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Ebbsfleet United striker Dominic Poleon reveals anguish over club's four-game losing streak in National League South

Ebbsfleet striker Dominic Poleon admitted losing four league games in a row was “hell”.

National League South title favourites Ebbsfleet were well placed a month ago at the top of the table and with games in hand on their promotion rivals.

Striker Dominic Poleon, pictured with boss Dennis Kutrieb, says the manner of Ebbsfleet's defeats against Dartford was painful. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Striker Dominic Poleon, pictured with boss Dennis Kutrieb, says the manner of Ebbsfleet's defeats against Dartford was painful. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

But they lost at home to Eastbourne and away to lowly Cheshunt before shipping eight goals across two derby defeats by Dartford.

They put that behind them with a 4-1 win over Weymouth last Saturday, a victory described as massive by the Fleet’s top scorer.

“It’s been hell,” confessed Poleon. “I really think sometimes you can take it for granted at Ebbsfleet.

“In terms of our style of play, always being the favourite, everyone expecting you to win, score three or four goals. When we’ve come up against adversity it’s been tough.

“It’s been tough as a club, and tough as players thinking what’s going wrong. Losing to your rivals is one thing, losing how we lost is another thing with the quality that we had.

“It was a bad Christmas and a bad New Year, I couldn’t enjoy it, but that’s behind us now. We’ve got another half of the season to fight for now and we’re looking forward to it.”

Poleon revealed that boss Dennis Kutrieb drew a line in the sand as they held a mid-season meeting prior to beating Weymouth.

The New Year’s Day loss at Dartford marked the halfway point in their league programme, and Poleon admitted: “We got to work on the training ground and we had a chat to put the first half of the season behind us.

“Even though the last little bit was bad, we needed to realise that the first half of the season is gone, we’re still in a good position and it’s about looking forward and starting afresh.

“The chat came from the manager, everyone sat down and we spoke about things, spoke about where we are.

“It’s half of the season done, we’ve got another half to go and there’s a lot to play for, a lot to fight for.

“Honestly, I can’t say it enough, I’m so delighted that we played well against Weymouth, we scored goals and hopefully that breeds confidence back into the group.”

The Fleet reverted back to their usual passing style against Weymouth but Poleon doesn’t believe their route-one approach at Dartford had any impact given how poor the general performance was.

“There are game plans and it’s not [about] getting rid of it,” explained Poleon. “We had to do better all over the park, and that’s what we weren’t doing regardless of style of play.

“As a group we know we weren’t good enough in those four games. No matter what style we choose to play, we weren’t good enough individually or as a group.

“Saturday was about everyone getting back to what we’re good at and finding that confidence in our play. That’s the quality that we have in the group and long may it continue.

“Sometimes confidence is hard to get as a group when you go through a bad spell. No one would have looked at the Weymouth game and said it was going to be a massive fixture four or five games ago. But it was really massive and I’m delighted we put a win on the board.”

Poleon bagged a hat-trick against Weymouth to take his tally to 19 for the campaign - “I want to score as many as I can” he adds - but he struggled to break into many smiles on the pitch.

His low-key celebrations were picked up on by many Fleet fans, and Poleon revealed the lack of smiles when he scores goals has not gone unnoticed in the dressing room.

“The boys say that to me as well to be fair!” said Poleon. “With how things have gone, you really just want to put a solid performance in at home.

“This might sound weird as a striker but Saturday wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about scoring, it was about putting a solid win on the board at home and putting the first half of the season behind us.

“When I score it’s ‘yes, well done, let’s go again’ until the final whistle, then I’ll smile. Even when I got the hat-trick I was more focused on the performance and the win.”

Ebbsfleet, whose Kent Senior Cup tie at home to Dartford on Tuesday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, travel to Dover in the league this Saturday and host Chelmsford on Tuesday (7.45pm).

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