Published: 10:00, 24 November 2021
| Updated: 15:26, 24 November 2021
Manager Dennis Kutrieb felt his Ebbsfleet team’s decision-making was lacking in their derby loss to Maidstone on Tuesday night.
The Fleet won their first two Kent derbies in National League South, 5-1 against Tonbridge and 6-0 over Welling this season.
But they were left stunned by an impressive Maidstone side who twice came from behind in a crazy 13-minute first-half spell before Sam Corne’s second-half winner secured a 3-2 success for the visitors.
“It was not outstanding pressing or that we had no gaps where we could play,” said Kutrieb.
“I think we needed to be brave in the right areas and play football even when it was tough.
“Perhaps we were a little bit tired in the head rather than the legs from the Saturday game and we made more wrong decisions than right decisions.
“When we could play short we played long, when we had to play long we tried to play short. It was not really working for us and I can’t say I was surprised because as a manager you are always aware your team can have a small dip.
“As I said before, I don’t take it for granted if we win 6-0 or have a great performance because it’s football. In every game, anything can happen and we need to make sure we work hard and are fresh in our head every game.
“If the decision-making is wrong, like it was against Maidstone, that’s the key point, then you have problems to win games.”
Fleet’s passing never really got going, whether that was down to Maidstone or a lack of composure from the hosts in a heated derby is a matter of debate.
At least Kutrieb was content that it was an off-day from all of his players rather than individual mistakes that ended up costing them.
“It was missing in all areas,” he added. “When we passed the ball it was too slow, it was not quick enough to come from one side to the other.
“Rakish Bingham was outstanding in the first half for us, he was really good, but in the second half the whole team was not determined enough to pass the ball in the right areas.
“We tried to play with long balls that they easily defended because that’s their strength, to defend long and high balls. We wanted to play on the floor but it was not working well for us.
“If I’m honest, the decision-making was key. We made more wrong than right decisions, especially in important situations.”
Both teams scored twice in a goal-laden spell early in the game.
But the warning signs were already there for the Fleet boss.
“Even after we scored I was happy but I was concerned as I could see it was not our game in the first 10-15 minutes,” added Kutrieb.
“I tried to tell the boys to calm down and play, and then we conceded straight away the first goal. Then we scored the second goal and I thought again, now we can calm down but we conceded again, an easy goal.
“It was a crazy game but when I had the feeling (in the second half) that the opponent was getting a little tired, we conceded the third goal and that gave them a big lift to come through the last 30 minutes.
“Overall when you look at the 90 minutes it was not good enough from us, as simple as that.”
Ebbsfleet missed the chance to go top of National League South.
It was something that Kutrieb didn’t want to come into the equation but he admitted it might have played a role in their defeat.
“I think it was one of those days but it’s always a different game when you can go up the table and no-one else is playing,” added the Fleet boss.
“I said it before to all of you, it’s always tough when you are the only one playing and you can make it. Perhaps it is in the back of their minds and they start to think about things they didn’t think of before.
“At least we can say the whole team was not good enough and that makes me look forward more positively, it was not stupid mistakes. When we get better and make better decisions we will win our games again.”