After Nathan Elder?s last minute equaliser on New Years? Day, The Fleet had a taste of their own medicine as Lincoln City left it late to grab a 1-1 draw at Stonebridge Road.
The Fleet dominated possession for long periods of the game, and also lead for most of the match thanks to Tom Phipp?s long-range drive. However, the side failed to make the most of chances given to them, and Conner Robinson?s late goal for Lincoln makes it five league games without a victory for Ebbsfleet.
Although the result means that The Fleet move up a place, the gap between the side and safety has been widened to four points.
After Lanre Azeez?s influential second-half substitute appearance against Dartford on New Year?s Day, manager Liam Daish gave him a start in place of James Folkes, who dropped out of the squad all together. This was the only change from New Years? Day, and Giannoulis Fakinos took Azeez?s place on the bench.
Lincoln manager David Holdsworth fielded a fluid formation that seemed to alternate between 4-4-2 and 4-3-3, with captain Alan Power often at the centre of their attacking play.
Power himself almost opened the scoring early on, as he nearly took advantage of poor marking from a short corner to curl a long range shot from the left-wing that struck the bar and went over.
Craig Stone then had to be alert to clear the ball from a throw-in that looked like it may sneak in at the back post as Lincoln looked to make a positive start to the game.
However, this start soon subsided and the game entered a subdued pattern of both sides playing at a high tempo, whilst also giving away possession on a regular basis.
It took until the 22nd minute for The Fleet to have their first real opportunity of the match. A cross into the box found Paul Lorraine, the Fleet captain seemed to be taken by surprise and his first touch was heavy, meaning goalkeeper Paul Farman was able to narrow the angle, eventually saving Lorraine?s shot with his head.
As the half progressed, both sides huffed and puffed, yet had no chances to show for their effort and the quality of the match started to deteriorate until, in the 36th minute, Tom Phipp scored a goal unbefitting of such a game. Receiving the ball on the left wing from Joe Howe, Phipp drove forward and unleashed a long-range drive from 25-yards that whistled past Farman and into the top corner.
A moment of controversy followed, as Liam Enver-Marum had a close range shot blocked by Andrew Boyce. Fleet fans and players screamed for a penalty for handball, yet the referee was unmoved.
The second-half began with an unusual booking for Lincoln substitute Bradley Barraclough, after the referee was not informed of the substitution, meaning Barraclough was carded for entering the field of play without the referee?s permission.
The Fleet made the better start to the second-half, with Phipp and Nathan Elder both shooting wide early on.
Lincoln?s Nicky Nicolau, then recreated Power?s shot in the first-half, as he also hit the bar with a curling shot from the left wing.
The Fleet soon began to control possession, yet were unable to show anything for it. The impressive Liam Enver-Marum chased down a long ball and went down in the penalty area, yet was booked for diving, before flicking a Phipp pass across goal and wide.
After The Fleet?s period of domination, Lincoln soon began to come back into the match. Phipp was forced to clear off the line as the hosts began to drop deeper into their own half. Preston Edwards was then forced to save Jamie Taylor?s free header.
The Fleet did still look dangerous on the counter-attack, and Farman did well to turn a Carew shot round the post after a quick break.
Lincoln began to have the better of the play, yet looked like they were heading for defeat as they failed to make the most of a series of free-kicks they were given in the final 10 minutes. However, with seconds remaining, Taylor crossed the ball into the box and an unmarked Robinson volleyed in from the edge of the area to grab a dramatic equaliser.
TEAM: Edwards, Stone, Lorraine, Walsh, Howe, Azeez, Phipp, Barrett, Carew (Bellamy 88), Enver-Marum, Elder. Subs not used: Menz, Blake, Fakinos, Williams