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Ebbsfleet United boss Garry Hill on the 3-3 draw at Havant & Waterlooville

By Steve Tervet

Garry Hill has revealed what happened during half-time when Ebbsfleet came in 3-0 down on Good Friday.

Fleet were staring down the barrel at Havant and no-one held back at the interval as frustrations came to the surface.

Players were angry with each other but it was then time for boss Hill to have his say.

Scroll down to hear from Ebbsfleet manager Garry Hill.

Ebbsfleet United (manager Garry Hill Picture: Andy Jones
Ebbsfleet United (manager Garry Hill Picture: Andy Jones

"Some open conversation took place at half-time," he said.

"I’ve been in the game a long time and I understand certain disappointment and shock not only from supporters but the management team and the playing squad.

"But it’s no good feeling sorry for yourselves at half-time, you have to stand up and be counted, you have to be in the game.

"There were some words said at half-time, trying to pick people up, asking players to raise the bar and have that belief.

"I told them 'you’ve been in the game long enough, you’ve got experienced players in this changing-room, you’ve won certain things at higher levels, take it to the wire, let’s see how many we can win the second half by' and we put everything in.

"You try to get into the players because there is a little bit of frustration at half-time.

"They are shell-shocked, emotions are running high on a hot day and you have to first of all calm the changing-room down.

"It’s quite easy to pass it to one of your team-mates but when you’re a team, whether that’s management or playing squad, wrongs don’t make it right to all start passing around this or passing around that.

"We had to analyse it as quick as we could in a short space of time. Havant got relegated for a reason - because they concede too many goals.

"The changing-room was right second half. The skipper, Dave Winfield, led them out there and they had to respond. They responded very well."

Michael Cheek missed an open goal at Havant Picture: Andy Jones
Michael Cheek missed an open goal at Havant Picture: Andy Jones

Fleet scored three goals in nine extraordinary minutes after the restart but couldn't quite force a winner.

Hill said: "We started very bright but I was disappointed with their first goal, getting done from a set play very easily. People given responsibilities haven’t taken them and we found ourselves 1-0 down.

"It’s a case then of looking at a team to clear their heads and stay in the game.

"We had a very good chance after, Lawrie Wilson wriggled his way into the penalty area and from where I was, it looked like Michael Cheek had a clear open goal which has happened several times recently in those areas with Cheeky, which is frustrating and that was a big chance which we missed.

"It made us go a little bit flat, it seemed like it really drained them team and that’s no disrespect to Cheeky but they’ve got to go in the back of the net.

"We’ve got done by two cheap goals, a runner breaking from midfield on the second goal and we’re in the first half here against a team that’s been relegated and it was very frustrating to see the third one go in.

"But we said to the players at half-time, we experienced that at Chesterfield earlier this season. You get that early goal and the game turns.

"We got the early goal, which was a big break for us, and before we’d brushed ourselves down we were back at 3-2.

"I felt momentum was with us, we were well on top, we were peppering them in a big way and Andy Drury had a shot that hit the underside of the bar. I thought that was in from where I was and then it was back to 3-3.

"I felt, at that time, we were the team which looked like, without doubt, after being on the ropes in the first half and really counted out by probably everybody around the ground apart from the changing-room if they were going to have a go in the second half. It had to go one way or the other.

"We made two or three changes, got back to 3-3 and I don’t know how to analyse it really. I have to take a positive out of the point more than anything.

"It’s very easy, whoever you play, to be 3-0 down at half-time and think you’ve got nothing to come and all of a sudden, you claw yourselves back to get a result.

"We needed three points here today, we know that, and we were hoping on results to go in our favour elsewhere. All credit to Leyton Orient and all credit to Dagenham & Redbridge, they have to look after themselves, we understand that, and be professional and they’ve done that (beating Fleet's play-off rivals Harrogate and Eastleigh).

"To come in at half-time and see where you are in the scoreline and then see where you are at the end of 90 minutes, and then you hear the other results, it does give you a little bit of belief.

"We’re disappointed with the defending in the first half, there’s no doubt about that, but to come back - whoever you play against - in the National League from 3-0 down on a very hot day at half-time and dig deep and get a result, I’ve got to say they’ve shown a great deal of character by winning the second half and getting the result."

Read the match report from Ebbsfleet's dramatic 3-3 draw at Havant & Waterlooville.

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