Published: 09:00, 03 January 2022
| Updated: 09:43, 03 January 2022
Ebbsfleet boss Dennis Kutrieb felt his team dominated the derby against Dartford after picking up three vital points.
The win moved the Fleet to within two points of new National League South leaders Maidstone with a game in hand.
“We dominated the game from my point of view,” claimed Kutrieb. “From the first to the last minute, everyone put a great shift in and worked hard.
“When you see our strikers running back and making tackles, winning their duels - that’s what we asked for before the game.
“We needed to be on top of them in every 50/50, we needed to win our headers and make the right decisions at the right moments and that’s what we did. I couldn’t see much from them to be honest but it’s more I have to look after us and I’m pleased we put a great shift in.”
Kutrieb celebrated Ben Chapman’s late winner with added vigour but claimed that was down to avoiding a second successive goalless draw at home, rather than any particular added significance given the locality of the two teams.
A derby win is always welcome, of course, but Kutrieb felt his team should have scored earlier.
“I definitely enjoyed it,” said the Fleet boss. “The reasons were easy to see because when you dominate an opponent for two games in a row, like we did against Billericay and we did (against Dartford) and you don’t score, you stand there and think ‘how can this happen, how can we not score a goal?’
“We had enough chances to score a goal but we didn’t so when the game is still tight and only a few minutes to go, you think here we go again. Of course, I celebrated but that was more relief for the last two games.
“For me, this game was the same as Billericay because we were on top, dominated for 90 minutes. They had a big chance in the last minute of the first half when we made a big mistake and they had a good chance after we scored our goal. But for a derby and for a top team of the league I couldn’t see many chances from them.
“The scoreline matters, nothing else. You can say you played a great game but after the draw on Tuesday, we had to win. All other things equal, if you want to be top of the table at the end of the season, you need to manage to get points.
“You can’t be on top of the opponent and get two draws in a row with such dominating performances.
“If you have an off-day like we had a bit against Maidstone or don’t play well like in the second half at Dulwich then it’s a different story, but when you’re on top of your opponent, you need to make sure you get the right result.”
The game was played at a terrific pace, especially the opening 20 minutes.
It was a deliberate tactic from the home side, with the Fleet boss demanding a fast start and a front-foot approach.
“That’s what we wanted,” said Kutrieb. “We wanted to start quick and bright and dominate the first minutes to make an impact but still deliver the basics right. That’s what the boys did, and I’m really proud of them.
“The basics are key points in a derby and we were on top of them. Not every 50/50 decision was our one but many were for us, even when the referee gave them for them we didn’t get distracted and kept going, moving the ball forward as quickly as we could.
“We could see that they were vulnerable in some areas but we didn’t manage to score from there so I was happy when we finally scored the goal.”