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Ebbsfleet United manager Dennis Kutrieb reacts to 3-1 win over Oxford City in National League South

Ebbsfleet boss Dennis Kutrieb has revealed the plan was to take two-goal Elliott Romain off at half-time on Saturday.

The Fleet intended to replace Romain with leading scorer Dominic Poleon at the break against Oxford City in National League South.

Ebbsfleet striker Elliott Romain. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC (55415880)
Ebbsfleet striker Elliott Romain. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC (55415880)

But an injury to defender Alex Finney forced Kutrieb’s hand at the interval, Romain stayed on and promptly scored two goals in 13 minutes to justify his continued involvement in the game.

“The plan was to sub Elliott off after 45 minutes but then we needed to sub Finney off and it's one of those nice stories that you get in football,” disclosed Kutrieb.

“Elliott needed to stay on the pitch and within 20 seconds he had scored, and then he scored again with a great header after a good delivery.”

Romain feature in a withdrawn role in the second half as Chris Solly dropped into defence to replace Finney, and the Fleet striker ended up playing as a third central midfielder.

It’s not the first time he’s featured in that role, and it’s an option that has given Kutrieb food for thought.

“He played it in a few training sessions and I thought ‘I really like what he’s doing in that position’ and then we put him there in the second half at Bath last week,” noted the Fleet boss.

“He was outstanding there, and while he didn’t score last week, his work-rate was outstanding. I think this position is a good one for him but the fact he scored two goals was (a bonus).”

The Fleet beat fellow promotion candidates Oxford City 3-1 at Stonebridge Road, the goal conceded the only sour note for Kutrieb on a day when his team again impressed.

Their new-found emphasis on defending has not limited their attacking intent.

“The defensive shape was very good again, even against a strong side,” reflected Kutrieb.

“In the first half they haven’t had any chances, I was really proud of the boys.

“Of course, if you can score a goal like we did with the first one then that makes me very pleased. We wanted to press and win the ball, that’s what happened with Jack Paxman so that was outstanding but that’s more a technical thing for me as a manager.

“In the second half, we scored two more goals and the only negative was that we conceded a goal because I think they did enough to get another clean sheet.

“But Oxford are a strong side and they threw everything at us after we scored the third goal but we’re doing the other side of the game now.

“Our set pieces are working better and better, we said in the week that it’s the first time this season that we’re definitely stronger in the air than our opponent and we should get chances to score from set pieces.”

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