AN injury-time equaliser denied Warrington Town victory over National League side Ebbsfleet United but they are still in the hat for the next round of the FA Trophy.
Substitute Gerard Kinsella thought he had fired the Yellows to a cup upset when he swept home seven minutes from time, only for Sean Shields’ 93rd minute equaliser to force a replay on Tuesday night.
It was the least the Yellows deserved following an excellent performance in Kent where they had the better of the chances.
They were dealt a significant blow in the build up to the game, when number one goalkeeper Tony McMillan pulled up in the warm up with a calf injury, meaning youngster Ben Ascroft, who hadn’t even been included on the bench due to illness, had to be drafted in to start in goal.
It was a lively opening 10 minutes as both sides felt each other out, Ascroft getting an early morale-boosting solid punch off a cross.
It took half an hour for a real chance of note, Danny Kedwell finding some space after hesitation in the Yellows defence and his shot was well beaten away by Ascroft.
The hosts were growing frustrated by the tireless running of Warrington’s forward line and Sean Williams marshalled the midfield superbly too.
Such was the quality of Warrington’s overall performance though that the hosts were forced in to a change before the break, bringing on Jack Connors for Chris Bush to re-shuffle their back line.
A strong run by Dylan Vassallo from midfield set up Devarn Green, who lashed a shot wide and at half time it was goalless.
Clearly frustrated at the break, Ebbsfleet came out with renewed vigour after half time and Luke Coulson had a shot fly over in the opening 30 seconds.
But that vigour was almost blown out within two minutes as Jamie McDonald tried an audacious lob of Nathan Ashmore from all of 40 yards that had the ‘keeper scampering back to tip over the bar.
In fact it would be Warrington that would enjoy the better chances.
On 54 minutes, a short corner from Williams to Green was returned back to him, and his right foot shot whistled past the far post.
Just after the hour mark, Green himself had a good chance, driving from the centre circle and firing a left foot shot away that had Ashmore at full stretch low to his left and the big ‘keeper did well to hold on to the ball with McDonald waiting to pounce.
It looked like the best chance had come on 78 minutes when Ashmore flapped at a Green cross and the ball fell for Liam Goulding, who shot towards the unguarded goal but it was blocked by a defender.
That was until seven minutes from time. Vassallo found a rampaging Rory McKeown charging down the left channel and his pull back was steered in to the back of the net by super sub Kinsella to the delight of the travelling bench and fans.
It was then just a case of hanging on for the Yellows for the rest of the 90 and the five added minutes.
But it wasn’t to be. A long ball forward fell kindly for Shields and he steadied himself and shot across Ascroft to level things at 1-1 and force another replay – their fourth in the competition this season – for Warrington on Tuesday night.
Ebbsfleet United: Ashmore, Rance (Payne), Winfield, Powell (Drury), Kedwell, Shields, Magri, Coulson, Bush (Connors), Wilson. Unused subs: McCoy, Jordan.
Warrington Town: Ascroft, Carden, McKeown, Williams (Barnes), McCarten, Goulding, Green, Vassallo, McDonald, Gray (Beeley), Hayhurst (Kinsella). Unused subs: Bakkor, Milne.
WARRINGTON GOAL AGAINST EBBSFLEET. FAIR PLAY AND PROBABLY DESERVED TO WIN IT. WELL DONE AND GOOD LUCK IN YOUR PROMOTION PUSH. @theyellows #Warrington #Yellows #Wtfc #warringtontown #Eufc #Ebbsfleet #Fleet #FATrophy pic.twitter.com/npS5KnweWV
— Nathan Holt (@NathanHoltYt) January 13, 2018
Massive thanks to all the fans who travelled today you were the extra man out there for us and all the followers on social media rooting for us, huge replay Tuesday for a place in the last 16
— Toby Macormac (@ChairmanWTFC) January 13, 2018