Lambs given a Fleeting glance of survival
16 April 2013
And so The Lambs made the long journey to Stonebridge Road to take on Liam Daish's already relegated Ebbsfleet United in the knowledge that even a win might not secure their status in the Conference Premier next season on the night.
With Stockport playing Gateshead and both sides flanking Dale Belford's Tamworth side, it would need a Lambs win and a Stockport draw or loss to see The Lambs safe. Anything other combination would take the outcome of the campaign to the final whistle on the final day of the season for a second time in recent seasons.
Belford made two changes to the side that suffered defeat at Lincoln at the weekend with Sam Harrop taking a place on the bench and Sam Oji not featuring as Duane Courtney returned from suspension and Tom Marshall regained his spot in the back four.
Fleet got the tie underway kicking towards the uncovered end of the ground and after some quick possession Elder forced a corner off Tait on the right which Carew put onto the head of Marshall and The Lambs cleared.
However, Fleet went close through howe's right footed diagonal almost passlike shot which rolled just past the far right post.
The home side were awarded another corner on 4 and Cunnington cleared to Till who played a 1-2 with the striker and he advanced into the area but was bustled off the ball before he could get a sight on goal.
A good move by the home side down the right on 7 ended with Phipp putting a cross onto the head of Elder but he lifted his effort too much and Breeden was untroubled by the effort.
The Lambs countered and Hendrie was tripped by Luzardo as he advanced toward the area down the left channel and Hendrie struck the freekick over the wall and forced Menz to smother the ball at his near post.
A foul against Cunnington on the left wing on 12 allowed Kelly to send a deep freekick into the box and Cunnington flicke it on but Byfield wa unable to direct his header anywhere near the target and Ebbsfleet absorbed the loose ball.
There was a lengthy stop in play around the 15 minute mark when Menz took a knock to the nead and required the attention of the physio, with play resuming after the keeper had received a wrap around bandage for his troubles.
At the other end Payne spotted an opening and hit a very hopeful right footed shot from 30 yards which Breeden was very happy to watch curl yards out of play.
On 22 Till forced a good block from Menz courtesy of a diagonal right footed shot into the keepers arms.
Marshall flicked on a long Courtney throw from the left on 27 but Menz was happy to just take the ball easily as he was on 31 when Till tried to lift a shot from the edge of the area after Hendrie's swirling freekick came back out to him invitingly.
After another break in play after home captain Lorraine got some treatment which saw him forced to leave the field to have his bloody nose seen to, Cunnington cut the ball back from the right wing and Byfield tried to turn the ball past Menz but the keeper took it in his grasp.
As the ball reached the halfway line Cunnington tripped Luzardo and picked up a booking.
On 38, Till struck the centre of the bar with a right footed strike from the right of the box but there was no one availa le to follow up the rebound and Fleet cleared.
Byfield had the ball into the net on 43 but the flag had already gone up against the forward who burst onto Kelly's ball into the area too quickly and rounded the stranded keeper to no avail.
Four minutes added time was shown at the end of the first half and Howe squeezes into the box to win a corner following a game of pinball which ends with Elder flashing a header out past the far post before the half time whistle blows.
The Lambs restarted proceedings 45 minutes away from a possible repeat scenario of the last game of the 2010-11 season.
Edler flicked the ball on for Payne who curled his shot wide of the right hand post with Breeden unable to do much about it had it been on target, and then Phipp struck for goal but Marshall put his head in the way and deflected it over the bar. From the corner Elder glanced his header just wide of the far post and it was only just.
On 52, Courtney picked up a booking for a foul on Howe which was hotly disputed by the travelling faithful who then started cheering with the news that Gateshead had scored against Stockport.
Byfield almost made an opening for himself on 58 but was closed down quickly as the keeper advanced and Phipp struck from distance at the other end but failed to trouble Breeden.
Fleet pushed on and a snapshot from Carew was cleared away by Tait as it went towards the target and Wright joins proceedings.
The home side then get a corner when Tait is unable to prevent the ball skiping off his head and going out of play on the left of the goal but Hendrie clears temporarily.
On 70, Tait sent the ball high into the box and Menz was forced to push it over the bar for a corner, from which the ball bounced invitingly for Wylde to force it down and up into the roof of the net at the back post to give The Lambs a glimpse of life in the top flight of football for another season. (1-0, 72 mins)
Marshall picked up a booking for a foul just over the half way line and Ebbsfleet pressed as the game ticked into the last 15 minutes.
Then on 80, Enver-Marum made the most of the confusion from a long through ball which saw Breeden forced to race from his area and the substitute got the ball the quickest of the players chasing it down and finish from a yard out (1-1 80 mins)
It was all hands to the pump after the restart as both sides lost a bit of rhythm and the ball zipped around the field.
Marshall found himself in the opposition box on 88 and forced Menz to block his low shot, while a the other end Enver-Marum lifted his shot at the left of the box into the arms of Breeden and three minutes added time was shown.
As Stockport equalised at Gateshead The Lambs forged a chance but the offside flag prevented anything coming from the decent cross into the box and the final whistle blew.
Tony BREEDEN (GK), Richard TAIT, Marcus KELLY, Michael WYLDE, Tom MARSHALL, Adam CUNNINGTON, Lee HENDRIE, Darren BYFIELD, Duane COURTNEY, Connor GUDGER, Peter TILL (Tommy WRIGHT 67)
Subs: Lloyd KERRY, Max HARROP, Kyle PERRY, Liam MITCHELL (GK)
Ebbsfleet United Team:
Lucaz MENZ, Craig STONE, Paul LORRAINE, Nathan ELDER, Tom PHIPP, Joe HOWE, Lanre AZEEZ (Liam ENVER-MARUM 61), Stefan PAYNE, Ashley CAREW (Liam BELLAMY 68), David AZIN, Ubay LUZARDO
Subs: Ryan BLAKE, Moses ASHIKODI, Jack SAVILLE
Referee: Mr. D. Treleavan