FC Halifax Town threw away a 1-0 lead in the second half as Ebbsfleet United came from behind to win 2-1 with goals from debutant, Corey Whitely and former Man City man, Luke Coulson.
The Shaymen started the game the stronger team with Matty Kosylo producing a number of chances within the first 10 minutes.
There was a major penalty appeal from Town fans and players just five minutes into the game as the winger was brought down in the box.
Match referee, Matthew Dicicco quickly waved play on with the ball falling to Town midfielder, Connor Oliver. The large number of Ebbsfleet bodies in the box meant that the former North Ferriby man failed to get his shot away, leaving the score at 0-0.
Ebbsfleet’s Nathan Ashmore produced two magnificent saves in the space of less than a minute as Tom Denton threatened the away goal on two consecutive corners.
The visiting side had their first clear chance with Luke Coulson forcing Sam Johnson to produce a save with his legs just before the 20-minute mark.
The referee made his first booking in the 26th minute when Lawrie Wilson fouled Connor Oliver in front of the Halifax dugout. Denton was the second player in the book, receiving a yellow for a soft foul moments later.
Town finally broke the deadlock in the 36th minute when Kosylo was brought down in the Ebbsfleet box winning a penalty. The winger stepped up to send Ashmore the wrong way giving Town the lead.
Just five minutes later, Halifax were forced to make the first change of the game when Josh MacDonald picked up an injury. The winger was replaced by on-loan forward, Shaun Tuton.
Both sides made changed at halftime with Michael Duckworth coming on for Cliff Moyo whilst Ebbsfleet gave Corey Whitely his debut as he replaced Weston.
10 minutes into the second half saw, debutant Whitley score his first goal for the club. Town allowed Danny Kedwell time in the box. Goalkeeper, Johnson initially pulled off a great save but Whitley knocked the ball into the net on the rebound with his left foot at the back post.
Just before the hour mark, Coulson found space in the box giving him the chance to head home Ebbsfleet’s second of the game. Under no pressure, the former Man City youngster put the ball straight past Johnson before running over to celebrate with teammate, Chris Bush.
Bush came on for United, replacing Wilson in the 65th minute. This was followed by Ebbsfleet making their final change with Jack Powell coming on for Dean Rance in the 70th minute.
Ebbsfleet had an opportunity to add to their lead when Kenny Clark was found in the box from a corner. The defender knocked his shot just wide to Town’s relief.
Halifax made their final change of the game with 15 minutes left on the clock. Ben Tomlinson came on for Jake Hibbs to give the home side another attacking option.
With five minutes left on the clock, Matty Brown had the chance to equalise when his header was cleared at the back post.
There was a big coming together in the 87th minute when Tomlinson and Ashmore clashed, this lead to almost every player on the pitch except, Brown, Garner and Johnson getting involved. Tomlinson and Ashmore both received a yellow for the incident.
Johnson also got his name taken for a foul on Whitely, the striker was challenged on the edge of the box, winning a free-kick in the dying moments of the game. Powell’s shot hit the side netting to end the game.
1 Sam Johnson, 2 Cliff Moyo (39 Michael Duckworth 46), 5 Matthew Brown ©, 6 Scott Garner, 7 Matthew Kosylo, 9 Tom Denton, 10 Connor Oliver, 11 Scott McManus, 15 Josh MacDonald (34 Shaun Tuton 42′), 22 Michael Collins, 20 Jake Hibbs (14 Ben Tomlinson 76)
Subs: 8 Nathan Hotte, 13 Tom Nicholson
Ebbsfleet: 1 Nathan Ashmore, 4 Dean Rance (7 Jack Powell 71), 5 Dave Winfield ©, 6 Kenny Clark, 8 Andy Drury, 9 Danny Kedwell, 11 Myles Weston (28 Corey Whitely 46), 16 Jack Payne, 24 Sam Magri, 25 Luke Coulson, 27 Lawrie Wilson (26 Chris Bush 65)
Subs: 13 Jonathan Miles, 17 Sean Shields
Goals: Kosylo 36′ Whiteley 55, Coulson 60
Yellow Cards: Wilson 27′, Denton 35′, Tuton 62′, Ashmore 88′, Johnson 90′
Red Cards: None
Attendance: 1762 (122 away)
FC Halifax Town 1 Ebbsfleet United 2 FT
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