10-man Hampton push Fleet to limit
Hampton nearly nick all the points, despite playing second half a man short.
Despite the Beavers having Duncan Culley dismissed just before the interval, it took a 90th minute strike from Ebbsfleet's Bradley Bubb to get the title challengers a point as the visitors struggled against the 10 man Beavers after their emphatic win in midweek.
A tight first half showed that both sides knew how big the game was, the only chance of note coming to Hampton, a cross being tipped over the bar by keeper Nathan Ashmore.
Just before the break, Duncan Culley, having been booked a few minutes previously for a soft challenge, went into another challenge with Ashmore with a high foot, the referee showing him a second yellow card.
In the early minutes of the second half, the Beavers looked the more threatening, despite being a man light. Shamir Mullings will be disappointed to not have been able to convert a couple of chances just after the break; the first being blocked by Ashmore and the rebound lifted over the bar.
However, on the hour they took the lead, a little against the run of play.
Harold Odametey showed persistence in chasing the ball down as the defenders dithered; on collecting the ball, he managed to get a yard clear of the defence on the edge of the box, lobbing the ball neatly over Ashmore and into the net.
5 minutes later, the Fleet were awarded a penalty for a trip on Anthony Cook just inside the box as the defender looked to turn. Danny Kedwell stepped up and his firmly struck attempt into the corner of the net was well read by Sam Howes, who pushed it around the post.
Howes was called on again with 5 minutes left, having to make a double save to deny the Fleet a goal as Hampton defended deep, leaving lone striker Shamir Mullings up front.
However, with 90 minutes almost up, Ebbsfleet got their equaliser. A defensive clearance went straight up in the air, Bradley Bubb was underneath and with neat control, turned and fired the shot past Howes and into the net, giving the Fleet a point they had scarcely earned.
After the match Fleet manager Daryl McMahon was a relieved man. "That was a huge goal from Bradley (Bubb) there at the end as this is a tough place to come. We weren't on our game today and the goal we conceded was poor, but Hampton worked really hard after their sending off."
Alan Dowson, although disappointed at not being able to hold on for the win, was proud of the team. "The boys battled really well and they gave everything out there. I cannot fault the effort they put in."
Photo (c) Ben Harrison-Hyde