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Ebbsfleet United boss Daryl McMahon on the 3-0 defeat at Tranmere Rovers

Ebbsfleet boss Daryl McMahon refused to be downhearted despite his side continuing their away day struggles at National League title chasers Tranmere Rovers.

The home team dominated proceedings on a bitterly cold Merseyside afternoon, but McMahon was nevertheless content with the performance he witnessed.

“I thought we did very well throughout the game,” he said. “We wanted to be positive playing with two up front and we had a few chances and could have nicked a goal.

Ebbsfleet manager Daryl McMahon Picture: Andy Payton
Ebbsfleet manager Daryl McMahon Picture: Andy Payton

"The goals we conceded were disappointing, coming as they did from long balls. But this is a tough place to come to, we were beaten by a better side and I expect them to come very close to winning the league.”

The 3-0 scoreline could have been much worse for Fleet, but for a combination of wayward home finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Nathan Ashmore. The stopper played the majority of the match with a bandaged head, receiving treatment during and after the match for a cut.

McMahon gave special praise for his performance and that of team-mate Dean Rance, who tried his best to stem the flow of Tranmere attacks.

“I thought Dean Rance was excellent today," he said. "He was terrific for us, probably our man-of-the-match.

“It was a proper old-fashioned midfield battle in there today between Rancey and Jay Harris. Nathan was excellent as well. He made a number of good saves, as he often does, and kept us in the game at times.”

With 14 games remaining the manager all-but ruled out the prospect of a late play-off push, instead setting his sights on a top 10 finish, one that he believes is very achievable.

“I think points-wise there’s a chance, but realistically there’s a lot of ground to make up over the last 14 games,” McMahon conceded.

“We lack in certain areas, especially when missing Kenny Clark, Darren McQueen and Sean Shields. We don’t have the numbers to cover for too many injuries.

"We want a good finish and getting into the top 10 would be an excellent achievement in our first season back at this level.”

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