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Match Reports

Ebbsfleet 2-3 Notts

Turner wins it at the death

9 November 2019

There was late drama at Ebbsfleet United as Ben Turner scored an injury-time winner to take us into the second round of the Emirates FA Cup.

The big defender's header sparked scenes of jubilation in the away end as a dramatic afternoon ended with Notts' name going into Monday night's draw.

The hosts had taken an early lead thanks to a Josh Payne wonderstrike but Kyle Wootton was at the double either side of half-time to turn the tie on its head.

It looked like we would extend our lead further, having had a number of chances, but the hosts restored parity with a Gozie Ugwu penalty minutes before Turner's winner.

Neal Ardley was forced to make one change to his starting line-up, with loanee Sean Shields ineligible to face his parent club.

Regan Booty was the beneficiary, slotting into left midfield on an afternoon when Neal Ardley opted to name only six out of seven possible substitutes.

It was the nightmare start for us, but there wasn't much we could do as Payne fired a 30-yard rocket beyond Sam Slocombe with only seven minutes on the clock.

We needed a response but were struggling to find our feet on a boggy pitch and had to wait until the 23rd minute to conjure our first meaningful shot at goal. It came in acrobatic style from Wes Thomas, whose overhead kick following Tyler Cordner's poor defensive header was saved by Ebbsfleet keeper Jordan Holmes.

The home side saw a free-kick deflect on to the roof of the net as the sides continued to trade tentative blows in pursuit of the game's next goal.

But, after Enzio Boldewijn had done well to win a corner, we levelled things up on 33 minutes with a well-worked routine finished off by Wootton, whose first-time effort was deemed to have crossed the goalline by the referee's assistant.

We emerged for the second half unchanged and Thomas soon set about trying to alter the scoreline in our favour, latching on to Richard Brindley's ball into the channel but firing over from a difficult angle.

But Thomas turned provider just before the hour, spinning brilliantly in midfield before playing an inch-perfect through ball for Wootton. The forward took it in his stride and produced an excellent finish to put us ahead.

Thomas was certainly in the thick of the action and he came close to making it 3-1 moments later, diverting Brindley's fizzed cross just wide of the post.

We were dominating and Thomas unlocked the door once again with another excellent pass releasing Boldewijn into the area. The Dutchman fizzed a low shot inches wide of the post.

But, as long as the deficit remained a solitary goal, the hosts were still well in the tie and they soon began to apply some pressure of their own.

Slocombe had to make a smart save to deny Ugwu before, minutes later, Cordner directed a header inches wide.

The danger wasn't over for Notts as Ebbsfleet's next attack saw substitute Josh Umerah benefit from a fortunate run of the ball in the area before seeing his shot diverted on to the post and turned behind.

With 13 minutes to go, Thomas nearly killed the tie off with a shot which was well saved by Holmes after the forward had fired it goalwards from point-blank range.

And Booty also came close moments later, meeting a low ball in the area with an effort which somehow evaded goal.

We were nearly made to pay for our missed opportunities when Umerah raced on to a flicked header over the top and tried to loop the ball over the onrushing Slocombe, who did brilliantly to nudge it wide.

But we hadn't gotten away with it as, shortly afterwards, Brindley was penalised for handball in the area and, despite Slocombe's best efforts, Ugwu dispatched the penalty.

Holmes made an excellent save to deny Wootton his hat-trick shortly after four additional minutes had been indicated, with both sides desperately seeking a winning goal to prevent a replay.

And, thankfully for us, Turner rose highest at the back stick to nod home a corner in front of our fans.

There was still time for Nathan Tyson, who had earlier replaced Thomas, to spin his man and show excellent pace before winning another corner, which signalled the introduction of Zoumana Bakayogo - Booty making way.

But the ball didn't leave that area of the pitch again before the referee called time on proceedings, confirming our place in round two. 

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