Ebbsfleet 2-0 Braintree
The FA Carlsberg Trophy
Tuesday 3rd February 2015
Ebbsfleet are through to the FA Trophy quarter-finals for the first time in six years after a battling victory over Braintree at the PHB Stadium on Tuesday night.
Danny Kedwell opened the scoring, eight minutes before half-time, after which the home side came under huge pressure from their Vanarama Conference visitors. But the Fleet dealt with everything Braintree could throw at them and Adam Cunnington’s late strike clinched a third successive victory over higher-ranked opposition in this Trophy run. Jamie Day’s side now travel to North Ferriby United, of Conference North, in the last-eight on Saturday knowing they are now just two wins from Wembley.
Braintree’s first attempt on goal came from distance. Chez Isaac tried his luck from 35 yards and the ball was veering inside the right-hand post until Preston Edwards dived to turn it behind.
The visitors were winning the midfield battle as some heavy touches by the men in red gifted them cheap possession.
But after Kiernan had shot wide, the home side took a 37th-minute lead.
Cunnington did well to hold the ball up in the right-hand corner and when he fed Fish, the wing-back’s low cross was shovelled out into the six-yard box by Hamann and touched home by Kedwell.
It was very nearly 2-0 at half-time as the home side started to play with confidence. Kiernan’s shot from the left beat Hamann but the goalkeeper was rescued by centre-half Alan Massey, who headed the ball off the line.
Isaac then drilled a free-kick straight at Edwards from 35 yards and the Iron set about pinning Fleet back into their own half. Every player in red, including strikers Kedwell and Cunnington, joined the defensive effort as the home side were really stretched.
Braintree won a series of corners as the pressure kept mounting. One of them dropped on Simeon Akinola’s head and he thought he’d levelled the scores, only to look on in disbelief as Edwards dived low and somehow clawed the ball out of the bottom corner.
The home faithful turned up the volume as time ticked away, knowing their side were under the cosh.
And they were on their feet to salute a match-winning second goal in the 86th minute. Massey dawdled on the edge of his box and Cunnington pounced to roll the ball calmly past Hamann’s right hand.
Braintree substitute Joe Maybanks twice went close at the death but Cunnington’s strike sealed the deal – and a trip to Humberside at the weekend.