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Ebbsfleet United manager Dennis Kutrieb reacts to 2-2 draw with Chippenham in National League South

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Ebbsfleet boss Dennis Kutrieb was “gutted” after his team lost their grip on third place in National League South on Saturday.

The Fleet twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Chippenham in National League South on Saturday, denied a late win by the woodwork and a point-blank save by visiting keeper Will Henry.

Chris Solly makes it 2-2 for Ebbsfleet against Chippenham. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC (56385279)
Chris Solly makes it 2-2 for Ebbsfleet against Chippenham. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC (56385279)

Although a home win would have been harsh on play-off hopefuls Chippenham who also hit the woodwork twice and deserved something for their efforts.

With two games remaining, the Fleet are now relying on Dartford to drop points if they are to regain third place and avoid a potential extra play-off match.

“I’m really gutted because it was possible to win this game, we had enough chances in the end to finish the game and get the three points,” said Kutrieb.

“I think we deserved (to win) but the first half was nowhere near good enough. It was too slow, not playing forward, just playing from side to side.

“If you don’t try to hit the opponent and hurt them it’s easy for them just to defend and that was not good enough.

“We made a change at half-time, the second half was much better but still not enough to win the game.

“The (two goals we conceded) were way too easy. A shot from 25 yards, needs to be better defended, and a set-piece as well. It was not good enough.

“I don’t know if the ball was out or not (for the corner that led to the second goal) but I can say 100 per cent for sure that the linesman can’t see it as the sun was there and two posts are in the way. He was very confident to raise his flag and that surprised me a little bit.”

There was an air of frustration around Stonebridge Road even before Chippenham scored their opener on 30 minutes.

Home fans were making their opinions heard, with disgruntled voices not impressed by their side’s display.

Kutrieb reflected: “If they are getting anxious and don’t trust our players then maybe the (players) feel affected because if our own fans are starting to moan, it’s not easier for a player. It’s more complicated because they feel the pressure.

“Normally at home you should feel more confident because the fans are behind you and trying to push you but at the end of the day we need to get on with it.

“The situation was that we haven’t played quick enough and forward, we did that much better second half.”

Ebbsfleet now travel to relegation-threatened Billericay on Bank Holiday Monday.

It’s a quick turnaround and Kutrieb could shuffle his pack with Alfie Egan expected to return from injury. However, Greg Cundle is not likely to be used until the final day of the season.

“We have just two days,” said Kutrieb. “It’s a ridiculous schedule, done by someone who hasn’t played football as always the second day after a game is the most crucial time for picking up injuries so we need to be very careful who we pick and who is fit and able to go again.

“We need to take our chances better and make sure we don’t concede stupid goals, and be on top of our performance for 90 minutes, not just 45.

“We don’t want to risk players too much who can get injured but we need to get the points. Egan should be fine, he is ready to go, but Cundle maybe next week – we need to see day by day.”

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