Published: 05:00, 23 January 2022
Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb knew his team needed to score in the key moments of their 5-1 drubbing at Dorking Wanderers on Saturday.
The Fleet fell seven points behind leaders Dorking in National League South after playing over 70 minutes with 10 men following Sefa Kahraman’s red card.
But Kutrieb saw enough at the start of both halves to know it could have been a different story, even if the final scoreline was comprehensive.
“Football is unfortunately 90 minutes, not 15,” reflected the Fleet boss on his team’s bright start when it was 11 versus 11.
“But we needed to be 2-0 up, we had a two against one when we needed to do better and if we get in the box there we have a good chance to score.
“Then the second one where we had first Dominic Poleon and then Alfie Egan (both cleared off the line from close range). Normally, wake me up at four o’clock in the night and I will score this one!
“Unfortunately, we then conceded a red card and it was a different game.”
Fleet went close to equalising at the start of the second half but Dominic Poleon failed to convert from close range.
The visitors started the second half brightly but Dorking made it 2-0 after 55 minutes, and thereafter it was always going to be a tough afternoon for Kutrieb’s side.
“They really tried hard to come back in the game,” said the Fleet boss about his players. “I can’t judge it after 2-0 because Dorking had (more) confidence then.
“Before they got the second goal we were on top, even with 10 men. You could see they gained confidence and were on top of us (after 2-0) but before that they were a little bit shaky and we had one where Dom has to score.
“In these tight games if you don’t take the little chances then you don’t have a chance to win the game. They are a good team, they know what they do.
“(Even at 3-0 or 4-0) Our team tried to make things happen and we could have sat deeper and not conceded the next one but if I’m honest I don’t care if I lose 2-1 or 5-1 as the game was decided after 17 minutes.”
Kutrieb picked his words carefully after referee Jason Richardson showed Kahraman two yellow cards for two fouls in the first 16 minutes of the contest.
Matt Briggs completed his hat-trick in the second half and the Fleet never got to grips with him down the right wing.
“Obviously as I say week in, week out, it is not easy with the referees,” admitted the Fleet boss.
“I was at Southend on Friday and they got a penalty in the 92nd minute - a ridiculous penalty - and I was sitting in the stands hoping that we get a good referee but you can see even in the league above...
“It is what it is, we have to take it, we know it because it’s every week the same. You could see the game was completely changed. We tried to sit a little bit deeper but (Matt) Briggs is an outstanding player in this league and we didn’t get him in the right moments, he was a big difference.”