Ebbsfleet started well, but their final balls were of insufficient quality to trouble the Celtic back line, and Celtic edged into the game to take control with Torpey having a curling shot well saved by Cronin in the Fleet goal, before Barwick unleashed a trademark shot that kept the home keeper on his toes. Midway through the half, Briggs took the ball from Hand in the centre circle and found Torpey in acres of space. The Celtic wide man cut inside and found Joynes at the corner of the box, and the Celtic front man fired low across Cronin to open the scoring.
The second half saw Ebbsfleet start brightly again, but it was a double substitution that undid Celtic, with Ibe and Ricketts giving way to Moore and Shakes. The pressure suddenly seemed to be all one way, with Ebbsfleet looking to get back into a game they were out of, and the new substitutes, Moore especially, caused Celtic all kinds of problems.
It wasn?t until midway through the second half that a period of sustained pressure from the Conference Premier team saw them unlock the Celtic defence. A long ball cut out the midfield and was well brought down by Moore, he pulled the ball back into the path of Long who made no mistake putting the ball just out of Phillips?s reach.
Moments later, and Celtic were behind. Long?s ball found Hand, and he raced through a gap before placing the ball low to Phillips?s right.
Celtic were starting to look tired, the long layoff since their last game on Boxing Day having an impact on match fitness, and Williams and Platt came on to freshen up the attack. Smart found Barlow down the left, and the Celtic man raced forward before whipping in a cross to the centre of the box where Platt was steaming in with seconds on the clock. Platt got good contact on the header, but directed it straight at Cronin. A yard either side, and a replay would have been required, as it was Celtic saw their Trophy aspirations evaporate for another year.