Carlisle United eased past the potential Ebbsfleet banana skin to claim their place in the FA Cup second round draw but they didn’t have it all their own way as the non-league side came to give as good as they got in an often entertaining game.
“We’re obviously delighted to go through to round two," manager Greg Abbott said. "It’s important for us on a number of levels – financially, for the fans, for the players and for everyone connected to the club – so we have to be pleased with what we’ve done.”
United opened things up with a well-worked attack as Noble and Symington exchanged passes. Garner picked it up and he tested the target with a dipping curler which Edwards had to watch closely.
The Fleet landed the better of the opening blows though and Walsh went close with a looped header from a Howe cross which Collin had to dive to save. A half clearance from that one allowed Azeez to go past his man and Livesey dived in to block as the shot flew in from a tight angle.
Carlisle settled as the half went on and Noble charged down an attempted clearance to open a path to goal. He went for an early volley which Edwards tipped over the bar.
The stopper repeated the feat moments when the corner was pushed clear to the edge of the area. Peter Murphy wrapped his boot round the ball and brought the best out of the alert Edwards as he drilled it through a ruck of bodies.
Ebbsfleet held their shape and stayed deep and United had to work hard to find any kind of space. Cadamarteri had to shoot early from distance and man-of-the-moment Edwards did well to beat the ball away as he came under pressure.
Liam Noble missed the chance of the first half when he arrived late in the box to meet a Cadamarteri cross. His header was clean but it bounced up off the surface and into the keeper’s hands.
The increasing unease on the terraces was calmed on the stroke of half time when Collin released the ball quickly as he plucked a deep free kick out of the air. Garner did the rest of the work in midfield and his through ball allowed teenager Dave Symington to mark his first ever start for the club with an expertly finished strike.
Noble had the first effort from an end-to-end start to the second period when Garner controlled a difficult pass from Symington. The midfielder was off-balance and he screwed his shot well wide.
Enver-Marum caused problems at the other end and his run into the box left two in his wake. He went down as he took his shot but the officials waved away what the visitors felt was a very strong appeal for a penalty.
A Phipp thunderbolt edged just over the target when it took a touch off the alert Edwards but the visitors bagged their deserved equaliser when substitute Nathan Elder checked his run into the box for an Azeez cross. It needed a good connection and he didn’t disappoint as he swept it into the bottom corner from just ten yards out.
"That one took a deflection off Mike Edwards," Adam Collin explained. "It was a decent shot but there wasn't much I could do about it when that happened."
The home lead was restored just three minutes later when Cadamarteri worked some space out wide. A half clearance fell nicely for Noble on the edge of the area and he kept his cool as he stroked the ball past the dive of the frustrated Preston Edwards.
Garner tried to extend the lead as the Cumbrians exploited gaps at the back and Edwards had to spread himself to stop the goal-bound volley.
Ebbsfleet kept going and a surge from Bellamy resulted in a shot which whipped just over with Collin a grateful spectator.
But progression was secured for the league one outfit when James Berrett found a yard of space and rattled an unstoppable 30-yard effort over Edwards and into the back of the net.
There was time for Garner to make it look more comfortable when he guided a late Berrett corner past Edwards with a neatly lobbed header.
The visitors had the final say though when Howe was left unmarked on the edge of the 18-yard area. He rifled a beauty of a finish into the roof of the net but it was United who took the place in the hat for the second round draw.
United - Symington (45), Noble (61), Berrett (81), Garner (87)
Ebbsfleet - Elder (58), Howe (90)
Ebbsfleet - Walsh (5), Bellamy (71)
Carlisle United - Collin, Simek, Livesey, Edwards, Murphy, Noble, Berrett, Chantler (Bugno 85), Symington (Welsh 84), Cadamarteri (McGovern 71), Garner. Subs - Gillespie, Potts, Todd.
Ebbsfleet United - Edwards, Stone, Ada, Walsh (Elder 56), Lorraine, Enver-Marum (Ashikodi 67), Phipp, Howe, Barrett (Soares 77), Bellamy, Azeez. Subs - Menz, Greenhalgh, Folkes, Fakinos.
Referee - Mr Darren Bond
Attendance - 2,373 (102 away fans)