'Its not over!' - Dowse
By Rob Overfield
Beavers undone by ill-luck against the Fleet
Although the Beavers ended a goal down after the first leg, this game is far from over as for lengthy spells they matched Ebbsfleet and deserved a more favourable score line.
The Beavers had the worst possible start in the 6th minute as Dean Rance's very speculative shot from 25 yards took a deflection off Harold Odametey and then a second off Nathan Collier to dribble past the wrong footed and helpless Sam Howes in the Hampton goal.
Hampton knew they were going to have a battle and it got a little harder as Harold Odametey was substituted in the 16th minute with a recurrence of a hamstring injury, meaning Sam Gallagher had to come on in his place.
The half was a nervy, hurried affair with neither side being able to stamp any authority on the game and just before the break, Ebbsfleet doubled their lead.
Deering made a dart into the box between two Hampton defenders and went down under minimal contact, the referee being one of the few deciding it was worthy of a penalty.
After the dust had settled, Aaron McLean slammed the spot kick past Howes to give the Fleet some clear water between them and the Beavers.
That only lasted less than two minutes, as Duncan Culley took advantage of a Nathan Ashmore mistake. A back pass took a bobble, and bounced off the keeper's hands as he misjudged the pass; Culley alertly had followed up and was able to dab the ball into the net to keep the Beavers in touch at half time.
Early in the second half, the Beavers put the Ebbsfleet defence under pressure with Christian Jolley chasing a loose back pass to Ashmore, which the keeper only just managed to clear.
Chances were still at a premium, only Brendan Kiernan's shot just after the hour really registering as a clear opening.
The game was a bit tetchy at times and it wasn't until the last 10 minutes that space began to develop and chances appear.
Sam Howes had had a uneventful match to this point but with minutes to go, he had to throw himself across goal to claw away Deering's shot.
Hampton responded pretty quickly as a move down the right between Duncan Culley and Stiven Rivic found Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick on the edge of the area, but the winger's shot didn't dip enough as it landed on the roof of the net.
Deep into added time, Howes had to react instinctively to beat away Andy Drury's close range shot and preserve the score and keep it close for Saturday.
Despite the result, Dowse was still in a positive frame of mind.
"Anybody who thinks it's over must be barking mad! We had a horrible deflection for first goal. TWO deflections, I mean, come on!"
"And don't ask me about the penalty! The ref must be the only bloke in the ground who thought it was one."
"I would never write these lads off, never. Seriously! We can't wait till the game, as we can still win this!"