Bayliss and Goddard strike as Rebels earn replay

Ebbsfleet United

Ebbsfleet United

Luthra (o.g. 47, o.g. 79)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Bayliss (2), Goddard (55)
FA Cup Attendance: 1134
A turbulent and exciting clash against National League Ebbsfleet United left the Rebels frustrated not to have emerged victorious, as goals from Dan Bayliss and Johnny Goddard were nullified by two unfortunate own goals by goalkeeper Rohan Luthra, writes Freddie Gatrell.

The two sides will need to do it all again at Arbour Park on Tuesday evening, with a home First Round tie against Grimsby Town of League Two as the reward for the victor early next month.

The Kuflink Stadium was swiftly silenced by the rampant Rebels almost immediately after kick-off, with Scott Davies' men quickest out of the blocks against Dennis Kutrieb's side, who appeared shocked by the directness of the Slough attack.

A feverish opening spell led to Mark Cousins turning behind a fierce strike from Johnny Goddard for Slough's first corner of the game. The ball was whipped in brilliantly by Matt Lench, finding the head of a rising Dan Bayliss, who arrowed the ball directly into the bottom corner, leaving Cousins in Ebbsfleet's goal completely flat-footed.

After such a fast start, the Rebels appeared hungry for more, with Goddard seeing another shot blocked on the line and Munashe Sundire's long-distance effort only narrowly wide.

This seemed to be a wake-up call for the hosts, who began to patiently regain control of possession and push Slough into a much more defensive setup. Ebbsfleet continually threatened the Slough defence, with wide man Darren McQueen causing havoc down the left wing.

Despite the hosts generally dominating possession, the Rebels dug in well, limiting the hosts to half-chances and deservedly went into the halftime break a goal to the good.

The second half started vastly differently from the first, with the hosts winning an early corner kick in the 47th minute. This well-struck corner was fired directly into the danger area, with Rohan Luthra unfortunately spilling the ball into the back of his net, restoring parity for the hosts.

For a moment, it appeared to take the wind out of the sails of a buoyant Rebels side who had been unbeaten for so long. Despite this early setback, Scott Davies and his men dug in, pushing Ebbsfleet back into their own half.

This good spell of play was rewarded after an excellent attacking move by the Rebels, as a bombarding run by Tyrese Dyce allowed the full-back time to fire a driven cross right into the heart of the Fleet defence, which was not dealt with by Cousins, who could only palm the ball away as far as Goddard, who expertly thrashed the ball home from 12 yards out, much to the delight of the traveling Slough contingent.

With the lead restored in the 55th minute, it was up to the visitors to hold on for the remainder of the second half, which proved to be an extremely challenging task. Even so, a confident Rebels side appeared to have what it takes, dealing with wave after wave of Fleet attacks and with the returning Dominic Poleon, who has been prolific for Ebbsfleet so far this season.

With just 11 minutes left of the 90, the resolve of the Slough backline was eventually broken, with another dangerous corner whipped into a packed penalty area, seeing the ball forced over the line, still in the hands of Luthra. The subsequent uproar from Luthra and the rest of the Slough team fell on deaf ears, as the referee waved away any complaints of the goalkeeper being pushed into his own net.

The remainder of the tie was a nervy affair, as Slough managed to hold out for a replay at Arbour Park. The Rebels will feel disappointed not to have come away triumphant against strong opposition but will feel hopeful they have what it takes to progress to a meeting with the Mariners, with the Rebels now 8 games unbeaten in all competitions.

Image: Adam Mitten

Ebbsfleet United Lineup

Cousins, White, Hollis, Cissé, Domi, Edser, Fanimo (Sterling-James 46), McQueen, Tanner, Amoo (Poleon 61), Odokonyero (Coulthirst 74). Unused substitutes: O’Neill, Wright, Chapman, Ibe


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