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Ebbsfleet United striker Darren McQueen raising his game against National League defences

Darren McQueen was relieved to get back on the goal trail at Dover on Monday.

The 22-year-old earned Fleet a point in the Kent derby when he popped up to score 15 minutes from time.

It was his first strike since the opening day of the season and although McQueen’s 23 goals for the club have come at a rate of almost one per start, five games without scoring for a young man of his high standards was quite long enough.

Darren McQueen strides forward during Ebbsfleet's 1-1 draw at Dover Picture: Andy Payton
Darren McQueen strides forward during Ebbsfleet's 1-1 draw at Dover Picture: Andy Payton

He said: "I’ve been on a drought and needed a goal. I’ve been working hard, doing a lot of running and not getting a reward.

"It was a scruffy finish but I’ll take that all day. For all the work I did in the game, I think I deserved it."

This is the highest level the former Tottenham and Ipswich youngster has played at.

"I’ve dealt with it well but I have noticed a difference," McQueen said. "Defenders are better and they’re a bit more clever so I’ve had to up my game. My movement has to be a lot better for me to get chances.

"In some games, they’ve dropped off straight away because they know what I’m going to do – but that allows me to come short. I just have to mix up my game."

McQueen believes Fleet will be a force in the National League if they can stop conceding the first goal.

They’ve had to come from behind five times already this season, including Monday’s game at Crabble.

McQueen said: "If we’re looking at the state of the game, it is a good point, but we wanted a win. The way we played, we probably should have got the win.

"The way Dover play, we had to not get sucked into it and keep our style. After their goal, it triggered us – but we need to come away from that. We need to start games how we know we can and not get sucked into how other teams play.

"We played a lot of football in the second half, created a lot of chances and most of the game was played in their third but we need to be more clinical.

"We haven’t started a lot of games well and been trailing in a lot of games.

"We’re still adapting to the league. As the games come we’ll get better but it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

"I think we’ll do well this season. We’re slowly growing and as the season goes on, people will start seeing the real Ebbsfleet.

"The manager always says there’s no one in the league we should fear.

"Every team has good individuals but no one has a strong enough team that we need to be scared of because we’ve got great players."

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