Published: 11:30, 25 April 2014 |
Updated: 16:07, 25 April 2014
Securing play-off football with a win at Concord was particularly sweet for Ebbsfleet captain Daryl McMahon.
There was a significant subtext to the game on Canvey Island, the first meeting between the sides having been abandoned when the floodlights at the Aspect Arena went out with Ebbsfleet 2-0 up.
Players, supporters and officials became embroiled in a huge debate in the days that followed and the FA eventually ordered the game to be replayed in full, nine days later.
McMahon said: "A lot was made of being here the last time. Being 2-0 up, we were very disappointed the game was abandoned.
"It’s a hard place to come and you could see how desperate they were to beat us; their staff and their players. I know there’s been a lot of stuff on Twitter from their chairman, that they won’t let us get into the play-offs – well, we have, and we’ve done it here at a hard place and we’re delighted to do it here.
"We wanted to win here to put it to bed (rather than need a result on the final day of the season). We’re always on it as a group. I know sometimes we play bad, like anyone does, but as a group, the changing-room’s always on it. We’re always ready to go into any game and we were prepared for that."
McMahon's fantastic free-kick, seven minutes from time, proved to be the winner - although Preston Edwards' penalty save moments later was ultimately the clincher.
So what was McMahon thinking when his set-piece hit the back of the Concord net?
"This is it. Just get to the final whistle and keep them out," he said. "But obviously we conceded a pen about 10 seconds later, so that sort of summed it up. The linesman said it wasn’t a penalty, their lad said it wasn’t a penalty and the ref said it was, which was disappointing. But Preston’s made a save and earned his money.
"Once Preston saved the penalty, as a group, we were very level-headed. We saw the game out, we did the right things, we defended well, we stuck it in the right areas. The lads who came on also did very well. People that haven’t played, people that aren’t here, throughout the whole season everyone’s worked hard to get us in the play-offs."
Ebbsfleet are almost certain to meet Bromley in the play-off semi-finals, but first they entertain relegated Dorchester on Saturday. The club has made the final game of the regular season free entry for all supporters and McMahon wants his side to entertain the bumper crowd at Stonebridge Road.
He said: "I’m looking forward to Dorchester on Saturday. We all are. Now that we’re in there, we’re done, hopefully we can go out there on Saturday and put on a good show for the fans. I know it’s free, so let’s hope we fill it up and we can put a good show on and get people back for (the first leg on) Wednesday night."
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