narrow the angle. His shot was blocked by Cronin to Lanre Azeez who dinked the ball over the out of position keeper and Sam Wedgbury had to head clear from under his own crossbar.
Henry was again off target - blasting well over from 25 yards, before Kissock was brought down by Walsh just yards outside the box and Holroyd curled his free kick over the wall but straight at the keeper.
In the 38th minute Fairhurst evaded his man 25 yards out, but then was wildly off target with his drive when he had Kissock making an unmarked run inside him.
Macc broke the deadlock just before the break and through a fantastic move. Keiran Murtagh took a quick free kick to Holroyd who spread the ball out wide to Henry on the right, he checked back onto his left foot to direct a cross perfectly into Holroyd’s path continuing his run into the area and he glanced a header in from six yards.
The home side could have doubled their lead a minute later when Fairhurst controlled a poor clearing header and his powerful drive wasn’t held by Edwards, who managed to just collect it before Holroyd following up.
After the interval a fabulous ball spread out to Henry on the right gave him space to cross, however sliding in at the back post Fairhurst failed to divert it goalwards.
The Fleet equalised on 57 minutes and in a very simple manner which should have been defended better. A corner was played in low to the near post and centre-back Walsh was the first to get there to blast in though the crowd of players.
Whereas in the first half Macc played some great football but mainly lacked a final pass, after conceding they often failed to even get that far, giving away possession far more often than usual.
Within the space of ten minutes Steve King made all three of his substitutions – with Barnes-Homer, Amari Morgan-Smith and Jack Mackreth coming on for Holroyd, Fairhurst and Henry.
A long ball forward by Joe Howe was chested down by Elder in the box and dropped perfectly for the striker but he sliced horribly wide, wasting a good chance just 12 yards out.
After a long kick out by Cronin, Holroyd robbed the ball off Walsh in a dangerous position and he found Barnes-Homer who hit his first shot on target but Edwards held well diving low to his right.
With five minutes to go Kissock fed the ball out to Mackreth on the right who used his pace to beat his man and picked out Morgan-Smith at the near post but squandered the chance and Edwards saved easily.
Just a minute later Macc went from almost winning to losing the game when Elder managed to get goal-side of Carl Martin in the area and in the defender’s desperation to get back he first managed to get a toe on the ball but then brought down the big striker. Elder stepped up to take the penalty himself and comfortably beat Cronin for his 10th league goal of the season.
Liam Enver-Marum could have made it three in stoppage time when Tony Diagne totally missed his kick when trying to intercept a ball forward, but the substitute blasted well over.
The Silkmen sent everyone forward including Cronin for a corner in the last few seconds but nobody could connect with Kissock’s set piece and the final whistle blew to end a disappointing afternoon at
the Moss Rose.