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On This Day: Ebbsfleet United 2 v 2 Macclesfield Town

7 April 2020

The Silkmen faithful had an early start two years ago today, as we made the journey down to Ebbsfleet United for a National League contest which was broadcast live on BT Sport.

John Askey's side came into the game on the back of three consecutive victories which had seen them open up a nine point lead at the summit and despite the fact that the hosts could boast a seven game unbeaten run, we went into the game brimming with confidence.

That said, it was unquestionably Daryl McMahon's side who started in the ascendancy, as winger Corey Whitely proved to be particularly menacing with his darting runs at the Silkmen defence.

It was through Whiteley that the first clear-cut chance of the game was forged, as his teasing cross was latched onto by Luke Coulson - yet he could only direct his effort wide of Shwan Jalal's near post.

Whiteley and Coulson then combined once more, with the latter storming through on goal and looked all-set to break the deadlock. The travelling contingent had Jalal to thank for preserving our clean-sheet at that stage however, as he emphatically blocked Coulson's low drive with a strong hand to avert the danger.

Our first real opportunity of the contest came in the 21st minute, when a mistake in the Fleet defence saw Scott Burgess set Nathan Blissett free and with the striker baring down on goal, only a perfectly-timed Dave Winfield interception prevented him from pulling the trigger.

Eight minutes later, the breakthrough was gained however. A packed Ebbsfleet area saw Scott Burgess send the ball across goal and there was Blissett to claim his third goal in four games.

The opening goal settled the visitors down somewhat and we started to see some of the intricate football for which Askey's side had become renowned for.

Tyrone Marsh and Mitch Hancox both had chances to double our lead before the interval, yet the hosts still represented a potent threat - particularly in respect of the pace that they possessed out wide.

In contrast to the opening period of the first-half, it was Askey's side who embarked on the second period with greater purpose and authority.

On 58 minutes David Fitzpatrick's deep crowd from the left was sublimely taken-down by Tyrone Marsh at the back post and with the expectant Silkmen faithful overlooking the goal, the former Ebbsfleet man could only fire over the bar from ten yards out.

Sixty second later, our lead was extended however. Keith Lowe provided the perfect decoy following Danny Whitaker's corner and this allowed Marsh to head home from close-range in front of the jubilant travelling supporters.

Our second goal undeniably catalysed the hosts into a sustained period of pressure - which fuelled their ambitions of claiming something from the game.

On 68 minutes McMahon's side reduced the deficit when Danny Kedwell was adjudged to have been impeded by Shwan Jalal in the area. After dusting himself down, Fleet's leading-scorer stepped up to confidently convert his fourteenth goal of the season from the penalty spot.

The big talking point of the game was to follow three minutes after the restart, when Blissett tangled with Winfield mid-way inside the Ebbsfleet half and despite the fact that replays show no obvious intent, Macc were reduced to ten men after the referee had consulted with his fourth official.

Irrespective of the fact that this decision was later overturned, Macc had to play the last seventeen minutes of what was proving to be an increasingly fraught contest with ten men.

Ebbsfleet's numerical advantage also had the tangible effect of spurring them on in pursuit of an equaliser and although the Silkmen rearguard performed heroics to protect our led, this would ultimately come in the 78th minute when Dean Rance fired a low drive past Jalal.

Here are the match highlights -

Macclesfield Town: Jalal, Hodgkiss, Lowe, Pilkington, Fitzpatrick, Evans, Burgess (Kennedy 84), Whitaker, Hancox, Marsh (Wilson 81), Blissett.

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