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Ebbsfleet United manager Daryl McMahon on the 0-0 draw at Sutton United

By Steve Tervet

Ebbsfleet's performance at Sutton on Saturday showed managed Daryl McMahon how far they've come in the last couple of years.

Fleet came under plenty of pressure at Gander Green Lane but held out for a 0-0 draw, becoming only the second team to stop Sutton scoring at home this season.

McMahon made changes in defence and packed his midfield and the system worked a treat.

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

McMahon said: "It was a very committed performance, much of what we asked for.

"We played Sutton two years ago, in my first year in charge and last year we played them in pre-season here and we got bullied both times - but we didn’t today.

"They were probably a little bit surprised by how we set up and went about our business.

"I thought we were big, strong and you have to be in this division.

"Sutton have been a good side for many years, especially the last two or three. They’re difficult to play against, on the 3G pitch, but I thought we dealt with it really well."

Before the game McMahon had challenged his players to stand up physically and they did just that.

He said: "You can’t win games of football at Sutton if you don’t do that.

"We’ve been turned over here, and I know one of them was pre-season, but there was an element of what I’d seen here the year before.

"I’m pretty sure, out of the team that played in that last pre-season game, five or six of them left the club during the season because it was probably going to be the same again, players that didn’t have the mettle to go and compete and win and be able to play under pressure - not so much the physical side but being able to take the ball under pressure, in tight areas, like Jack Powell or Luke Coulson can."

Chris Bush was excellent at left-back Picture: Andy Payton
Chris Bush was excellent at left-back Picture: Andy Payton

McMahon described Yado Mambo as "a colossus" for his performance at centre-half, having not played since September 9.

Mambo and Kenny Clark were both excellent in the middle and well-supported by the returning Sam Magri at right-back and Chris Bush at left-back. Bush has been playing at centre-half since joining Ebbsfleet but proved his versatility at Sutton.

McMahon said: "Bushy’s played there before so we knew it was no risk.

"Going back through the years, in those games, Sutton tended to pick on our full-backs in terms of Fishy (Matt Fish) and Joe Howe in the first year and JC (Jack Connors) and Fishy in pre-season.

"Having two players who could play centre-half there and compete aerially against that, we dominated those areas.

"We went back to what we’re good at and what we’re known for - being hard to beat, working hard and doing the basics well, which any good football team has to do."

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