Northwich Vics 3 Ebbsfleet United 3
BUTTER fingered Vics let two precious points slip, at the Marston’s Arena.
At 3-1 up they should have dragged that survival place into view, but they were careless when they should have been ruthless.
Ebbsfleet rallied almost immediately, turned up tempo and for the first time in the game the sides took on the appearance their respective positions suggested. An equaliser was not a surprise.
It was a devastating blow for Vics who seemed to have launched a revival when winning at Woking last week.
With the score at 1-0, 2-0 and 3-1 they seemed about to put some meat on the bones of a fightback.
The game itself swung from being dreadful to being a thriller.
For the first half-hour play was dominated by a blasting wind when route one, by accident of the elements or design, was dominate force.
It was Ryan Brown who played the first telling pass of the game, finding a gap in which to release Lee Steele, but his control was poor and goalkeeper Lance Cronin was the winner.
But in the 35th minute Mike Byrne’s low rasper was turned aside by Cronin, Luke Horrocks retrieve the ball at the bye-line and Steele turned it into the net.
Two minutes into the second half another telling forward ball from Brown panicked Gary McDonald and he wrestled Aaron Burns to the ground. McDonald was sent off and Danny Williams netted from the spot.
Williams was stretchered off after a collision shortly after and in the 63rd minute an inattentive defence allowed James Smith to score from a free header off Stacey Long’s corner in the 63rd minute.
In a literally painful irony Smith was later also stretchered off.
Vics restored their two goal margin in 68 minutes when Jamie Mullan beat two men and stabbed the ball to Steele to apply a close range finish.
Less than a minute later Long completed the hard work of George Purcell with a bottom corner shot and Scott Tynan made good saves from Purcell and Scott McPhee as Ebbsfleet searched for the leveller.
It came in the 87th minute, Long providing the cross and Chuckie Eribenne the sharp rising shot.
Vics: Tynan; Byrne (Wilson 85), Belle, Kerr, Brown; Williams (Mullan 53), Carr, Byron, Horrcoks; Burns (Hanley 72)