KENT SENIOR CUP REPORT | Ebbsfleet United 2 Welling United 3
Welling United booked their place in the semi-finals of the Kent Senior Cup with victory over Ebbsfleet United in a feisty affair at the Kuflink Stadium on Tuesday evening.
After taking an early lead through Kyrell Lisbie, the hosts went ahead before half-time before being reduced to 10 men when Elliott Romain was shown a straight red card.
And Warren Feeney’s men dominated from there on in, restoring parity via new boy Sadik Balarabe, before Chi Ezzonlim’s solo effort which was worthy of winning any cup tie.
The Wings took the lead with 12 minutes on the clock through Lisbie.
Antony Papadopoulos played through the striker with a pass from midway in his own half and Lisbie made a dash into the box before sending a crisp finish into the bottom right-hand corner.
The lead would not last long, however, with the hosts levelling from the spot just four minutes later.
A lunging leg from Papadopoulos brought down Franklin Domi, leaving the referee with no choice but to award a penalty. Captain Sido Jombati stepped up, sending Kai McKenzie-Lyle the wrong way to draw level.
And it would not be long before Fleet would take the lead – Darren McQueen side-footing a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner from 20 yards on 21 minutes.
There was a moment of controversy at the other end moments later when Sadik Balarabe unlocked the Ebbsfleet defence and rounded keeper Chris Haigh on the edge of the box. But just as the forward was going to pull the trigger towards the empty net, he was brought down by the struggling stopper.
It looked for all the world as if a red card would be produced, but the referee only reached for a yellow card.
Fleet should have been down to 10 men at that point, so there was, perhaps, a sense of justice when Elliott Romain was given his marching orders on 36 minutes, although it would come at a cost.
The Ebbsfleet number nine threw an elbow at Sam Cox, resulting in the referee reaching straight to his top pocket to send him down the tunnel, but it would also spell the end of Cox’s evening, as he was forced off with a suspected concussion.
Welling used the extra man to their advantage and netted twice early in the second half to pull themselves level and nudge ahead.
First, Balarabe kept his cool in front of goal to pick up a rebound from Abel Vendrells-Percerisa’s initial effort from distance, shimmy to left and fire home.
And five minutes later, Ezennolim came alive on the left, dancing towards the box before taking out three defenders by chopping to his right and plundering a powerful right-footed shot into the back of the net.
Lisbie missed a glorious chance late on to add a fourth when he hit the woodwork from close range after Papadopoulos had been denied by Haigh.
But it mattered not, with the Wings having more than enough to hold on to their one-goal lead to earn victory and will now head to Chatham Town in the semi-finals of the competition.
Ebbsfleet United: Haigh, Jombati, Chapman, Finney, Romain, Coulthirst, Dreher (Shoolbred 46), McQueen, Bullas (Reid 74), Domi, Paxman (Manktelow 88).
Subs (not used): Firth, Lock.
Booked: Haigh 24 (foul on Balarabe), Domi 58 (foul on Vendrells-Percerisa)
Sent off: Romain 36 (violent conduct)
Goals: Jombati 16 (pen), McQueen 21
Welling United: McKenzie-Lyle, Barnes, Parry, Curran, Ezennolim, Cox, Andrews (Dunne 78), Lisbie, Papadopoulos, Vendrells-Parcerisa (Maloney 62), Balarabe.
Subs (not used): Payne, Kassarate, Sendles-White.
Booked: Vendrells-Parcerisa 32 (foul on Chapman), Andrews 45+3 (foul on Chapman), Dunne 90+3 (foul on McQueen)
Goals: Lisbie 12, Balarabe 49, Ezennolim 54
Referee: Scott Rudd
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