Ebbsfleet United progressed into the last 16 of the FA Trophy with a hard-fought win over Chester whose never-say-die attitude contributed to a pulsating and intriguing cup tie. Having watched the Northern Premier League leaders last week, Liam Daish – serving a suspension alongside Liam Enver-Marum – made no changes to his starting line-up.
Chester began proceedings like a side that has got used to winning, full of confidence and keen to test the mettle of their higher-placed opponents. They had sight of the Fleet goal early on as the tall, awkward Matt McNeill battled with Paul Lorraine to release a ball wide to Liam Brownhill who planted a low shot just wide of the post.
The Fleet failed to take heed as Chester continued to get forward, finding their men with ease. Jamie Rainford tried his luck with another close shot and Anton Sarcevic tested Preston Edwards who commanded his area well. A number of corners caused trouble and Fleet had to clear McNeill’s flick-on off the line. Fleet barely got out of their half, and only had half chances, Nathaniel Pinney’s snapshot causing goalkeeper John Danby a wobble.
Chester felt they should have had a penalty on 19 minutes when