Ebbsfleet Utd 1 Harriers 1
Venue: Stonebridge Rd
away fans: ?
Another day another red card
For the second time in two days the Harriers had a player sent off and now our position at the top of the Fair Play League is looking decidedly precarious. Following the dismissals of Justin Richards and Martin Riley at Forest Green on Tuesday tonight Lee Baker got his marching orders for pulling Ricky Shakes' shirt in the penalty area.
We now await confirmation of how long his suspension will last but I'm presuming that it wasn't violent so he should just miss the game at Altrincham on Saturday.
There were a few enforced changes to the side that drew at FGR with Luke Jones coming in for Riley and Stefan Moore in for Richards. Russ Penn went onto the bench with Michael Carr getting his first start in the League since he made his debut in the defeat at home to Northwich.
The Baker sending off came about when the livewire Shakes had already done him for pace a couple of times and again when Lee chased after him into the box with just twenty five minutes of the game gone. Down went Shakes and up stepped Stacey Long to convert the penalty to give Ebbsfleet the lead.
The sending off seemed to spur the Harriers on and within minutes of going behind Barnes-Homer forced a good save from the Ebbsfleet keeper Lance Cronin. The ball rebounded out towards Darryl Knights but he reacted too slowly and the ball was cleared to safety.
Dazzler had a chance of his own straight away after but his long range shot went just wide. Michael Carr tried his luck next after he ran onto a cross from Stefan Moore but he didn't quite make it in time to connect properly and sent it out for a goal kick.
Five minutes before the end of the half Utd had Danny Slatter stretchered off after being tackled fairly by Michael Carr. Guiseppe Sole, on loan from Woking, came on for him.
In the last two minutes of the half we had a chance to get back into the game fall the way of Mark Creighton but his header from a corner went just wide of the upright.
HT: 1 - 0
The second period of the game started with a substitution for us with Darryl Knights going off to be replaced by the more combative Russell Penn but it didn't stop Utd from having the majority of the game for the opening ten minutes of this half. Some good defending and equally good goal keeping was stopping the Ebbsfleet forwards getting a decent sight of goal.
The hosts should have scored when Michael Gash finally broke through our defence and took aim at goal but Adam Bartlett was equal to him and threw himself down to smother the ball before Gash could score what should have been a certain goal. We made another change with Brian Smikle coming on for Dean Bennett.
Mark Yates was certainly not being cautious in his use of the bench because just minutes after Smikle had come on he made another change with Martin Brittain coming on for Michael Carr.
Ebbsfleet were now starting to pile the pressure on Bartlett's goal and he made three amazing saves in quick succession when he dived across his goal to stop Michael West's low shot from going in. The ball went back out towards Stacey Long but Barts was quick to react again and blocked the follow up shot, pushing it out towards West to give him a second chance to score. This time he managed to save and retain the ball.
We had chances to score too with both Chris McPhee and MBH going close with the latter seeing his shot go just wide from twenty yards out.
Again Bartlett came to the Harriers rescue with some top drawer keeping when he somehow managed to stop Ricky Shakes point blank shot for going into the net following a poor back pass from McPhee that was easily intercepted by Shakes.
Suddenly out of nothing we grabbed a goal to draw level and maintain our unbeaten run to nine games. McPhee headed the ball into the area and MBH came storming in to volley the ball home beyond the reach of Cronin to rescue us from what looked like certain defeat.
Chris McPhee was now starting to get some harsh treatment from his former team mates and after being fouled continuously for the final ten minutes of the game he complained to the referee and promptly got booked for his efforts. Surely the referee wasn't the Coote in disguise?
The game ended soon after and it had been another great team effort that had seen us rescue a point against the odds. The point gained wasn't the best use of our game in hand but it still takes us to three points clear of Stevenage and keeps us firmly in fifth place.
Onwards to Altrincham on Saturday and hopefully we'll come back with all three points and no more sending's off.