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Ebbsfleet United boss Steve Brown determined not to let Bromley back into Skrill South play-off semi-final

By Steve Tervet

Ebbsfleet United are halfway to the Skrill South play-off final but manager Steve Brown knows an early Bromley goal in the second leg on Saturday could change everything.

Brown's side won the first leg 4-0 on Wednesday night and it would take a remarkable collapse at Hayes Lane for them to lose the semi-final from a position of such strength.

But if Bromley were to get a quick goal, it could still be game on.

Ebbsfleet beat Bromley in the Conference South play-offs at the end of last season Picture: Andy Payton
Ebbsfleet beat Bromley in the Conference South play-offs at the end of last season Picture: Andy Payton

Brown said: "We’ll go off in the first 20 minutes to try to stifle them and kill the game a little bit and quieten the fans down. If you give them something to cheer about within that first 20 minutes, then the tails can be raised.

"It’s like the balance here, when you’re 2-0 up. You don’t really want to go for a third and leave yourselves exposed against 10 men and let them in the game.

"It’s a commanding lead, so I’ll make sure the players are prepared to try to keep another clean sheet. If we get the first goal, it really is curtains (for Bromley)."

Bromley had to play for 80 minutes with 10 men at Stonebridge Road after Ashley Nicholls was shown a straight red card for handling on the line with the Fleet 1-0 up.

Brown said: "I feel sorry for them, in as much as the sending-off ruins it for them so early in the tie, but we’ve still got to go and do a job. There’s always a danger, when someone is that far out of the tie, that they’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.

"I’ve said to the players 'we’re 90 minutes down, we’ve got 90 minutes to go'. We have to approach the game as though it’s a lot tighter than it is. We don’t concede too many goals and we’ll try to do a very thorough, professional job to get through to the final."

The winners will play Sutton or Dover in the final. The first leg of that tie finished 1-1 at Crabble on Wednesday.

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