Published: 06:00, 12 January 2020
Ebbsfleet United boss Kevin Watson was hearing voices on Saturday – but for all the right reasons!
The Fleet made five changes following the league drubbing at Barrow and it paid dividends as they defeated King’s Lynn in the FA Trophy – despite an early red card for Andre Blackman.
Fleet are now in Monday’s last 16 draw and the impact of debutants Jermaine McGlashan and keeper David Gregory was not lost on the manager.
“Glash has been training with us, he has been excellent and we signed him a couple of days ago,” said Watson.
“I thought David Gregory was a calming influence as well behind our back four.
“I could hear voices out there as well, organising, which has not been a strong point of ours – and a willingness to hang on to win the game. It was really pleasing.
“I’ve heard many times ‘break from the league’, ‘free hit’ – there’s no free hit, it’s the FA Trophy which we are now in the last 16.
“I said to my players ‘do you not want a day out at Wembley? Because I certainly do’. I want to go to Wembley, and I want to go as far as we can in this competition.”
The main talking point was the first-half red card for Blackman following an off the ball incident which saw Lynn’s Ross Barrows go down holding his face.
That melee was sparked by an initial challenge from visiting captain Ryan Jarvis on Fleet skipper Josh Payne, with the home side claiming there was a stamp involved.
“Disappointed to go down to 10 men, we’ll have to have a look at it,” said Watson.
“I had my thoughts on what happened, in fact I saw what happened.
“For me raising your arm to brush off someone’s hand who has grabbed hold of you shouldn’t be a sending-off, and, also, treading on someone’s face, should be.
“We hung in there, we kept our shape and we didn’t chase it. I said to the boys at half-time, they can have all of the ball they want in front of you, when they start playing through the midfield and trying to get through little gaps, that’s when we nick it.
“I’m delighted off the back of last week. Including myself, we were all very disappointed with our performances.
“You always look back and think you could have done something different, admittedly against an excellent Barrow side.
“Going down to 10 men again, playing against a team that’s won 11 out of 13 in their division, we defended well.
“We did a lot of work with the back four this week, closing gaps, watching runners from midfield, being strong, being diligent, and they carried it out to the letter.
“The sending-off did disrupt us and you’re thinking here we go again.
“I said at half-time you will always get one chance, no matter how much of the ball King’s Lynn had.
“To be fair, I think David Gregory only had to make one good save early from the corner and apart from that it was a really good well-organised performance.
“I’m really proud of what they produced. Not many people with the players we had out would have expected us to get a result but these boys never seem to surprise me.”
More by this authorMatthew Panting